Frankie is weaned!! I repeat, Frankie is weaned! Woohoo!
Thanks to all who offered advice and support
in this tricky endeavor. In the end I used the old "Hey! Look! Is that an airplane?" method of weaning. Friday morning when I went to get her out of the crib, she snuggled into my neck and murmured sleepily, "Nursie, peez." Resolute, despite the sweet, sweet smell of her soft baby hair and her impressive grasp of the "magic word," I asked her instead, "Frankie, would you like to feed the cat this morning?" Her head popped up off my shoulder. You bet your ass she would! She solemnly carried the cat bowl, all stinky with Hepburn's favorite food sprinkled generously with smashed thyroid pill, to Hepburn's usual breakfast spot, and then sat down beside the cat to stroke her fur and exclaim unintelligible words of encouragement to Hepburn as she ate. Hepburn, of course, really needed no encouragement, but was wise enough to simply ignore the enthusiastic child bobbing beside her since there was Seafood Grille Delight being served. By the time Hepburn finished, Frankie's egg was cooked and the heavenly scones from Great Harvest were on the table. Nursing was forgotten.
Frankie likes to nurse 3 times a day: first thing in the morning, before naptime, and before bedtime. I had made it through the first demand, and decided the best way to avoid the second was with a change of locale. So we went to one of the local pools with a fantastic children's area, and the girls played themselves dizzy. Frankie fell asleep in the car on the way home, and danger zone #2 was averted. At bedtime I got really shameless. I sat down in our usual nursing chair, a rocker, in front of the computer. But instead of turning on soothing music and attaching Frankie to my breast while checking my email, I loaded up a video of Dora the Explorer singing La Lechusa
. We watched that 4 or 5 times, and then I laid her down in her crib.
So easy! Honestly, though, I think she was ready for it. Certainly I got much more fight from her everytime I tried any little trick with her before. Still, she brings it up with me occasionally. Just to be sure. Saturday morning when I went in to pick her up, she snuggled into my neck again with that sweet, sweet smelling soft baby hair. This time, though, she patted my breast through my t-shirt and asked me in her quiet morning voice, "Nursie gone?" And when, later in the morning, I accidentally pinched her finger in the linen closet door and then quickly grabbed her with an "Oh, no!" and an "I'm so sorry!", she was not above asking through her tears, just to be sure, "Nursie?" Luckily, running cold water over the squished finger numbed the pain even without the analgesic effect of breastfeeding
I'm still working on finding a good bedtime ritual for her to replace nursing, though. She's been having a little trouble going to sleep since stopping, although she doesn't complain about it. With Annika, who decided quite on her own at 19 months that she was done with breastfeeding, I sang "Miss Mary Mack" to her while rocking. It wouldn't have been my choice, but Annika made her wishes very clear (even though she wasn't saying a word at 19 months). Looking back and comparing the two girls, I realize that Anni's always been pretty decisive and unshakeable in her ideas.
The new nursing-independent Frankie spent the weekend experiencing lots of firsts. On Saturday Annika and I made our usual Banana Chocolate-Chip Cinnamon Nut Muffins
(recipe at the end of the preceding link). We usually make these when Frankie is asleep, but Annika was pretty sure that the new all-grown-up Frankie would enjoy getting in on the mess-making action. We put Frankie in charge of smashing the bananas with a potato masher. She climbed up on a chair at the counter, next to her sister. Every once in a while she would turn around and shout at no one in particular, "Look at me! I'm cooking!" Then she would turn back to her task, all seriousness. She chanted, "Cook...cook...cook," saying "cook" every time she smashed down in the gooey stuff.
As you can see, Annika insists on wearing an apron and hat when she cooks. Clothes, not so much.
A few new phrases have entered Frankie's repertoire:
"I made a mess!"
"Clean it up, mama."
And a new one, which is patently insincere:
"LET. ME. GO!"
She says this when being carried, pushing against my chest with her arms. But after I put her down, she is back tugging on my jeans and raising up her arms within a minute or two. Ah, the power of words. Heady stuff.
Frankie is walking that line between independence and complete, snuggly dependence right now, trying to figure out where she should be. She wants to feed herself, wash herself, brush her own teeth, wipe her own nose, throw away her own tissue, get her own drink, but always with me standing right there, mind you. "No! Let me do it!" is surely the phrase heard most often right now.
When I put her down to sleep last night, she insisted on arranging her stuff around her just so. "Let me do it!" as she placed her pillow in the right spot and gathered her favorite toys to snuggle. Finally she settled down and I reached down, as usual, to rub her back a little before leaving. "No! Let me do it!" and she reached her own arm awkwardly around to her back, doing her best to give herself her own backrub. The fact that it wasn't quite working didn't discourage her one bit. Hey, there's been lots of stuff that has taken some practice to accomplish, right? I just said, "Night-night. I love you!" and closed the door, watching her bend her arm around in the most determined fashion, and trying not to laugh until I was out of earshot.
Still, despite the newly discovered independence, Frankie is clearly not the adventurous daredevil that Annika is. We went to a mini-carnival on Sunday with a bouncy castle and one of those giant inflatable slides. Frankie thought the bouncy castle was some sort of torture device (Make the baby fall down! Over and over on that horrible, soft
surface! Oh, the horror.) She didn't even enjoy the slide although I went down with her (And hauled her up it on my hip. I'm sweating just remembering how hard that was). At first I thought maybe it was her young age, but then I remembered Shelby
, and her wild abandon on a similar slide, never mind the nasty liver-induced osteoporosis, and that was when she was only a few months older than Frankie is now. Jörg, trying out his Voice of Reason, pointed out that one daredevil per family is more than enough.
Who has time for daredevilry when you're busy perfecting pronouns, anyway? Frankie already has the proper use of "I", "me", "you", "my", "mine", and "your." Can "he" and "she" be far behind? And she has already figured out that there can be a, ahem, certain disconnect
between what she says
and what she actually does
. So, for instance, as her Daddy was calling her upstairs for her bath tonight, she sat at the table happily munching on cheese as she cheerfully shouted back to him, "I'm coming!" And then asked me for more cheese, please.