S is still nursing, thank goodness. Its a relationship I treasure. We reconnect after I have been gone that way. We bathe that way. I wash his hair that way. He is soothed by it, and we often end up laughing and inventing games to play when he nurses. It’s a wonderful and rich relationship.
It has it’s rough days. Yesterday, for example. I was trying to nurse S down for a nap and he was fighting it hard. Rolling, talking, pushing, bouncing, complaining, etc. While my arm went to sleep and my neck permanently solidified into a sharp right angle, I stared out the bedroom door to a perfect 3″ view of the next room. A perfect view of my cup of hot tea getting cold. A perfect view of F’s feet, crossed at the ankles as one does when one is relaxed. I could see the glow of a laptop, of F having some time to do whatever he wanted. The luxury of checking email or watching YouTube. Carefree and oblivious to my pain!!! I exaggerate, but still. Then it hit me how I could give F this experience that I am having! I would say, “Ok. While I nurse him down you lay on a semi-soft surface on one side in the most uncomfortable way you can. Be sure your arm goes to sleep and your neck is tweaked. Be sure you have to pee. Expose your ribcage to the cold air, and now spend the whole time tugging at one nipple, occasionally using your fingernails, while trying to subdue an exuberant puppy. Yay! That’s what it’s like to nurse a struggling 13 month old.
If anyone were to ask us now, F and I would agree that it “gets easier” at 1 year.
I recall holding on for various promised lands (all having to do with when he would sleep better): 2 months, then 3 months, then 6.
We now know that the magical land of “Sleep Through the Night” isn’t so easy to get to. And once you have spent an amazed, shell shocked evening on it’s balmy shores you can think of nothing else. You will dream of living there forever, only to be rudely awakened by reality. Which is to say rudely awakened every 45 minutes and sleeping in chunks of time that could not sustain a fish.
S did not sleep more than 45 minutes for the first 8 months of his life. And now he wakes at 3, 3:30, 4—-and up for good at 5. The miracle is that we are all still standing. We have truly been carried along by the strength of love and being a family. And it really has gotten easier in some ways.