We are slowly, slowly, gently trying wean from breastfeeding to sleep. It’s very bitter-sweet for me as I work full time and most evening have something on immediately after work. I come home and plunge straight into the evening routine. Breastfeeding feels like the only thing that was mine and his alone. At times this so frustrating because I/my boobs have had to be there every time he goes to sleep. I feel shackled to his bedside. However, at the same time, how wonderful it’s been. Those moments. Sleepy warm body, smelling of baby cream, Tousled hair, footed pyjamas, warm hands and fuzzy blanket, quiet reconnection of Mom and baby at the end of the day. A moment where all else must pause, where there is no choice but to rest and relax.
Now though, many evenings, John plays with him after work. Gives him dinner and pops him in the bath. Allowing him to splash and kick far more than boring Mom does! I usually arrive home to hear shriek of delight coming from the bathroom. Gratifyingly, Little Man is thrilled when I poke my head around the door. John and I trade places. He goes off to prepare our dinner, or catch up on last minute emails. Little Man and I play for a bit, before he tidies away the bath toys and pulls out the plug. often he lies down on his tummy, watching the water form a funnel and swirl down the drain until it’s “Algone!”. The he stands and lifts his arms to be, ready to be wrapped up tight in a fluffy blanket. On a warm evening I stop to snap a selfie in the bathroom mirror. His naked body makes me conscious of how little he still is, but also, how much bigger his is that last week, last month, this morning.
Toothpaste and toothbrush provide distraction while I slather him in baby cream. Covering every bit of him in the scent that has been a part of this ritual since the beginning. I put on his night time nappy & waterproof cover and finally footed pyjamas that I had to really search for in his size; they all seem to stop at the 6-12 month size for some strange reason.
I gather him up, grab the fuzzy blanket and taggie and we go through to say good night to Dad. Little Man has learnt how to give breathy open mouth kisses and he will now pull us in for a cuddle, a strong little arms around my neck that squeezes my heart until it explodes. Then, it’s time for “sto-weeeee! Bumbumbum”. We pick up the bright pink book “Whose Bum is this?” and settle on the couch at the foot of his bed to read.
It takes time. I can hear John pottering around readying dinner things, or rinsing nappies ready for the wash cycle. Quietly Pepper, one of our cats slips in and settles on the end of my son’s bed. She’s learnt that story time means the heater is on. Smart cat. The Bum book pushed aside in favour of another. A few pages from The Gruffalo, then An African ABC, then another, and another. Finally, he rests against me, growing soft and heavy. Eyes glazed over, staring at a page from The Yellow Balloon. I lower my voice. read slower. Begin to hum then sing softly. Moon River. Our song; the only tune that popped into my mind in the wee hours of those very early weeks, when pacing up and down and up and down was the only thing that worked. Asleep now, I carefully, lower him into bed. An extra blanket tucked around him and I tiptoe out. Grateful for new routines that still allow lots of cuddles.