Friday will be the last day I pump at work. As I mentioned earlier, Pumpkin will move to using a regular cup when she moves up to the 18 month room at day care. I am sure there will be lots of spilling as she learns how to do it, so it seems like a good time to switch her entirely to cow's milk. (Right now, I send about 5 ounces of breastmilk and about 7 ounces of cow's milk to day care.)
I have written before about my ambivalence to the changes in nursing that started when Pumpkin started on cow's milk at about 13 months old. We currently nurse after her nap (on the weekends, when I'm home with her), after her evening walk, once in the middle of the night, and once either first thing in the morning or when she wakes up at 5 a.m. (after which she usually sleeps a little longer). I suspect the afternoon nursing will be the next one to go, although I am lobbying hard for her to drop the middle of the night nursing- I'm telling her stories about how a little girl with her name who learns how to sleep through the night from a little bird (Pumpkin loves birds).
I'm looking ahead to my final pumping session with bittersweet feelings. I don't particularly like pumping, but it is the end of a specific time period in my life, a period in which I've grown in ways I never really imagined before I got pregnant. It feels like I should have some sort of ceremony.
Of course, I won't have a ceremony. But the fact that if feels like I need one tells me something- my ambivalence about quitting pumping is mostly about me, not Pumpkin. (My conflicted feelings about how long to nurse, on the other hand, are mostly about Pumpkin.) I need to move on from this stage to the next one. This is a general problem I've been having with motherhood- I have a hard time letting go of each stage. This manifests itself most clearly in my occasional bouts of day care angst. If I really analyze these bouts, it always comes down to day care thinks Pumpkin is ready for X, and I'm not ready for Pumpkin to be ready for X. Pumpkin, it turns out, is usually ready. It is just me who has difficulty moving on to the next stage.
Once I figured this out, my latest bout of day care angst evaporated. I had been feeling anxious about the fact that Pumpkin is having some aggressive episodes at day care. Sometimes she bites, something she learned how to do at day care, and so far, only does at day care. Sometimes she pushes or hits at another baby. The teachers aren't overly concerned- many of the babies have these episodes, usually because they don't really have the words to tell the other babies what they do and don't want, and the other babies wouldn't really understand them if they did. Anyway, the teachers work with the babies to learn how to "use your words". But sometimes, a baby has to go into time out. And that has been hard for me to adjust to. How can my little baby be old enough to have time out???? I was questioning my day care decision (again). But really.... Pumpkin is almost 17 months old, and definitely needs some sort of discipline to accompany aggressive actions. Toddlers of her age are notorious for tantrums and aggressive behavior- I read about this issue in some of the stay at home mommy blogs I read, too. Maybe Pumpkin learned how to bite earlier than she would have without day care, but I don't think day care is making her aggressive.
I was mostly over my angst by the time I got to day care to pick her up today, and what happened when I did get there pretty much finished off my angst. Pumpkin was still inside. They play outside in the mornings and afternoons, and are usually outside by the time I get there. Today, I was a little early and they were running a little late, so the class was inside reading stories with the teachers. As I got Pumpkin's bowls and bottles together, and admired the incredibly cute "scrapbook" they had given us with pictures from their recent picnic, the teachers were getting the other babies ready to go outside. Pumpkin saw this, and squirmed in my arms until I let her down. She ran over to the door, and took her place in line, saying "outside!" the entire time. The teacher opened the door, and the line of toddlers walked out to the gate to their play yard. They waited patiently by the gate until the teacher came and let them in. Then they all ran in to play. Pumpkin wouldn't come near me for at least five minutes, and even when she finally did let me come pick her up, she clearly wanted back down so she could play more. I managed to convince her to drop her toys so that we could go, and we left.
Time outs or no, this day care must be doing something right, because my baby, who is always so happy to see me and runs to give me a hug, didn't want to leave. Stay tuned. I'm sure I'll eventually have some angst about that. But for now, I'm just happy to know that Pumpkin is happy with how she spends her days.