I'm afraid the time has come. With my son I dragged out the process for months, returning to full-blown nurse-athons with every sniffle and elevated temperature. This time around I'm determined to get it over in one clean swoop. Like a SpongeBob bandaid that has bonded with my four-year-old son's leg hair after two weeks, 14 baths and three trips to the pool, I expect the separation to be painful, but I hold out hope that the agony will subside quickly if I give it one big tug and be done with it. In my son's case, I walked around smelling like an Irishman on St. Patty's Day with flattened cabbage leaves in my bra to ease the discomfort. I've got a couple of heads chilling in the crisper as I write this.
My daughter LOVES nursing. She loves everything about it--especially my nipples which she refers to lovingly as "me-me."(a.k.a., "Mine, all mine"). Like a heroin addict waiting for her fix, the preparation has become as much a part of the high as the drug itself. Her body twitches and her fingers tap with anticipation while I pull her into our special hold, lift my shirt as descretely as possible, unsnap my bra with the ease that only comes from years of experience and present my breast for her enjoyment. She loves the minutes (many, many, many of them) spent suckling for milk that's often spiked with chocolate (okay, and an occasional beer) and staring at (and fondling) the fleshiest part of me. "Me-me," my daughter girgles in her drunken daze and grins with a love few of us have ever known. My guilt is palpable.
My Mac-OS-X dictionary provides the following definition for "wean": accustom someone to manage without something on which they have become excessively fond, as in the doctor tried to wean her off the sleeping pills. I try to imagine life without nursing my insatiable baby girl and the thought hurts me, both with anticipation of the physical repercussions and the emotional loss of what both of us have become excessively fond, but I'm afraid the time has come. Ouch.