Intuitive eating…post #2

I’ve been in the dark. And I’ll admit that writing, sharing has been hard lately.

Not only has the world turned dark, and cold, but so has my body. When I took on the healing process to find my intuitive eater, I was told that emotions might arise. And they have erupted.

There is an interesting thing that our bodies do when they experience emotional and psychological pain and we don’t process it. Our bodies manifest it. Into our bones, our muscles, our nerves.

My body, like so many, holds all sorts of trauma. Over the years, the layers have built up, some so deep I have forgotten all about them. I’m in pain alot. A sore back from an old injury horseback riding. A twisted hip that won’t let go since cradling the growing life of my first born 7 years ago. The achy feet from an imablance in posture, cracky shoulders from a back that tries so hard, a weak wrist from picking up my kids over and over and over.

When first learning about non-restrictive eating in The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner, I read that it is time to feel. “Feel what?” is all I thought. She instills a practice of body attention everyday. Taking five minutes to notice what you feel in your body and to look at it, study it, notice it. Not fix it, never to fix it, but to simply feel it.

In the Intuitive Eating workbook, there is an activity where you sit quietly and try to feel your heartbeat within you. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this is the first time I consciously felt it inside of me. I now do it often, it is actually quite grouding to remember that this muscle keeps on pumping no matter what’s happening around it.

I’ve also learned that I emotionally eat at times. Food helps me to feel better when I’m frustrated, sad, or even bored. This is not an uncommon practice, and not necessarily even a bad one. But I’ve noticed it and worked to find other ways to self-care in these moments.

I mention all this, because when you stop to feel your body, listen to what it’s saying, and you take away a numbing comfort, you start to feel.

And these feelings have been erupting out of me. I am in a lot of physical pain as this body screams at me what I have silenced for so long. I am exhausted, all the way to the point that the thought of movement feels overwhelming most of the time. My body needs rest, rest for all of the missed moments of rest. My body needs rest, for all of the pain it needs to heal. My body needs tender care and love, warmth, massage, showers, essential oils, all that I can offer it as it heals.

And my heart has been healing. These past two months have been an overdrive of emotions. I have remembered and felt through trauma, and I’m talking little things I have beaten myself up over for decades.

So I haven’t been writing.

I have been parenting. And my kids are brilliant. I haven’t had the best words to share with them why my emotions are so up and down, but I have had the love and care to apologize when I need to, to explain when I feel frustrated before I act, and to ask for moments by myself.

Returning to intuitive eating is so hard. I so often want to walk away. But I remember that I am untangling knots from decades of diet culture, centuries of generational trauma, and years of painful dieting I have inflicted on myself.

I can say many things about why I’m still in, but here are a few.

  • My daughter eats with more confidence than I have ever seen, trying new things and communicating about her fullness and needs.
  • I am letting go of the need to have zero waste with all food.
  • Food is becoming nourishment instead of comfort.
  • Dinner time is a place of deep and loving inquisitions instead of food battles.
  • I love this body more now than I ever have, and it’s a body I have feared for so much of my life.*
  • This body, although working through so much, is startimg to feel like home.

Until I write again…

*I need to acknowledge something here. I have always been afraid of gaining too much weight and I am now in the body that I used to fear. And this is still a straight-sized, highly privileged body. I can’t say this without also saying that this journey is a constant unpacking of my fatphobia towards myself and this world. When we, or I, fear a body for myself that is still not like the body of so many others, we marginalize those bodies. Both in this world and in our minds. The love I am working on for my own body is a love inclusive of all bodies no matter what size. I am releasing the fear of all body sizes as I embrace my own. I am standing in the belief that all bodies are worthy of love, praise, admiration, care, joy, and humanity. I invite you to do the same.

So many questions…

When I was teaching sex ed, I worked with parents on how to talk with their kids when hard questions came up. The answer is always to answer matter of factly with truth and honesty. Then wait. Kids will ask a follow up if they don’t understand or ask nothing more if their curiosity is satisfied. What you don’t want to happen is that they don’t ask another question because you have either just stretched the truth or shut down their question entirely. Kids know, and then they won’t ask again.

I work really hard to instill this with my kids, answering away as the questions come up. I want to share a series of questions from the other night, a seven minute drive home from a gas station…just so you know you’re not alone.

“Why don’t we celebrate Kwanzaa or Hanukkah?”

“Can we celebrate them?”

“Do we know anyone who does celebrate them?”

