It's a beautiful morning in Arlington, VA. My house is clean and neat, and I'm sitting here with a nice cup of hot, gourmet cocoa and my breakfast muffins. Everything is calm and serene. Why, you ask? Because David took the Munchkin on their first big Father-Son Outing to the National Zoo. I fed him, and off they went. They'll be back around 2:00, and David is keeping that cell phone on all day. I'm a paranoid mama. This is their longest outing without me, and I had a hard time watching Seth roll away from me down the hall. But now, I'm fine, and I'm relishing some reading, blogging, painting my toenails, etc. time.
Above, I have a picture taken of Seth several months ago, on Easter Sunday. He fell asleep in my arms, and David snapped this while I rocked him, so content just to be his mama. But he's not that little tiny one that he was then, and sometimes my heart aches to look at these "old" pictures.
See, we hit a big milestone yesterday. It was one I'd been dreading almost since the day he was born. Whenever David would mention it, I would cover my ears and starting singing. But it was time. I couldn't avoid it any longer. Yesterday, we gave Seth his first solid food.
I'd waited as long as I could. I clung to my pediatrician's attitude that he didn't need anything but breast milk until he was 6 months old. My hungry eyes gleamed when I saw the American Academy of Pediatrics said the same thing. But the last couple of nights, he'd been waking up a couple of hours earlier to eat, and he seemed pretty hungry when I fed him. And so, the mama instinct that is slowly growing in me told me that you do what is best for your child, even if it's hard on you. (I'm still amazed at that instinct and how it helps make the early mornings and late nights and cranky children easier to bear somehow.)
But I still mixed up that innocent looking white goo like I was stirring up a big batch of arsenic. I put on his little bib with defeated resignation. And I was gleeful when he didn't much care for it. =) He ate a bit, then he didn't want it, and he was highly offended when he put his thumb in his mouth to suck, and he ended up swallowing the goo left in his mouth with it. We'll keep going, because once you start, you can't go back. Maybe in a few days, we'll try something he likes a little better, like some sort of yellow veggie. It has begun.
I never thought I'd be such a huge fan of breastfeeding when I got started. It was a hard battle for me at first, and I didn't think it'd ever be easy or fun, but now it is. (This is not meant to offend any of you that bottle feed.) I have loved that I've been able to provide everything that Seth needs, right from the amazing tap that God gave mamas. I've watched him grow and bloom and get so big, and it's all from the milk that God put in me to provide for him! How amazing! But that joy of being the sole provider also makes this kinda tough for me. He's growing up, and the dividing line between baby and kid for me was always right there, at starting to eat his first food with a spoon, his first food that comes from the big, wide world and not from the safe, warm confines of my protection. Breastfeeding is a big tether that ties Mommy and Baby together. I have embraced my golden chains.
This last week, knowing that this was coming, I have fully enjoyed waking up in the middle of the night to feed Seth. I slip out of my bed in the dark when he begins to cry for me. I pull him out of the tent, and we settle in on the couch. I stroke his soft hair in the darkness as he eats, and I cherish these moments. He falls asleep again in my arms as soon as he's done, and I kiss his baby forehead a couple of times and whisper a blessing as I put him back down in his bed. How much longer will I stroke your head in the wee hours, my little one? How many days are left before you sleep until morning? I don't know, but I do know that I will miss this time more than I ever thought I would.
So, please don't make fun of me too much. Please don't think this is all unnecessary drama. The "growing up" will get easier to bear, I hope. And I don't think every milestone will be this hard for me. But I learn all the time how the sweetest love and the sweetest ache mingle together when your name is Mommy.