Here you'll find current musings, as well as the archives from two blogs of yesteryear: YoungMarriedMom and What I Learned While Writing a Novel. Please comment and share. We love well when we are in conversation with one another.
Like most things in life, the weaning process has not turned out to be as easy as it seemed at first glance. Frustrated with a very clingy child, and concerned that I wasn’t making the right decisions, I did what I always do when I need a practical answer to a question: I went online.
We’re all very aware that the Internet can be either a very helpful or a very dangerous place. Anyone can post information online, and while it’s great that such a variety of perspectives is available at the click of a mouse, it can be tough to pick through and find the good stuff.
The thing about parenting is that in most cases there aren’t “right” answers that unequivocally apply to everyone. Nursing and weaning are certainly not in the cut-and-dry category. And yet, I turned to what I knew to be a pro-breastfeeding website to get what I hoped would be some perspective.
I did get some perspective. Unfortunately, not one that jives with my own. The good thing is that I recognized the weaning process was maybe going a little too quickly for Jacob. His clinginess might have been because he was used to a little more physical contact in his day. That was useful. What was not useful was the veiled message that really, the only good way to go about weaning a child was to let him/her do it him/herself, even if it takes until the child is two or three (or seven) years old. This works for some people, but not for us. John and I both feel that in our family, as far as nursing goes, once you can ask for it, you’re done. Again, that’s just us.
Essentially, I had to decide what answer I wanted, and then I could find someone to validate it for me. In the great search for an answer, it was discouraging to be met with such a one-sided view—even if I did unintentionally seek it. On the other hand, I could have sought a site with a perspective on the other side of the spectrum, and ended up in the same place. The whole point was I wasn’t sure what I wanted to hear.
So then I did what I should have done in the first place: I turned to a couple of women who have kids about Jacob’s age or older, whose perspectives on marriage, parenting, and family life I appreciate, and some of whose stories of weaning I was already somewhat familiar with. By the next morning, I had a couple of emails in my inbox that gave me the encouragement I needed.
They reminded me that, as parents, John and I need to make the best decisions we can for our family and stick by them even when it gets tough. The offered some practical tips from their experiences as well, but mostly, they let me know that I was doing an okay job. That if I knew the path we were on was right for us, then we needed to stay on it.
For the record, Jacob threw up/spit up—I’m not sure which—the next morning, and then was back to his old self. Still a little clingy, but nothing I can’t handle. All of that and the problem effectively handled itself.
Maybe this parenting stuff isn’t so hard after all.