“Who?”

“Why can’t we celebrate Kwanzaa, again?”

“Why do we celebrate Christmas, again?”

“What is Christian?”

“What is Daddy?”

“What are you?”

“Well then what am I?”

“I have a question not about Christmas…how do people decide who is going to change their last name when they get married?”

“Do you have to have a last name?”

“What about if a boy marries a boy?”

“Or a girl marries a girl?”

“Why can’t brothers and sisters get married again?”

“What does it mean that babies have differences when they are born?”

“How does that happen?”

“Then who am I going to marry?”

“One more…can a person have a baby and not be married?”

Cue dinner a few minutes later…

“I think I should be a scientist because I really like to ask questions, huh Mom?”

A bathroom disagreement

I had a nerve-wracking incident come up the other day – an email from the school counselor expressing concern about something my daughter did. Very simply, in a hall bathroom she shared a stall with another student. They each went to the bathroom and then proceeded to play around in the bathroom instead of going back to class right away.

This warranted a discussion with the principal for both kids. My mind immediately went to work and I created a narrative of what they must be thinking. And I got angry. And quickly. In my head, I was sure that the main issue had to be that they peed in the same stall together. That this is inappropriate. That goodness forbid kids participate in a non-sexual activity as non-sexual beings in a shared space.

As a sexuality educator, trained curriculum developer and an advocate for the rights of kids and adolescents in a shunned sexualized world, let me be clear about a couple things here. I assumed that these kids were seen as bad for peeing in the same stall because in this society, naken bodies are wrong. And it’s not because these kids were inherently doing something out of their development, it’s because society assumes they are. As adults, we have lived past childhood into a sexualized world and body. And we can’t seem to unsee that, even in our kids. What they did was completely normal, but we still make it so much more than that.

After talking with my kid, it was even more evident that these two kids were incredibly respectful and responsible in the space they shared. There was an invitation to share a stall, without pressure. With consent. And they respected privacy boundaries by each turning their backs while the other actually used the toilet.

To me, the issue was that they broke a school rule. There is only one kid per stall. And they are not to play in the bathroom. This alone is not a principal needed response. It’s a simple discipline response, a reminder even, to not play in places you shouldn’t.

But I was led to believe that there was a larger issue here, that I should be concerned and that my kid is at fault because she invited the friend into the stall.

How often do we as parents share a stall with our kids? How often do siblings share stalls? Young friends? My kid and the friend have shared a stall before, on playdates, under parental supervision of myself and the other parent. And they respected and set personal boundaries there as well.

I know that the school needs to take things seriously because there could be a parent on the opposite side of me – seeing this through a sexualized lens and panicking. But isn’t that the problem? The system is failing us here. If this is not handled correctly, she may in fact feel shame and confusion about why it’s not ok to be around a friend in a bathroom when she did all that she has learned to establish her own needs and boundaries. Why is that not enough?

This morning, she said to me that she’s never been to the principal’s office before because she is not “usually bad.” I told her that she did nothing bad, that she broke a school rule and that they want to be sure she understands. But she doesn’t understand how she’s in more trouble than usual. I tried to explain that sometimes people get nervous and upset around bodies and that this might be the case here. I want her to know that many rules are set because some people believe that kids can do bad things, that we in this family believe are not bad at all. And instead are normal kid things to do. And that sometimes, these two don’t match up.

I told her to remember that I always have her back. That when I think they are wrong at school, that I will tell them. And she plans to apologize for playing around in the bathroom and not following the stall rules.

I fully realize that as you read this, this may trigger you. You may disagree with me or how I have handled it. I invite you to challenge yourself on this. What is coming up for you? How would you handle it? How would you protect your kid?

See there isn’t really a right way or a wrong way for us in this. But we can work together to be sure that our kids do not experience shame around their bodies. And that their normal stages of development are not mistaken for deviency. Kids are explorers and in fact so many behaviors that we deem as sexual among adults are simply play among kids. Playing doctor. Showing body parts. Touching one’s own body parts. Making dolls share a bed together or be naked together. Kids are understanding the world around them. And failing to let them explore a completely natural and normal part of their development can be harmful. It can lead to shame, silence, and a lack of communication when they do participate in sexual behaviors. I am not willing to take that risk. I know that feeling all too well. I think we can do better. My kid deserves better.

