So breastfeeding is no more. I was only doing it at night anyway and mainly as a bonding thing once I’d come in from work all day. But her bottom two teeth are quite prominent now and we think she’s got itchy gums on the upper lot, resulting in some biting. Ouch! But I was rather proud that I didn’t shout out loud. The first time she bit down, without teeth but with very hard gums, I was so surprised I roared and upset her. This week, no shouting, just a mild “OK let’s go and get a bottle” and a kiss. I know, I impress even myself.
It feels ok actually. I hated breastfeeding and then got rather attached to it but the last few weeks it feels about right to stop. We must have timed it right between us.
And another milestone. Since there’s only two weeks till her first birthday when we got to the bottom of this box of formula I switched onto proper milk. I’m much happier about this as well. For all the guff about formula being full of good stuff, there’s still something odd about packet powdered stuff being better for your baby than natural milk. If E isn’t drinking my milk then dammit, she can drink some natural milk instead. I think I’m just suspicious of packet food altogether. In general this is usually a good thing.
A new study this week showed that the children who ate with their parents and their parents food are healthier than others. The report especially slammed children’s menus in restaurants as being the worst in Europe. Fair enough. There’s only so many sausage and chips you want your children eating. (And I love sausage and chips, but really.) E will be eating potato, pesto and butter bean mash today, along with us.
All these developments seem to have added up to one big change. I looked at E this week and thought how much older she looked. Like a little girl. She seems to have grown up a lot recently. It’s not just that she walks, or that she knows what you do with the phone (she hands it to me to hold to my ear) or that she “talks” and you can work out what she wants. It’s in her face too.
A part of me is sad at this. It’s the same part of me that was irrationally sad that she doesn’t cry when I leave her at nursery any more. S said, quite reasonably, that she knows I’m coming back so she isn’t upset. And on the whole I’m obviously pleased that she likes nursery and that she’s confident in our love for her. But there’s just a leetle part of me that was secretly glad that she was sad that I was leaving, a part of me that liked to bind with her when breastfeeding and a part of me that liked her being a baby that I could look after.
Having said all that, those are the bits of parenthood that have surprised me. They are the bits I wasn’t bothered about in advance. The bits I was always looking forward to are the bits to come – where she’s a person to interact with, who does and says funny things, who dances, paints messy drawings, runs about, goes to the park with me and so on.
So what with her birthday coming up fast, it feels like we’ve reached milestones in more ways than just her age. It seems very strange to think this time last year I was waddling about impatient to get on with it. We had two days till her due date and thank God I didn’t know she’d be nearly another fortnight after that.
It’s been a funny year. But a lovely one.