So, it's come down to this. My dear, sweet, beautiful boy has got to be weaned if he's to live to see his second birthday. Van, alas, is a nipple biter. It's fun to bite them, and funny to have Mommy scream "ouch!" and push him away by his face (yes, I know the smother-him-with-your-boob trick, but when I tried this with Van, he nearly bit it clean off.) This is not the loving, respectful interaction I always imagined.
As many of you know, we have, to date, been living the joy that is tandem nursing. If you want to know my opinion about tandem nursing, it's don't do it. Friends, I have loved, and do sometimes still love, nursing my children. It's sweet, snuggly, and oh so convenient, but I must tell you that after three years plus of nursing, and a year and a quarter of nursing two, a lot of the time I just wish the little parasites would let me go. If you're enjoying your tandem nursing experience, please let me and everyone else know how you did it. I'll raise my glass to you. If know what I mean when I say I want to go hide somewhere where nobody is touching me, you can come over here and sit by me (but not too close!). If you're knocked up and on the fence about this, my humble advice is to wean the first one while your milk is out. You'll be supermom anyway. Trust me.
La Leche League Ladies, I love you, and I love your work. I'm just saying...
And yes, I know Montessori is outwardly opposed to extended nursing. Nursing past about 9 months, according to Montessori and Silvana Montanaro (Understanding the Human Being--my post about it here) prolongs the child's dependence on the mother unnecessarily, and both agree that weaning to a cup should take place immediately after solid foods are introduced, I don't know if I would go that far. Montessori was weaning orphans from a bottle, and Montanaro extrapolates this to weaning a baby from the breast. I do think there is some emotional bonding that occurs after 9 months for extended nursers that is valuable, even if it's not indispensible. So, while I have already made several posts as an extended nursing apologist, the time has finally come for me to cry "uncle".
So here I am ready to sit down across the table from Drs. Montessori and Montanaro for another crow sandwich and a slice of humble pie. As I've quoted before, Montanaro asserts that we late weaners hang onto nursing out of fear that that children will take off into the environment and leave us, unneeded and cast-off, in a corner somewhere to wither and die. I must admit that I live with another fear: I am afraid of the hell my peaceful house will be with two screaming weaners in it. Patience with shrieking infants is not something that comes naturally to me. That, fundamentally, has been the driving force behind my extended nursing. There is a lot I am willing to do for peace in the house.
I left off the last paragraph at least three weeks ago, and we are still nursing--all three of us. Peace reigns, more or less, and we have sort of worked out a way around the biting. Even now, in my better mood, I would caution all you girls who are pregnant with a second one and still nursing the first, this is no small feat, nursing two. I'm doing it now, but I would have done it differently. We'll continue to work the wean in our own way, and if it's ever done, I'll let you know. The minute...