Follow Up: I did speak with the school and the feeling is mutual that their reactions are often rooted in the fear of the parents. I understand and also I don’t. I challenged them to consider that this might be the larger problem. And I asked that when my kid is spoken to that they are careful not to create a sense of shame. They assured me that this would not be the case.

I also spoke with the other parent involved. And I think it’s important to note that so many of us parents are in this together, but we often don’t talk about it. We can ask more of these schools. We can make it so our kids are not shamed as a result of worry of what a parent might do. We can make it so that being a kid is normal and that when parents struggle with an incident or what’s happening with their kid, then we work together through the situation among the adults, not through our kids.

I do dream of a world for this. And look forward to when we get there. Reaching out to the other parents is so important folks. If the other parent was not on the same page as me, I could have used it as an opportunity to connect on what’s best for our kids and to be sure that both kids are safe, loved, and able to move through this. To create a stream of honest communcation when normally there is so little. And we could have still disagreed and it would all be okay.

And sure, the other parent could have been mad and asked for punishment. But also, I am not responsible for other’s reactions. We can only hold our own and offer up love and support along the way. The goal is not to be the same, but to communicate. And to take care of our kids as we see fit. I am responsible for ensuring my kid’s behavior ensures both her own and the safety of others. And sharing a bathroom with another 6 year old, with consent, and with agreed upon privacy, is not a safety issue.

Halloween candy

First read this article by Virginia Sole-Smith. “How to stay sane about Halloween candy.”

I’ll admit, I was anxious about this Halloween. How was I going to handle the candy this year with two kids, and with one who is only a toddler?

Last year, my oldest, then 5, got so much candy. And she was sooo into it. She asked for it, all the time. We limited it to a piece or two, allowing only a couple on Halloween night. She just kept asking. And I kept worrying. After about a week, I saw that a friend offered a toy in place of all but a few pieces of candy. Her kid bought into it, so I considered it too, another spin on the switch witch.

I offered for her to keep 12 pieces and to exchange the rest for a toy at Target. She thought about it and said yes. So, I watched her count out the ones she wanted, methodically trying to pick her favorites and those she deemed the best. Then, I took away the rest. Ate many myself, saved some for my partner, and tossed the rest.

She picked out a Barbie…switch witch or not, agh, I should have let her keep the candy.

“Mommy, you don’t like Barbie. Why not?” she likes to ask.

I still haven’t been able to eloquently describe the issues of body size, racism, fatphobia, sexism in way that she understands yet. But, we keep talking and she keeps liking Barbie and it’s all okay.

Fast forward to this year as I wanted to do better. I read Virginia Sole-Smith’s article, all while I am re-learning intuitive eating. So, we went with her advice. Trick or treating was last night for us. We got home, it was after bedtime for both. The one year old ate three pieces of candy. Yes, I let them. She ate probably 10-12 pieces. We could see she wanted more but negotiated bedtime instead and said she could have as much as she wants the next day too.

And that was it. Nothing else happened.

They both went to bed rather uneventfully and slept well. She woke up, she got ready for school. No tummy aches, wild energy, or tantrums. It was bliss.

And just as importantly, my intuitive eating was loud and proud as I did not sneak candy or pine for theirs. My daughter shared one piece and I felt done on this day. Fulfilled for the night. Because I am working hard to remind myself that candy is no longer a restriction, or an evil temptation that makes itself only available several times a year during the holidays.

Folx, read her article, try it. And if you read this the day after or several days after and you restricted, you can still decide otherwise. That’s the best part of parenting to me. Learning to show how I changed my mind and to say why. Try this if you need some words…

“After you went to bed, I thought about it some more. And I want you to have whatever candy you want today. It’s your candy and Halloween is a fun holiday. Let’s do it together. Show you me what you’ve got. What are your favorites? How does that one taste?…”

And read Virginia Sole-Smith’s article. Follow her on Instagram. The writing she does has been so helpful and so affirming. And to see my two kids find their own intuitive eater…or maybe I should say to see myself finally give space for their intuitive eater to show up…is bliss as a parent. Food is uncomplicated and we just enjoy it as part of our day. Battles have ceased. It’s so so worth it.

A short story on the beginning of humans

We were in the car and somehow the topic of birth came up. She started to ask me questions about scenarios and birth.

“What would happen if someone gave birth in their house? In their car? In a parking lot? In the ocean? In outer space?”

She got stuck on my answer about having a baby in space. I tried to explain that it wasn’t the best idea to have a baby in space because we didn’t know what would happen. Then, after a moment of her pondering, she threw me a tough one.

