No Udder Milk Will Do

A baby of less emotional intelligence and fiscal insight might have been nonplussed and overwhelmed by such an influx of gaily-wrapped parcels and adoring relatives and friends.

Not Harry.

He clambered determinedly over the increasingly vertiginous heap, bestowing the odd possessive pat here and there on a particularly honoured leg or an exceptionally sparkly package.

He likes the truck John and I gave him

but seems significantly less taken with the rocker I suggested to my parents as a suitable gift. We pinned him down on it long enough to look acceptable, smothering any attempts at a premature dismount,

but I need Mum’s babysitting services later this week, and I suspect that she may notice that this wonderful item

 is now the absolute Centre of His World.

Or at least, right up to the point he catches a glimpse of the Mummy boob, whereupon I am immediately restored to favour. Today is my first day of weaning him down to two feeds, morning and night. I kept him busy this afternoon and he had tea early, so he didn’t have much of an opportunity to squawk his disapproval. I’m in no hurry at all to stop the bedtime feed but the morning feed – or, more accurately, the abuse of my torpid form by our morning baby – is starting to wind me up a bit. It used to be so peaceful: John would gently remove a wailing infant from the cot at dawn, place him down next to my snoring form, and depart for work. I would drowsily snuggle boob and baby together and promptly return to sleep, rousing only partially to change sides after 15 minutes. Harry would feed himself back to sleep, and we would both wake up when John returned for breakfast at 8.30am ish. I never knew I had it so good.

Harry now feeds furiously for 5 minutes whilst very wide awake, feet kicking, one eye keenly raking the bedroom, locating targets of interest, whilst his chubby little paw blindly pats and taps like a white stick, searching with tweaky fervour for my unoccupied nipple. I have swiftly evolved a practice of draping my chubby paw over it like a fruit cage whilst I snooze. Eventually, the sight of some random object swimming in the repulsive morass of contact lenses, earrings, fruit stones, snotty tissues and towering piles of books that currently occupy my bedside table proves too much for him and he can contain himself no longer. He rips himself off my nipple (Six teeth the child has. Six.) in order to propel himself enthusiastically towards the edge of the bed, limbs paddling frantically in the cloying duvet. He generally treads heavily on my boob as he leaves, and as I lurch sleepily to grasp the biggest chunk of departing baby left within my reach, he frequently also manages to land some telling kicks to my face.

The cleverest course of action is to rise for the day and take him downstairs, to where there exists coffee. If I foolishly attempt to continue to keep my form in horizontal partnership with the mattress, he launches himself, grunting, eyes popping with effort, across the treacherous rising expanse of the pillows towards the wooden bedhead. By dint of herculean effort, he hooks a hand over the top and hauls himself triumphantly upright, swaying precariously. He delightedly pats the wall, before his beaming gaze slides sideways to the bedside table to fall upon the original object of his interest, and he starts to sidestep hastily along the pillows (bouncy, boingy pillows) towards the edge. When his solid little hooves are unfairly prevented from making proper progress – when impeded, for instance, by a grimly-determined-to-sleep occupant of said pillow – then he continues to lean over, or kneel on, the obstruction, at an increasingly perilous angle, until he has both fists so tightly locked around the turned bedpost, he can only be unpeeled painlessly by tickling.

When retrieved, he sits bolt upright in the middle of the bed for a moment, calculating his next move. His busy gaze eventually, inevitably, alights on the milk tankers and he unhesitatingly hurls himself head first into them, mouth gaping, teeth glinting in the dawn sunshine drizzle. Puzzled, firstly by the roars of Mummy-protest, secondly by the strange absence of nipple-in-mouth, and thirdly by the smothered sensation around his ears, he belatedly realises that he has crash-landed squarely between the aforementioned tankers, and proceeds to wriggle and rotate frantically until a stray nipple bounces past his vision.

Imagine a particularly conscientious rottweiler who has had a paralysingly quiet few months patrolling the fences, who is suddenly shown a guiltily-fleeing bottom, and you will have an idea of the zeal and vehemence with which my nipples are pursued. Eventually I can struggle and resist no more and submit to being uncomfortably suctioned into the gaping maw, only to be painfully spat out in frustration mere seconds later, generally because he has not worked out that you can’t easily work a boob when A) they are lying flat, B) when you’ve bullishly buried your entire face, including nostrils, in the fleshy fullness of them, or C) you are sat, casually propped against your mother’s ribs, craning your head in order to ensure that the crazily-stretching nipple you have clamped in your jaws remains a prisoner whilst also trying your best to reach over to conduct experiments about twisting the other nipple off completely.

When I can take no more of his wild flails towards the bed precipice, interspersed with his brutish attacks on my person, I plonk him on the floor to romp among the towering canyons formed by my laundry heaps, whilst I slump, already exhausted from baby-wrestling, counting my bruises, and bemoaning the fact that it is not yet 7.30am. Once I drifted hopefully back off, ignoring the suspicious-sounding thumps and small squeaks of total joy as he pawed hopefully towards a succession of forbidden objects (e.g. hairdryer, perfume spray, cufflinks, cold cups of coffee) waking up properly only when youngster, who had cruised over to stand jauntily by the side of the bed, stood on tiptoe and helped himself to my nearly-protruding-over-the edge-of-bed boob.

I do not mean to complain, you understand. I’m delighted and pleased to have been able to BF him for a year: it’s often a ridiculously hard and bloody painful road in the beginning, and bodies that have played Silly Buggers about the whole being-knocked-up business often seem to have a final boo and hiss at this unwelcome point. (The extremely special and delightful Geohde, in fact, is much deserving of large helpings of internet love on this very subject currently.) It’s just that I’m beginning to feel that my boobs are as much a source of amusement as nutrition these days, and they’re taking a lot of rough punishment. We have tried him with cow’s milk – nice, proper moojuice – in his sippy cup, but I fear his expression was not approving. 

We must persevere.

As I did when he initially rejected his chocolate birthday cake. Silly boy. It took a day of repeatedly posting chunks into his mouth, but he has now probably happily munched his way towards his first proper tooth cavity.


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