(Warning: if you are squeamish about breastfeeding and related anatomy…DO.NOT.READ.)
It began with the words, “Mommy can you s-nugga me?”
“Of course I can snuggle you, Julianna. C’mere.”
Julianna cuddled up under my arm as we settled in for bedtime prayers. The younger boys were being pokey, as usual. Julianna rested her head against me for a minute and then raised her hand to point to a particular part of my anatomy. “Mommy, what, are, these?”
“We’ve talked about this before, Julianna. Those are my breasts.”
“Oh, yoh bwest?”
“Yes, you’ll have them someday, too.”
“What are, they for?”
“That’s how I fed all of you when you were babies. That’s how mommies give milk to their babies.”
Alex, up on the top bunk, emerged from the depths of the Deathly Hallows. “I always liked watching you with that milking machine.”
“That would be called a ‘breast pump,’” I said, wincing.
“No, the milking machine. I liked watching the drops fall in the bottle, and then you poured it all in those plastic bags and put it in the freezer.”
“When are you gonna use the milking machine again?” This from Nicholas. And at that point, it was clearly time to pray and send kids off to dreamland.
Eighteen hours later, I gave Nicholas a job: “Here. Take this and put it under the chair in my room. You know, the chair in the corner by the window?”
Blank, then a sudden clearing of expression. “Ohhhhhh!” he shouted. “The MILKING CHAIR!”
Well…it did used to be my nursing chair, yes…but now it’s my writing chair. And I suppose there’s a certain parallel between the nurturing of human babies and the nurturing of word babies.
But we clearly have some work to do to differentiate between Mommy…
and dairy animal.