From Archer’s first birthday party:
He partied hard. We all did. And now he’s 1.
Archer is less than 2 weeks from being one. One year. 12 whole months outside of my body, exposed to elements, gaining chub, and experiences, lighting up the world with every giggle. I can’t believe it. It’s all happening so fast, he’s changing so fast. Please, time, stop so I can sneak a few pictures, let the memories sink in a little deeper with the hope that I’ll keep them a little longer than the others.
He’s starting to walk, slowly gaining the ability to walk one or two more steps every day. He’s discovered a fondness for saltines and goldfish crackers. He’s also developed a distaste for breastfeeding. That one stings a bit, I have to admit.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when he bit me during nursing and I couldn’t help but cry out and push his face away. It was a reflex. It didn’t hurt him, but it scared him. He started to cry and it took a really long time to calm him down again. After that, just about every time he would nurse, he would bite me just to gain a reaction. Usually it wouldn’t hurt bad enough to warrant the same reaction as the first time, so I would just look down at him and say, “no biting,” and as if I had reacted the same harsh, startling way as the first time, he would start crying. And then he turned it into a game of some kind. I didn’t understand it, and I would usually just laugh. He would bite every time I put him to my breast, and I would stop reacting just to see if that was the reason why he was so disinterested in nursing. And then he started biting and pushing away, and even attempting to crawl away. Now he doesn’t even ask for it. He doesn’t fuss and then bury his face into chest, his eyes don’t get big when I ask him if he wants to nurse. He just does not care anymore.
He has bottles now, and that means that he can move around as he pleases while he eats. Feeding him now feels like I am feeding a baby goat.
It’s been my goal since Deven entered toddlerhood, since before I became pregnant again to breastfeed my next baby for a year. Longer if everything felt right. 12 months. That’s supposed to be how long babies want to breastfeed right? Some even like to go longer! I could do longer if the baby really wanted to do longer.
With Deven, I was so young, so inexperienced. I breastfed him, I enjoyed it, and I also enjoyed the freedom occasionally slipping him a bottle gave me. I could get a break. I could leave the house for hours at a time. I could even drink alcohol as long as I pumped afterwards. When Deven was six months, I started to lose my mind, and decided I had done enough and could wean. At the same time, Deven went on a self-imposed nursing strike due to teething, and never looked back. It was that easy. He was still my baby, still just as sweet sucking on a bottle in my arms.
But this time it was different. The first weeks of little Archer’s life we spent held up in my room, in my bed, just the two of on a 1-2 hr nursing schedule. It hurt so bad those first 2 weeks, but I pushed through it. I would stare down at his sweet little suckling face, stroke his hair and his soft cheeks. He would doze off, and I would lay him on my chest. It was just me and him. With this baby, I didn’t anticipate every new stage, there was nothing new to me. I wanted to savor every last minute of babyhood, because after taking it for granted the first time, I didn’t want to miss a second of it. Before you know it, they grow into wearing sneakers and wanting to play in the dirt and pee on the fence in the backyard. Even as he started to grow and become more mobile, I knew he would come to me needing my milk and my warmth, and I needed it just as much. We shared the bed together. I would nurse him several times a night until nerves in my shoulders became pinched from sleeping such weird positions.
It might have started when I decided to night-wean; I couldn’t take the pain in my shoulders. I knew that if I didn’t figure something out, I was sure to sustain some kind of nerve damage. Whatever the case may be, he is growing. Though he has been much closer to me than his brother was, he still has a stubborn independent streak that runs in the family. He does not want to be tied down for anything, even mommy time. It was bound to happen eventually. I just wasn’t expecting it to be so soon.
Now he’s working nursing out of his schedule. He only nurses when I sneak it to him at night, when my breasts hurt so bad I can’t sleep. I have to do something to relieve the pain, and my hand pump doesn’t do enough, so I nurse instead. Eventually I won’t be able to do even that. There is going to be a day, very soon, when I am just going to have to bite the bullet and let my breasts engorge so that we can be done forever. But there is a very big part of me that just does not want to allow that to happen. I feel like I am losing my baby. I know he still wears diapers, and still needs me to comfort him in other ways, I am still losing the most special part of babyhood. It was the part that no one else could share.
Now, there is the diapers. And he still can’t talk (though that is quickly changing), and he can’t go to sleep without me. After all of that hard work we did to get him in the crib, he still wakes up in the middle of night, and I put him in the bed with us. I know this will grow old again very soon, but I need it right now. I need it to help me let go.
I just have to tell myself that he is growing as babies do. He’s healthy, he’s sweet, and just like his brother, he’ll always be my little baby, even when he pushes away from my snuggles and insists on peeing in the yard. He’s not my last baby, I’ll get to do all of this over again.
It’s still hard, though.
Being a nerd is not that easy. It’s a lot of work. You have to spend a lot of time studying, filling your brain with random facts no one else knows, learn big words, listen to a lot of progressive music, be awkward and friendless, and you have to spend a lot of time at Renaissance Faires. That alone is a lot of work! You have to prepare a costume and come up with a character! And those costumes ain’t cheap. Spending the entire day at the festival really drains your finances. Maintaining a lack of hipness at a terminal level is really tough.
We all know that being the popular cool kid is a lot of pressure. I’m sure if the nerds and the popular kids sat down and really talked it out, they’d find out they have a lot more in common than they think.
I digress. There are two Ren Faires we hit up every year: The TRF, which is one of the biggest in the country, and the newest faire to open, Sherwood Forest. It originally opened in 2010 , and is located in McDade, which is like an hour from where we live. A renaissance faire that’s right around the corner, where we don’t have to camp out, or spend all day driving? It’s heaven.
Getting my hair braided.
We are totally raising future nerds. We just can’t have it any other way!