Weaning, and not just from the breast….

Our time breastfeeding is almost over. These days, Petra’s happy to go to bed without breastfeeding first. She gives me a kiss then goes off to read stories with Travis and fluff around until she falls asleep. I get to spend 30-45 minutes by myself in the lounge which is very pleasant after a whole day of preschooler wrangling.

We’ve snuck in a couple of extra-curricular sessions this past week, mainly to keep my breasts from getting sore. But even with those, Petra’s been going days between drinks. She had a wee snack last night because she wanted soothing after a bad dream. It was a bit odd, for both of us I think, but certainly for me. She was chomping away and I found it squeamish and squirmish in a way that I haven’t before. My nipples have quit. And so have I.

As for Petra, she’s conquered the booby and is looking for new horizons. She still climbs into bed with us when she wakes up during the night and she tells me that she loves sleeping in mama’s bed. But she’s also mulling over the fact that her cousin Olivia sleeps in her own bed by herself all night. Today she told me that it’s too scary to spend all night by herself. But that when she is bigger, she’ll do it.

Playgrounds are another site where Petra’s testing her independence. Wellington has wonderful playgrounds full of well-designed equipment. None of this rusty swing set and rickety slide in a scuffed up paddock stuff in this part of the world. We have cool climbing equipment for older kids, and tunnels, ladders, climbing walls, swings, slides, and see saws for smaller kids. We went to a new playground at the weekend, where Petra was both attracted and frightened by a big slide. She took Travis up with her and rode down on his knee a couple of times. Then she climbed up with Travis, but slid down by herself. She was pretty gripped first time down on her own, and exhilarated when she reached the bottom safely. Then she made Travis stay at the bottom of the ladders and went up all by herself. My job was to stand beside the slide to clap and cheer as she came past. She thought she was doing a bold, adventurous thing and wanted all the praise she could get. I was happy to oblige by cheering like a loon. It’s lovely to see her setting her goal and then working up to it, step by step. She’s testing her limits and extending them all the time.

Petra and Travis conquering the big slide

However, I must confess to feeling some sadness mixed in with my admiration of her courage and independence. My baby is no more and my toddler has turned into a preschooler who’s on a determined path away from me and out into the world. I want her to grow up into a confident, self-assured young woman. But I’m sad about the inevitable separations.

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2 Responses to Weaning, and not just from the breast….

  1. trayflow says:

    I am feeling that sadness and conflict right now too. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. Where the last three years have gone I do not know. Next week Sofia will start two full days of preschool and then go on to three full days. It scares me and thrills me and I don’t know what else…

    • Janette says:

      I know what you mean – all of a sudden Petra’s a big girl, when just yesterday she was a newborn. She’ll be three in a couple of weeks and the difference between three and two is enormous. In photos from the beginning of the year Petra still looks like a baby – now she looks like a little girl.

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