My phone met its demise this past week, but I still managed to snag some more Views While Nursing… including shots from our very first Family Camping Trip. Enjoy.
For many of those early nursing sessions with my second son, my view was exactly the same. I would be sitting on the floor of our dimly lit bedroom. Next to me, there was small crack in the closed curtains which provided the slightest sliver of outside. During the daytime, I could see the my neighbor’s crepe myrtle blooming and above it, the blue sky. Often I would see clouds and sometimes a black vulture would silently glide through my view.
I was reminded of Anne Frank.
This is by no means to say that breastfeeding is as bad as the Holocaust. I find it to be quite the opposite, in fact.
In her diary, Anne Frank mentions a horse-chestnut tree (Fun fact– Horse-chestnuts are actually in the same family of trees as buckeyes and are not closely related to the American chestnuts) three separate times. One of those mentions:
Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs, from my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind. As long as this exists, I thought, and I may live to see it, this sunshine, the cloudless skies, while this lasts I cannot be unhappy.
In those hectic first weeks with a newborn where days and nights blur together, used diapers accumulate in little piles by the bed, and your own body doesn’t even feel like its your own anymore, my fatigued eyes found that little sliver of nature to be particularly peaceful. I could appreciate how meaningful and powerful a view of the outside can be, even if it is just a small glimpse. And if it meant that much to me, I can only imagine how very precious it was to Anne Frank.
Now that my son is older, we are getting out and about more. We are happily continuing our breastfeeding relationship and taking in a variety of views along the way. Last week, I started collecting shots of the things I see while nursing.
When I was a young girl, I loved Greek mythology. There are things in Greek mythology that could be considered disturbing– a father eating his own children (Cronus); a great and menacing beast devouring young men and women trapped in a dank, dark maze (the Minotaur); and good ole wholesome bestiality (Zeus and Leda, Pasiphae and the bull).
But the story that resonated with me the most, the one that provoked the most visceral reaction of disgust was the story of The Graeae Sisters. The hero Perseus encountered them on his way to kill Medusa. The Graeae Sisters were three terribly old women. Between them they had one tooth and one eyeball…so they took turns. I don’t even like seeing someone else’s used chewing gum in the trashcan. I can’t imagine sharing a tooth…or worse an eyeball.
The Graeae Sisters took the beautiful concept of sharing and made it into something really, really icky.
The Graeae Sisters (Image Courtesy of Ray Jackson)
And that brings me to my sons. The other week, I was giving infant Dyson a bedtime bath. Older brother Sagan was helping me out by supervising and pumping out the soap. Eventually, Dyson realized he was getting a bath.
“Baby crying,” Sagan announced.
“That’s right, Dyson’s crying,” I said as I picked up my pace.
All of a sudden, Sagan pulled the pacifier out of his mouth and offered it up to Dyson. SLUUURP! Dyson immediately accepted the gift and started sucking away.
Now this was an amazingly kind and thoughtful gesture for a toddler, particularly one who is completely binky-obsessed. Extremely sweet. Externally I kept my cool. But internally, my reaction was akin to the one I have when I think of those shriveled old women passing around a tartar-covered tooth and a slimy cataract-ridden eyeball:
P.S. The artwork above by Ray Jackson is available as prints and notecards at RedBubble.com
When I see little Dyson’s face while he is asleep, he reminds me of my paternal grandmother. Specifically, he reminds me of a plaster cast that was made of her face years ago. It has hung in my grandparents’ den for as long as I can remember. Well, we had a mini family reunion at my grandparents’ house in early August. I went ahead and took a quick comparison shot.
Maybe it isn’t the features of the face I find so nostalgic. Maybe it is the pose. : )
I let Sagan strike his toy garden tools against the garage floor. As he was playing I encouraged him.
“You are good at smacking that hoe!”
Then I realized how awful that sounded.
This year for Mother’s Day, Ryan and I took 22-month old Sagan over to Occoquan’s Paint Your Heart Out one Friday afternoon.
We picked out coffee mugs and sponged on some background colors. Then it was Sagan’s turn to participate. He plopped his handprint on each mug. After that, Ryan and I did our best to embellish the handprints and make them appear like peacocks. The proprietor of Paint Your Heart Out has a little girl two months younger than Sagan. That meant the tiny table full of toys was of great interest to Sagan while his parents worked.
While I don’t think our final products are going to make the rounds on Pinterest, we were pleased with the results…as were Sagan’s grandmothers. : )
And the whole process got to impress Ryan and I with Sagan’s memory retention. We didn’t pick up our pieces until nearly a week later. Sagan, of course, accompanied us on that outing as well.
As soon as he saw the mugs he said, “Peacock!” and he quickly followed it up with “Haaaaaaaaaand.”
So he not only remembered that we made peacocks, but that it was constructed out of his hand to boot.
Dyson slept through the whole encounter, but when he was three weeks old he did get to meet one of my first “babies”.
Dyson, meet the American chestnut. American chestnut, meet Dyson.