baby years and Amelie’s 6th birthday

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Where have I been all these days?  Crying my eyes out, that’s where.

Kiri and I came to the end of our breastfeeding journey last week.  We had moved from on demand (demand being the key word here) to three times a day, Daniel style (morning noon and night).  Noon dropped out.  Then Devo started taking her out and distracting her in the mornings.  Then one evening I came home from yoga and they had read Goodnight Gorilla together and he’d tucked her into bed with her baby and her giraffe and she’d gone to sleep.

I was ready, she was ready, it was time.  I was ready to end breastfeeding a 20 month old.

But I wasn’t ready to end the baby years.  And that is what apparently just came to an end.  My inner self knew it before my outer self did.  I’ve gone into mourning, grieving hard over the end of something very beautiful and precious.

I have been creating and nurturing life with my body, in my body, for a little over nine years.  That’s over a quarter of my entire life.  And while, yes, I’m glad to be returning to a place of sanity and productivity and the joys of middle childhood, I am heart broken to leave the baby years.

Pregnancy, baby kicks and squirms, labor and birth, the miraculous first days and weeks, the sweetnesses of babies, plump cheeks, fat legs, cuddles under the blanket, nursing, kisses, every day something new, nurturing, our very own baby.

In many ways I feel very alone in this grief.  I think that is because, while others can empathize and support and understand, these experiences are uniquely mine.  They are physical memories.  These years have rent open my heart, my soul, my mind, and my body.  Oh, there’s nothing like it.

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In other news, we have been celebrating Amelie’s sixth birthday this last week with a small party on Friday.  The theme was an old-fashioned garden party (of sorts).  We ordered umbrellas and fans for the girls.  The boys got plastic top hats and handmade bow ties.  I was hoping to make some new dresses for the girls, but contented myself with dressing up their old ones with bright new sashes.  Levi forsook his bow tie and came as Robin Hood.  Kiri wore one of Amelie’s baby dresses, like a little fairy child.

We had set up a stage curtain (which kept blowing over in the afternoon wind), and the littlest girls performed the most darling plays for us.  I always love being reminded how little Amelie still is, sometimes I forget.

Today was her birth day.  It’s kind of nice, because the kids talk about their birthdays so much and for so long before the actual day, that I become accustomed to thinking of them as the next year older before it actually happens.

So now she is officially six and outfitted with a new ballet ensemble, a selection of books, a big butterfly balloon, and a dozen cream colored roses.

According to family tradition, we watched the video of her birth.  The wild, noisy, fast, intense, hard two hours of labor.  The beauty of a home water birth.  The instant recognition and love.  Her first cry.  (I cried.)

We made spring-themed chocolate lollipops for Easter. (Molds in the shape of the desired traditional bunny are apparently impossible to find in-store during the Easter season.  Next year, order online.)

We also went to buy another butterfly balloon when the first butterfly flew away.  (It’s so nice to be able to easily mend a broken heart.)

We fed ducks with the left-over tea sandwich crusts from the party.

The birthday “cake” was a pumpkin pie.  Amelie whipped the cream all by herself.

This week the kids have started sewing their own designs, using the machine, and we had another sewing session today.  Lia can reach the pedal on her own, but all three are having a blast doing the sewing on their own.  I made a few fabric eggs when the machine was free, stuffed with rice they make enchanting hacky sacks.

We laughed through this “duck-umentary” over supper.  Highly recommend.

Edited to add the link for the duck-umentary, sorry!

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2 thoughts on “baby years and Amelie’s 6th birthday

  1. Dearest cousin – hugs. I thank you for so bravely naming what you are going through. It makes me sad just pondering if. Perhaps that is a seed saying that perhaps we should have 3? We’ll see. Don’t want to race through these baby snuggles, though as of this week he is sharing a room with his big brother. Sigh. They grow up.

  2. Oh, thank you, Lea. We loved having three – the fun seemed to grow exponentially. And besides, that means there’s always someone to play with, right? I hope your transition to the new room goes smoothly.

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