This wouldn’t be Project Progeny without a little good-natured complaining about my in-laws. After all, isn’t that what anonymous blogs are for?
I couch this complaint with gratitude, because they have truly been a godsend. They have made the 18-hour journey here twice now, at the advanced age of 70+, to enjoy the company of my children. They help around the house – my MIL takes care of the laundry, my FIL does the dishes, and between the two of them they entertain the kids from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. They shower them with gifts – but not too many – and always check with us beforehand about what they want to give them. They compliment me constantly about what a great person I am – for example, I asked my MIL yesterday (somewhat tongue in cheek) if she’s figured out yet why God gave her Gimli as a son, and she said, “well, because he brought us you!” That was just really sweet.
So it’s not actually that hard to tamp down my annoyance when she not-so-subtly does her passive-aggressive thing, like recently she’s been dropping hints about weaning Oz. I have no plans to wean Oz. I’d love to continue nursing him as long as he wants. I love that my milk is something only I can give him, and I get the feeling that he’s just as pleased that my milk is only for him – one of the few things he doesn’t have to share with anybody else! I don’t want to have any more babies, so this is the end of the line for me. I have enjoyed breastfeeding by and large and I’m not in a hurry to give it up. But he’s 17 months old now, and starting to talk, and I’ve observed that two things make most Americans (including my husband) very uncomfortable: continuing to breastfeed a child who can talk, and continuing to breastfeed a child who may be able to remember breastfeeding when he’s older. My opinion is that culturally Americans view breasts in a highly, highly sexualized way, but it doesn’t have to be that way – there are plenty of cultural contexts where breasts are no more sexual than bottles. Or udders. They are a milk delivery system, period. Children won’t see or experience breasts as sexual objects unless or until they are taught to do so!
So I guess I’m not surprised that she keeps bringing up the nursing question – “Are you thinking about weaning? Maybe he’d sleep better at night if he wasn’t nursing. It would free you up a lot! I’m sure he’d get used to cow’s milk quickly if that was the only thing he was getting.” On constant loop/repeat.
I wish she’d let it go. It’s not really any of her business. But she’s invested in the kids, in their upbringing, in our well-being as a family. She hasn’t quite intimated that she thinks I’m harming him by continuing to breastfeed… but I have a feeling that will come eventually.
Maybe he’ll lose interest on his own. Maybe I’ll get tired of it before he does and change my tune. But really, it’s between me and Oscar and I’d like to keep it that way.