“How did the first person be born? I mean I know how babies are born, but how did the first person get born?”

I love parenting, and answering questions. But this moment, I was like “WTF? Parenting, let alone life, does not prep you for these types of questions.”

I did my best, told her about the big bang and also introduced Adam and Eve, sharing that people believed different things. She wanted to know more about the big bang. I gave it a shot…

“A long, long time ago, there was an explosion that resulted in a microscopic organism coming to earth…”

“A what?”

“Like a tiny bug or virus. It then made more of itself. And eventually made better versions of itself to survive. These new versions eventually became the plants, animals, and humans we see today.”

“Ok, but how do you know?” she asked.

“It’s a theory,” I said, “our best guess based on all of the evidence we have in front of us. No one was alive then so we can’t be all the way sure.”

She took a few moments…

“Ok, but what’s the real truth?”

“That’s all I’ve got,” I told her.

Here’s what I learned – When you teach your kid about evolution, like most conspiracy theorists, she wil doubt you. Maybe for the first time, and certainly not for the last time.

Intuitive eating…post #1 of many

“What would you like for snack?” I asked.

“Gummies,” she responds.

Every. Time.

“AGUA!” shouts my youngest.

This is my house, currently. As I embark on intuitive eating, a quest to rid my life of diet culture and to embrace this squishy, perfect body of mine, I am considering how our house can move in this direction. I have been reading work by Ellyn Satter, check out the Ellyn Satter Institute here, and have been learning how to allow my kids to have more choices in their food. Basically, it teaches that I am in charge of the what, when and where. And that they are in charge of the how much and whether to eat what we provide.

The institute has been very helpful in showing me how to organize meals and what to consider in offering them. For snacks, you are suppose to start with us making choices and eventually over time, our oldest can choose what she wants for snacks. Hence, the gummies. But we’re not quite there yet so gummies are available in limited amounts. I am trusting that eventually they will lose their shine, once she gets her fill.

As for agua, I taught the toddler some words in French and Spanish as I want them to know early on that there is more than one language in this country and world, and to normalize that this is true. Like so many kids, they choose one word and say is constantly. Agua is the winning word in this house. Anything liquid is called agua. And their recent taste of juice has resulted in emphatic requests for “AGUA!” whenever I open the fridge.

We were warned that kids get addicted to juice (and apparently gummies), but I am holding tight to Ellyn Satter’s words that this too will pass. And that addiction to food is not actually a thing.

I haven’t explored all of this too deeply, but have read the impact of intuitive eating for kids and I’m sold. Basically, it’s all I hope for both of them in this world of food and culture. I am seeking it for myself, and this freedom for all of us.

More to come on this I’m sure. In the meantime, check it out. You can learn about how to handle picky eaters, kids that refuse fruits and/or vegetables, snacking, etc. It’s both super helpful and also so much relief in learning the normalcy of your kids’ eating. And it provides the insight for a world of food and eating that may actually be free of shame and diet culture.

Do I look pretty?

“Do I look pretty?” she asked.

“You always look pretty,” I responded. “And that dress is pretty too.”

I had a realization this morning, these come all too often anymore. As I navigate healing and existing in this world, I continue to unravel the layers of how I live differently than I say and love.

It started about a year ago, when she’d ask if she looked pretty. I knew in that moment that I wanted her to know that clothes or what’s on your body doesn’t make you pretty. I could see this stumbling into the future as attractiveness, worthiness being linked to how she looks in clothes. A sneaky not so hidden bit of diet culture, fatphobia, sexism, racism, all tied up in there. So I made a point to respond to her and acknowledge her own beauty as a normal everyday. She spoke the above words a few more times and each time, I responded with precision that she was always beautiful, pretty, cute.

However, recently, I realized that despite these efforts and as much as I was speaking out loud, my social conditioning had not yet transformed. She picked out some new clothes and my head was screaming that she looked so adorable in these new pieces. One, a blue dress sprinkled with pineapples, not only looked perfect on her but also reminded me of good pineapple memories in childhood and beyond. I heard my head say, “you look so cute today.” I caught myself, with confusion and frustration of how tightly this society holds me, and changed the message to what I really wanted to mean.

“That dress is so cute,” I said to her.

I keep thinking that if I change my mindset to not link her body to the clothes and instead comment on the clothes as their own piece, it will separate the attachment to self. Maybe undo a tiny bit of the “isms” associated with women in clothing. Really to do this for me too. So she can see it’s possible.

