Bring on the doldrums, because Christmas is officially over. Epiphany happened this past weekend and now it is just plain old dull boring January.
I've always thought January is the most depressing month. November (Thanksgiving, which I love) and December (Christmas, ditto) are over, but spring is still months away (here in Michigan, anyway). Nothing happens in January except taking down the Christmas decorations and moping about the fact that it's either (a) gray and ugly outside, or (b) snowing yet again, can we not get a BREAK?
Yes, I am impossible to please, why do you ask?
My sister Rosie pointed out that January is depressing to me because I let it be depressing to me, and she is probably right. With that in mind I told Bryan that we should try to brighten the month with activities, so we planned a weekend trip to DC two weeks from now. This weekend I'm going shopping with my sister, sans toddler-clingsters, and next weekend we've got Bryan's work holiday party (they do it in January instead of December, how inspired is that?) which means a night to ourselves, praise heaven, and then it's our DC trip and then it will be February. So hey! Maybe January won't be as bad this year.
Today, though, I have to take down the tree and the other Christmas decorations, and I don't want to. Why is it that a Christmas tree on December 9th is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, but a Christmas tree on January 9th looks sad and glaringly wrong? It's as if an enormous bedraggled pink cat were suddenly sitting in my living room.
Either I'm charmingly indulgent or just lazy and foolish, but this morning I've been letting Milla take the shatterproof ornaments off the tree and deposit them in a small plastic bin. After more than a month of "No, Camilla, don't touch the tree!" this delights her as much as you'd imagine. I think it might be a bad idea, undermining my discipline and all that, but heck. I've already started letting her do it and if I renege now I'll be even more inconsistent than I already am.
If I look hard enough, I can usually find an excuse for taking the path of least resistance. Not that I'm proud of it.
Speaking of the path of least resistance (but not in a deriding way this time - the good old POLR is not always bad), I'm sort of intrigued to find that I've become an "extended" breastfeeder by default. I planned before Milla was born to try my hardest to nurse her, and when it turned out to be amazingly easy for us, I set a goal of nursing for at least a year and didn't give it much more thought than that. I've always been open to the idea of nursing a toddler, and the idea of child-led weaning makes sense to me. But I'd heard from some people that their children self-weaned before or around a year old, and I had no idea how I myself would feel about the way nursing was going at twelve months, so I figured there was no point in crossing the bridge before I came to it.
What I couldn't have predicted was that my child would not even come close to self-weaning (although I've since learned that the whole "self-weaning before a year" concept is sketchy anyway), and in fact would be a slow starter on solids and still be getting most of her nutrition from breast milk at a year, and that there would be no question of weaning her at that age unless we started giving her formula, which would be silly for us since it's more expensive and less convenient. Fortunately, I found that at twelve months I was still loving nursing her. I loved it even more after we night-weaned her (because loving nursing is not the same as loving waking up multiple times per night) and I didn't feel so stretched and could enjoy our nursing time.
Anyway, to make a long story short (ha!) I have a nursing toddler, and I have no idea when she will stop nursing. Perhaps one of these days I'll start to get tired of it and will gradually encourage Milla to taper off the nursing. Maybe she'll begin to eschew it of her own accord. I don't know, and I'm not really concerned about it. She's certainly not going to go off to college still nursing, and between now and then we'll find the right solution for us.
However, I am curious about something, and maybe those of you who have also done "extended" nursing can weigh in. (Sorry about the quotation marks on "extended" - nursing a fourteen-month-old who only has six teeth doesn't seem to me that it should be out of the ordinary, and I have trouble accepting the fact that it is.) When people started asking if you were "still" nursing - however politely or impolitely they did it - what did you say? I can't decide whether to simply answer, "Yes," because it's none of their business, or to try to educate by talking about the WHO recommendation and the benefits of nursing a toddler. Currently I alternate between the two options depending on the person I'm talking to; I like the idea of sharing information but I'm not sure how fruitful it would be in some cases. If you nursed a toddler, how did you respond to the questions? And how did people respond to your responses?
Also, since we're in information-collecting mode anyway, I'm curious about something else: teething and willingness to eat solids. I've got this hypothesis that kids who teethe late (and Milla wasn't really late since she got her first tooth at seven months, but she's now almost fifteen months and only has six teeth) tend to be less willing to eat solids early and often than their many-teethed peers. What think you? What has your experience been?
As I've been writing this, Milla's been playing with a set of cards that we've designated "kid cards." They're from a casino and have a hole punched through the deck, and she keeps taking a card and sticking her finger through the hold in the middle, then yelling for me to come rescue her from the evil card that is eating her hand. Kids. They're so darn helpless.
Good thing they are cute to make up for it.