Finally did it. Last night. After weeks of talking about it and waiting for Harlan to get home and waiting for Aidan to adjust to Harlan being home. We finally went for it. And, as expected, it was hell.
At bedtime, I broke the news to him. First read all his books with a good-night theme: Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Gorilla, Goodnight Los Angeles. He was uninterested, except in all the cars on the freeway page of Goodnight LA. He made me show him that page 100 times. We said good night to all his animals, tucked them into their bed and began to nurse. For about three seconds before boo was off bouncing again, wanting to play with the phone, arrange his shoes, the usual. So, I put him in the crib, he sulked for a minute, grabbed grumbling for the boob and we settled in.
I told him that we weren’t gonna have milk at night anymore. He stopped sucking for a minute, stared into space, made a small, mewling sound, then took up drinking again. I felt like it registered. When I put him into his crib, he seemed okay, but then minutes after I’d come up front, he was screaming. I nursed him a bit more. Minutes later, again hysteria. Harlan comforted him this time. Again. The third time I went. His hair was wet, sticking to his pink, tear-stained face. I held him, nursed him, rocked him, sang to him, apologized repeatedly, until he finally slept over an hour after I’d initially put him down. He definitely got it.
Harlan went to bed about 9:00. I joined him at 9:30. I couldn’t sleep at all. When boo cried for the first time at 11:15, I was still wide awake, wrestling with the covers, cursing the heat. Harlan went in. When boo saw him he howled—it’s always been me, me and the boob—and began crying “Mamaaaa” repeatedly. He cried for about twenty minutes. Harlan left him to cry himself to sleep after about 15. I asked him to please stay longer with him next time. I didn’t want him to feel abandoned. He woke up again at about 3. Same thing. About 20 minutes of crying, “mamaaa!”, torture for me. I sat there, I lay there, flung myself across my bed, my heart going madly, wanting so badly to respond to his cries. I thought, “I’m not ready for this.” I wanted to go in and tell Harlan to try again tomorrow, tell boo I’d nurse him till he’s 18 if he wants, I just can’t handle this. But I restrained myself. And boo eventually got back to sleep. Harlan came to bed and held his hand over my heart, silently calming me.
Boo started up again about 15 minutes later and again Harlan comforted him while I fretted alone. I barely slept at all, just dozed on and off, waiting for morning to come so I could go to him.
He woke up at 6:04. I ran in there, hoping to see his wide grin shining up at me. Instead a worried, sad face greeted me. He pulled himself up to standing, reached out to me. I pulled him into my arms. I missed you baby, I missed you so much. He nursed like he’d been stranded in the desert for weeks, sucking with strength and determination. But after about 10 minutes, he was reassured and sated. And he was off, calling out for daddy, crawling off the bed, grinning his scoundrel’s grin as he knocked the phone off its cradle, throwing his toys, his shoes, his mom’s things, one at a time, into the tub.