I've been reluctant to start solids with HT. I've avoided all the signs of her readiness: the grasping at glasses, forks and plates on the table, the eager look in her eyes whenever anyone is eating around her, the way she licks her lips like a hungry dog waiting for table scraps. I've avoided it all. When others remarked on her evident desire for food, I changed the subject and steered the conversation for HT's fondness for toes. HT was ready for solids long before Mommy was ready to give them to her.
And here's why. This whole baby thing has flown by. HT's infancy went by in a blink and I just want to hold on to her babyness for a little bit longer. I love nursing HT, so much more than expected. And in spite of four breast infections, I'm not ready to let nursing go. Solids are just the beginning. Then she'll start crawling, walking, talking, preschool...
More than anything else, nursing is the pause in my day (and night). Bean demands so much attention all the time. Not in a bad way, but in the "Mommy, do you want play princesses with me?" kind of play all day long. HT gets kind of lost in the chaos of our home. She's on my hip with an Ariel doll in her mouth, or I'm dragging her along to Bean's preschool, ballet or gym class. My point is, I feel like so much of HT's babyness was lost in the shuffle of keeping up with my older daughter which is why I'm guarding my boob time with her.
It's just the two of us. If it's bedtime, the house is relatively quiet and I can finally just hold this growing baby of mine. I examine her lashes, long and blond. I marvel at her perfectly round cheeks. I trace her little nose which looks a lot like mine. I just try to soak all the babyness in; her smell, her touch, and her funny sounds. She latches on immediately, and I watch her eyes intently focus on my shirt. She always lays on her side over my belly and her top arm will flap like a bird for the first few minutes or so, like she's trying to take off and fly somewhere. Flap, flap, flap until she tires. Then the same arm starts exploring, grabbing at my hair or the collar of my shirt. Then her hand suddenly stretches out her little fingers until they are nestled snugly on my breast. Her eyes at this point have begun to drift. We make eye contact now and again. She smiles and coos softly with my nipple firmly latched in her mouth. I stroke her head, pondering if the soft dark blond hair on head will stay or if she will have brown hair like her sister. By now her eyes are drifting more , rolling back into her head, her eye lids heavy with sleep. And I stay there, cherishing this time together because it's our time.
Rationally, I know that feeding her solids isn't the start of the long slippery slope to adulthood. It just feels that way. If she's ready for it, I should be too.