Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It Does a Body Good

Breastfeeding my one year old daughter these days often involves a game I affectionately refer to as Peek-A-Boobie. The setting is always the same; it's her darkened bedroom, where the Pavlovian response and a lack of anything else going on conspire to keep my wiggling, grasping baby focused on the task at hand. Having strapped on the feedbag, The Boss's game commences.

Five fingers, skinny for a baby's, but still with some pudge, come around my breast to settle, splayed, over her visible eye. I say Peek-A-Boo! Her giggle is a pink "O" of tongue, nipple and lips. She covers her eye again. Peek-A-Boobie! I get silly, squeezing her up close to my face in a bicep curl I don't mind doing. She is hot and supple against my forearms.

I'm not an overly attentive mother. I'm not too touchy-feely. My daughter is happy entertaining herself because, I'd like to think, I've created a safe environment where she is comfortable doing so. She's not clingy. She does not need to be held all the time. She smiles with penetrating blue eyes that are all her own.

It's the self-sufficiency we share that makes me value the breastfeeding bond that much more. That we are two separate beings is clear. That she will only grow more independent by the day is a fact I not only acknowledge, but encourage. By breastfeeding her, I am mining the caves of primal maternity that have never been a prominent feature on my emotional map. In those recesses lay the feelings that seem to flow closer to the surface in many women. From some, devotion, protection and patience gush. From me, they trickle. But they are undiluted from the breast.

Three times a day now, I am everything she needs. I am everything I can be.

Note: Please see Her Bad Mother for more on this subject.


Kate L. said...

I'm jealous ;)

I too have an independent non-clingy daughter and I'll admit the ONE day she actually cried when I left the house to go to work rather than beaming at me as she waves it felt kinda good (though looking back, I think she was probably just pissed I was taking my purse with me). BUT, I continually remind myself that the fact that she feels so comfortable with playing by herself and doing her own thing is a good thing. Plus, it's proof that she's mine :) I think her first major phrase will be, "I can do it MYSELF." and that's something I'll be proud of.

For us, the snuggle/special times come only when she's sick and it's nice to reassured that she needs me :) Enjoy those 3 times a day, they'll be gone before you know it and I'm sure you will miss it!

Binkytown said...

I'm finding this so beautiful that so many women can express this same love and how it's a little different for everyone. Different but equally powerful. I was never able to breastfeed and I wish I could have known the symmetry that you describe. This is lovely.

deb said...

it's one of the things I appreciate about your words; that you are willing to state that you don't reel from the swoony, mothery gushing.

it makes me feel less foreign in the mom realm.