Hayley, Theo

Bedtime shenanigans

Theo and Hayley have the most adorable relationship.

With all the other kids, Theo is generally gruff and sort of overly robust for a 3-year-old but baby Hayley seems to bring out a completely different side of him. He’s like a different person when he’s around his baby sister, all gentle and affectionate and sweet to her. It’s very obvious that he’s got a soft spot for this one.

During bedtime some nights ago, these two were up to their usual madness, climbing everywhere and somersaulting all over the place. I had given up asking them to lie down and go to sleep because I knew how futile that was. Instead, I was curled up in my corner pretending to be asleep while trying not to actually fall asleep.

Eventually, Theo was exhausted enough to go to bed but baby Hayley was still all up in his business like “Hey, let’s play some more, kor kor!!” She sat on his head and stuck her fingers up his nostrils trying to make him wake up.

No no, baby Hayley! Kor kor is tired I need to sleep now,” Theo told her firmly, turning away to the side to make his intentions clear.

Did this baby listen? Of course not. She proceeded to yank his head back towards her with more force than babies are supposed to have and Theo was like “MOMMMM take this baby away she’s annoying me!!” That was my cue to intervene so I got up and carried the baby away to the other side of the bed, using my body to separate them.

After like 20 seconds of silence, Theo flipped back over and sighed dramatically in resignation. “Okay fine fine fine baby Hayley can sit on my tummy if she wants,” he said.

This is how these two babies eventually fell asleep.

Hayley

Almost all done

Ask me 9 years ago when I just had Truett and I’d tell you that breastfeeding and I just aren’t meant to be. I had zero technique, insufficient milk, boobs that refused to cooperate, and a baby who hated those boobs. I remember sitting on the bed struggling to feed this angry, screamy baby who would only calm down with a bottle of formula. I had decided then that I was not the breastfeeding sort because you don’t get to have everything you want and that’s ok.

9 years, 5 babies and too many hours of tears later, I’m here nursing baby Hayley, feeling grateful for an experience that I didn’t think I’d get to have.

And you know your relationship is on a whole new level when you go from “what is the least number of months I need to breastfeed this baby without having to deal with that overwhelming mom guilt?” to “how long can I nurse this baby before it starts to get a bit weird? Until she’s 5? 8? 10?

***

When Hayley was born, my breastfeeding goal was nine months – right around the same time I weaned Kirsten, Finn and Theo. All the other babies had transitioned really well at nine months and I was happy to give myself a pat on the back for a job well done. Besides, it was always a relief to have my boobs be all mine again, no more of this mi casa su casa all day open bar boob access arrangement kthxbye.

But when Hayley got to nine months, I knew that I was far from ready to wean this last baby.

Let’s get to 12 months before we decide,” I thought. After all, 12 months is the magic number recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics. What kind of mom would I be if I didn’t constantly strive to outdo myself? And more importantly, who am I to stand in the way of pediatrics and science? It was my job, no, my duty to provide this baby with all the nutrition she needed.

As baby Hayley’s first birthday drew near, I found myself dreading the 12-month mark because it also meant the end of something really special. Something that I’ve come to cherish so much more than I thought I would. I couldn’t do it. The thought of weaning this baby made me want to cry.

She’s not ready,” I told myself, knowing that I was the one who couldn’t let go. “A little longer. Maybe just another few more months.

13 months came and went. 14 months. Then 15. We’re closing in on 16 months and I think it’s finally time. I know she’s ready because she’s eating solids like a champ (she’s basically Theo-level kind of food enjoyment). And every time she spots Finn or Theo holding a bottle of milk while she’s nursing, she immediately unlatches and charges towards them, yelling “MILK, MIIIILLLLLK!!” She’ll gladly take a bottle till she’s full and once she’s done, she’ll pull at my shirt and demand for more milk but we all know that what she really wants is a human pacifier.

I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to wean this baby but at this point, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I feel like all these extra months of nursing has been a gift for this momma who had such a hard time letting go. I’d be happy to nurse this baby forever but this is already more than I had hoped for and for me now, it’s enough.

The process of weaning is easy enough – gradually reduce the number of feeds until you get to 0. We just went down to 2 feeds a day, soon it’ll be 1 and then sometime over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be all done.

This baby will crawl into my arms and settle in to her spot on my chest the way she’s done maybe two thousand times before. I’ll kiss the top of her head and inhale her delightful baby smell and play with her hair and feed her one last time before crying my eyes out.

I’ll miss this. I’ll miss this an awful lot.

***

Had a chat with this baby about what’s about to happen and I think this means she’s not on board with the plan.

Hayley

The best cure for sadness

One of baby Hayley’s favourite things to do is to watch videos of herself. Videos like this one.

 

Last week, she made me play this for her on loop and she was having a good time, smiling to herself while watching and then without warning, her eyes suddenly started filling up with tears. It’s a happy video and I didn’t know where all this sadness was coming from so I was like “What happened, baby?? What’s wrong?” but she just looked sadder and sadder.

You don’t like this video? Should mommy turn it off?

She shook her head.

Is everything ok? Do you miss kor kor Theo?

She nodded.

It’s ok, he’ll be back soon. He misses you too. And you get to have mommy all to yourself now, isn’t that nice?”

No,” she said very clearly. Okay, I’ll pretend like that didn’t hurt my feelings at all. She just learnt to say “no” and it’s adorable so sometimes, I’ll ask her questions like “do you want to nap?” or “would you like some celery?” just to hear her say “no.” This wasn’t one of those times.

“How about I go pick him a little earlier today? Would you like mommy to go pick kor kor now?

She nodded vigorously, trying hard to blink back the tears. The thought of seeing her littlest big brother seemed to cheer her up considerably.

Poor baby, I didn’t realise how much she’s been missing having Theo around to play with in the mornings. The house is strangely quiet without all the big kids around and it must be a big change for her, having to spend her mornings with no other kids to play with.

I got all the kids to smother her with group hugs once they got back from school and she was so pleased that it’s a thing now – after school group hugs and before bed group hugs and because it’s fun group hugs and it’s been a while since we had a group hug group hugs. :)