Because today, I am struggling as I need to shift my wardrobe. As I delve into intuitive eating, my body is changing. It will continue to change. And the challenge is to first accept that this will happen, and also to accept that I will need to change clothes as these changes occur. I feel stuck as I still link my own clothes to self-loathing, attraction, sexiness, worthiness.

“You look terrible in this. What are you thinking? This makes you look fat.* You look horrible today. What did I eat to cause this body? I need to exercise. No treats today…” and on and on and on.

This morning I remembered the pineapple dress. It came to me like a gift, a reminder that I can live differently. I said to myself, “Your clothes do not define you. You define you. Clothes simply adorn the beautiful being that never changes even when your body might.”

Thank goodness for that cute pineapple dress.

*I want to acknowledge that this statement is fatphobic. And, it’s what I am still working on and feels important to leave it and be honest. Our criticism of our bodies – thin fat, straight fat, small fat, or otherwise non fat bodies in this ways is fatphobic. Simply put, if we can’t see ourselves as acceptable, we can’t possible see others who are fat as such. I’m working hard to understand this and to unpack my own fatphobia.  

Rock ‘n Roll

Six years old had been an amazing ride. I am watching this little person start to sense and understand empathy. I am watching her start to see impact and feel guilt about impact she doesn’t intend. I am starting to see her consider her options, make choices and be a little less implusive. She is also learning to love out loud telling us how she feels more often than not.

And her personality is beaming.

Last year, her teacher told us that they thought she might be president one day. But that they weren’t sure if she’d be voted in, or if she’d just take it.

“That about sums up our lives parenting her,” I jokingly responded.

In her birth chart, she is an Aries sun and moon. This is a set up for someone who is powerful, leaderful, and impactful in this world. This with her Libra rising sign also creates the impression of serving the people, justice, equity, fairness. We see this in her, so many moments of every day.

Two days ago, she decided to write a rock song. I was an audience member and had to participate. On cue, I had to give examples of things that I didn’t think I could do, but I did anyway.

So she sings, and points to me.

“Birth!” I shout.

She laughs, and says “no, not that, something else.”

Momentarily miffed (if only she knew), I told her “climb a mountain.” She proceeded to sing how she climbed a mountain all the way to the top even though she didn’t want to, and was brave.

She pointed to me again.

“Swam a big relay race,” I exclaimed.

She sang about how she was nervous and scared and didn’t think she could do it, but then she won “FFFIIIRRRSSSTTT PLACE!”

Then came the ending of this song…

“There were things I didn’t really want to do, but I did them anyway. Because I always do what I want to do. I ALWAYS DO WHAT I WANT TO DOOOOO!”

This is my life people. She does what she wants to do. And is learning to love, laugh, live, play along the way. Whether or not she runs the world or runs her home or runs nothing at all, she will always do what she wants to do. And I am so grateful she is here in this life with me.

Eat! and Race!

My youngest is 19 months old, so it’s time to start talking about race. In our house, we believe that being race explicit is essential to understanding racism and oppression in this world and country. We also believe that colorblindness is harmful and we want them to untangle this problematic worldview in their lives.

Once, my daughter identified herself as “normal” when we were talking about race. Despite our repeated teachings, she is still absorbing the whiteness around her.

So we start young. And keep teaching.

There is a book we have called “Eat!” that was given to my oldest by our first pediatrician. It’s a story about messy eating and shows several baby faces covered in food. I love this book, one because they love it, two because it’s gender expression neutral, and three because it’s a wide array of skin colors.

This baby loves this book, seeing the baby faces, the messy food and meeting the eyes of other kids their age. We read the book and then we point out skin color. “This baby has dark brown skin. This baby has lighter brown skin. Look at your skin, see how it’s different. We call your skin white.”

Being race explicit does something so important for our kids. First, and foremost, it makes us a family who does not pretend race does not exist in this world. It’s a common belief among many white folks that if we just treat people as people, or if we just recognize that we’re all the same underneath, then we can change the world.

