Children home all week. Busy, busy, busy. I’ve been cleaning up some files as I search for tax stuff. I found this old column I wrote (4 years ago), but could never quite find the right venue for. You’ll see why when you read it.
My 2-year-old daughter, Boo, is a daddy’s girl. When he is at work, if she becomes even the slightest bit upset, she starts to repeat mournfully, “I need my Daddy to pick me up. I need my Daddy to pick me up.” The moment he walks in the door in the evening, she plasters herself to his body, utterly content. This might hurt my feelings if she were my first child, but she is my third, and her older brother and sister clung to me the way she clings to him, so I figure he is due. And it isn’t as though she has completely rejected me, because I still possess something he never will: breasts.
Boo loves my breasts. My breasts are probably the only things she loves more than Daddy. I nursed my older two children at this age as well, weaning the first when she around two years old and the second when he was almost three. They were both very fond of breastfeeding, but neither of them had this sort of attachment to my boobs. Boo has no interest in bottles, pacifiers, blankies or teddy bears. She does not need any of them, because she has my breasts.
Not long ago, Boo developed a bad cold and became completely congested, and found out that if you can’t breath through your nose, you can’t breastfeed. She would try valiantly, sucking for a moment or two before giving up and laying her head down on my naked boob. She would instead use it as a pillow as she went to sleep. It had to be naked.
She has also now taken to kissing the offered breast affectionately before she starts to nurse. When she is finished, she waves at my chest and says, “Bye-bye my bweast.” Yes, I think that is weird. If I dare to suggest that they are, in fact, my breasts, she glares at me. “No! MY boobies.”
It gets weirder. Boo has discovered that my breasts make amusing playmates. Like her older siblings before her, and probably countless other breastfeeding toddlers, Boo one day handed me one of her baby dolls and ordered, “Nurse baby!” I obligingly held the doll up to my shirt. “No!” she yelled. “Nurse baby!” I sighed, lifted up my shirt, and stuffed the doll under. Boo smiled happily at me. “Num, num, num,” she said. Apparently, the baby doll approved.
Having mom nurse a doll might be pretty standard behaviour, but Boo has now gone way beyond that. Several days later, as I was cleaning up the kids’ toys in their room, she handed me a purple crayon, “Nurse dis,” she ordered me. “Boo, that is a crayon,” I informed her. “Nurse dis!” she yelled. Then she started to shriek in outrage when I did not immediately comply. I grabbed the crayon from her hand and stuffed it under my shirt. I discovered that crayons can be neatly tucked into a bra. Boo smiled. Num, num, num.
Then she picked up a yellow crayon. “Dis!” she ordered. I played dumb. “This what?” I asked. “Nurse dis!” I took the crayon and tucked it into the other side of my bra. By the time I finished cleaning up the room, I had four crayons and a coloured pencil stuffed down there. Since Boo has figured out that she can convince me to breastfeed practically anything as long as she screams loudly enough, I have nursed hot wheels cars, a duck from the bathtub (dry), cups from a tea set, a small plastic dog, foam alphabet letters, marbles and countless crayons.
She seems happiest when she can combine the various functions of my boobs – security plus amusement – and likes to nurse on one side while holding some object up to the other. She will suck for a few moments, pop off to provide the sound effects for the crayon, “Num, num, num,” then happily go back to nursing herself. I cannot explain why Boo wants me to breast-feed inanimate objects. Baby dolls are at least logical, but marbles? Maybe it is a power thing: just how far can I push Mommy? Will she stuff a Popsicle down her bra if I scream loudly enough? No doubt my parents would argue that this is the case. After all, if I am crazy enough to be nursing a kid this age, why not her foam alphabet too?
But I suspect it is something else. I think Boo just likes to share her favorite toys – my breasts – with some of her other toys. I am assuming that when Boo eventually weans, her toys will wean also. I just worry that one day I will forget that I have something stuffed down there and go outside that way. How will I explain to some sales clerk why I have a duck-shaped lump on one breast?