Alexis is a stay-at-home mom living in Boston, MA, with her husband, feisty baby girl, and three disgruntled cats. The internet is littered with blogs she has started and abandoned over the past ten years, but you can find her current writing about motherhood, and her weekly letters to and portraits of her daughter, at Happy Helmraths.
My 11-month old daughter’s hand strays up to my face and pokes my nose while she nurses.
Aw, so cute.
She opens and closes her fist and wiggles her tiny toes.
Aw, so cute AGAIN. You are just the cutest ball of adorable cuteness EVER.
Her fingers wander to my bicep and clamp together, pinching the tender skin and twisting at the same time. Her nails dig in and my eyes water from the pain as I suppress the urge to drop her or toss this demon child across the room.
Gentle gentle gentleGentleGENTLE!!!!
I unlatch her fingers. Over and over and over again. My upper chest and arms look like I spend my free time cuddling feral cats. And then she has the audacity to laugh at my pain. She smiles and giggles and I want to laugh, too, except I can’t because it hurts too much and all I can think is, It’s almost time for her to wean, right?
Far from being a sweet moment of bonding between mother and child, nursing my daughter has become a no-holds-barred brawl. A brawl where one boxer just stands there and lets his opponent pummel him, because the opponent is equal in size and preciousness to a puppy (albeit one with very sharp teeth!).
We’ve had a fairly easy time with breastfeeding, and I know I’m very fortunate that’s the case. The memory of those early days when I clenched my husband’s hand in my own and used labor breathing techniques to persevere through the razor-sharp pain has softened, blunted, and is no longer etched so clearly in my mind.
But now, in the home stretch of breastfeeding (since my goal was always to make it to one year, and then see how it goes from there), this time with my daughter that I had previously treasured for its peace and quiet has reverted back into something stressful, even painful.
I comfort myself with the knowledge that she’s not doing it on purpose, that she’s far too little to understand that her actions are causing me pain.
Do you know what else makes me feel better?
The fact that she’s an equal-opportunity pincher.