We believe that this can probably eventually be true. But right now it cannot. Our society, our internalized beliefs are rooted in skin color and race. Pretending to not see it, or trying to love through it means we are not seeing the racial oppression, or we are trying to love someone as a solution when they are telling us that they are actively being harmed. Not to mention, not seeing a person’s skin color erases their humanity. We are all linked to our ancestors, our cultures, our history. Many white people don’t do this well. And just because some of us don’t feel connection to our ancestors, tend to live ahistorically, and/or fail to identify with many of our ethnic cultures doesn’t mean others should do the same. White supremacy has also impacted white culture, teaching us we are the norm and that others should follow suit, or they are then less deserving. And the policies and practices have been and continue to be put in place ensure things are taken away, restricted, policed, or even manipulated to our benefit all to uphold white supremacy.

So we talk about race in this house because we want our kids to know these details and to name them.

At dinner the other night, we played a game with our oldest. She asked if we could take turns saying things that are real that we wish were not. I went first.

“Capitalism,” I said.

“What’s that?” she asked.

I can’t remember my exact response but it went something like this, “it’s where people make a lot of things to make a lot of money. Where money is important and some people end up having a lot more than others.”

She went next.

“Guns,” she said.

Then my partner, “Poverty.”

We explained this one too.

Next I said, “Racism.”

She didn’t blink and said her next choice. We mentioned climate change, cancer, politics, human trafficking, animal abuse, stealing, the system of police, etc.

We talked about some but she knew many already. We have taught her that the world has big things in it that hurt people, that white people hurt people, that our ancestors hurt people. And we also teach her that we can talk about it and work to make it better.

Next we did a round on what doesn’t currently exist but we wish it did. We got answers like being a kid forever, unicorns, magic, boss baby, captain underpants, etc.

At one point, my partner said “superheroes.”

“Superheroes are real!” she exclaimed.

We exchanged eyes and just let it be. Even though her superheroes might be spiderman or batgirl, she also knows there are real life superheroes too. She knows Harriet Taubman, Martin Luther King Jr, Angela Davis, Dolores Huerta, Frida Kahlo among so many more.

So if you’re also a white parent raising a white kid, talk about race with your kids. Without knowing what it is, how to see it, and it’s impact on the world, they won’t know how to contribute to change, their own growth, a better world for their future. If you talk about race, they’ll believe in racism. And if they believe in racism they’ll also believe in anti-racism. And if your strategic, they just might believe in superheroes.

Boundaries

They quit me. Just like that and it was over. One morning it was a refusal, and then another, and then another. They just kept coming.

Uncomfortable, breasts engorged from unexpressed milk, I wasn’t sure what to do. “Maybe, it’s a phase,”  I thought, “or maybe it was a strike. I’ve heard that babies can have milk strikes after a change, or from discomfort, or from pain, etc. I have just been out of town for two days, it must be a strike.”

I started to google. I found so many sites, all pointing me to a milk strike. Meaning that this would be temporary. I should just hang in there and keep offering. Even try nursing when they are almost asleep, or in a quiet room, or when they need comfort. So, I kept asking. They kept signing no.

A week later at the pediatrician, I asked for help. She told me that she hasn’t ever seen a baby this age, 18 months, go back to nursing after a week of refusal. She was probably right, but I googled some more just to sure. Then, I saw it.

A post from a nursing parent also seeking answers for their 18 month old. One day their baby had just said no. Expecting more advice on nursing strikes, I kept scrolling anyway. The first post was from a parent who said what I needed to here – “It sounds like baby has decided to stop, you should respect their decision.”

I knew in that moment what I had been doing. I had been holding so tight to nursing…for so many reasons…supposed health benefits, immunity, nutrition, nourishment comfort, and connection. I started to think back to the last few weeks and realized that they had been showing signs of being done. They were finishing early, not always really latching, refusing occasionally, and needing a song sung to them at bedtime in order to focus on nursing.

This worry, this trying to find answers, this googling was all for me. And I made a misstep in not respecting their boundaries. This baby of mine had made a decision. A big kid decision in their toddler-hood and I was refusing to hear it.

In this moment, I let go. Breasts still in pain, full of milk, probably because I held onto it emotionally.

I cried. Not just for the loss of nursing this little one who is growing so fast, but also because this is the last baby I will nurse. The ending was more abrupt that I expected, and it was not in my control. This was not a mutual decision. And it was never supposed to be.

I write this, still with sore breasts, a weary heart, but also a deep understanding of my misstep in teaching boundaries, respecting boundaries.

With babies, boundaries can be blurred as we as the adults have to make so many decisions when they can’t tell us sometimes. But this baby did tell me. They are making decisions every moment and I missed this one. Today, I forgive myself and I am also paying attention.