It seems lately that I am struggling with everything. I always knew that the weaning process would be tough, and now I'm in the thick of it. It is emotionally draining. It probably doesn't help that we basically started it (I mean, the "hard core--this is it, no going back" version) right after we got home from a two-week trip to Mexico to spend the holidays with my husband's family. As if the poor girl wasn't already in some reverse-culture shock, coming back from playing outside in sunny mild-temperature afternoons to a stretch of below freezing temperatures that lasted for days and threatened all of our sanity as we seemed to pace from room to room. Oh yeah, then there was the fact that Angelica and I both brought back a nice cough as a souvenir from the trip, one that developed into a nasty full-blown this will knock you out cold and keep you miserable in every way except that you do have to go back to work this week cold. You know the kind. That make you want to spend all day complaining (which I did) and long to be in bed almost every minute of the day but yet don't get you that get-out-of-obligations-free pass that you long for. Daddy goes to work in the morning and sweet toddler still rises before 7:00 AM and the day begins.
The chocolate "shake" that originally was some sort of fortified, nutritious kids drink I found at the grocery store which turned into some Nestle's chocolate powder mixed with regular milk when we ran out of the former did at least move the process forward. In desperation as Angelica would demand to nurse I would offer her a "shake" (because the first time I gave it to her I shook the bottle, and from that point on the name was cemented and the sippy cup had to be shaken before she would drink it) and that seemed to work. I also tried a tip from a friend who's been through this before. In fact it was she who told me about the chocolate success she had had with her own boys months ago, but apparantly I either didn't really believe her or didn't believe in making my kid into a chocolate addict. Well Angelica is officially now a chocokid! Anyway, the tip was to have her put a bandaid on my...well, my milk supply...and tell her that it had a "boo boo" and needed to "rest" ("doctor's orders" but I left that part out). The result? Tears. The goodbye ceremony only brought tears from Angelica, but slowly the point was being made. She knew that we were done, and she didn't like it. Frankly, neither did I.
I must add that we got into the weaning boat to begin with because even though I had tried a month or so earlier to get the process going little by little, it really never was very consistent and as soon as we started traveling, she wanted to nurse constantly. Sleep-deprivation was about as bad as it was the first 6 months of her life, and my husband and I decided that we couldn't take it anymore. It was time to get rested again. And thankfully, as this process has gone on, we have seen wonderful results on that end. No more waking up at night for comfort nursing.
But on the other end, I'm irritable, I'm overwhelmed with starting work and being sick, I feel that I'm struggling with depression and I do believe that part of it is this letting-go process. Ironically as soon as I had felt more confident as a mother, I'm doubting it all again. The nursing was such a huge part of our bond and even though I know--I really do--that it's not all about the milk (her love for me), it breaks my heart when she cries with such feeling and reaches to pull up my shirt, trying to seek out one more time that physical bond that we are moving away from.
So we read another book, and I offer her more shake (usually she's agreeable, but not always). I tickle her or we sing a silly song. But I know that she misses it. And so do I.