Monday, September 30, 2013

Kid's language

We took a long ride to New Brunswick to attend the Táncház at St. Ladislaus School. 

Car rides are an unpleasant part of life. I'd rather not strap Beren into the car. Neither Jared nor I like the car too much either. Jared usually bites his fingernails. I usually ask him to slow down a bit even though he doesn't drive very fast and I prefer that he drive anyway.

We try to be creative about making the time pass. Otherwise, we're gritting our teeth as Beren complains from the backseat. Get this off, he shrieks as he tugs on the buckle across his chest.

He's bored, frustrated. I read books form the passenger seat. We comment on noisy vehicles, fast vehicles, and construction vehicles. There's often not much to see on the road other than vehicles.

On a recent drive we talked about bunnies living in thickets. As we approached a construction site, he asked, "What is that digger doing there?" "Making a mess," I replied. "Killing bunnies," I added under my breath. Cars and truck toys are part of life. Making conversation about them as we drive is a part of life.

I'm tired of vehicles in play, conversation, and reality.

December is approaching. Birthday, Chanukah, Christmas. It's a stack up. Please, no vehicles unless they are incredibly cool.


Here's how I got a very tired kid through the half hour car ride to a very fun birthday party without mentioning vehicles:

Beren says: I'm gonna beave it down. [As in, I am going to use my teeth like a beaver.]

I say: What about that mailbox?

Beren says: I'm gonna beave it down.

Me: Really?!

Beren: I'm gonna gnaw it!

Me: What about that fence? Etc.

Beren: I'm a baby duck.

Me: Quack! Where is the water?

Beren: I'm a skunk!

Me: Are you going to make skunk stink?

Beren: I'm going to make it stinky.

Me: You are? Stinky! Oh no! It's stinky in here.

Beren: I'm a stinky skunk.

Me: Roll down those windows, please. Etc.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Business and Busyness and Then Sleep and Night Weaning, or Wherever Tonight's Thoughts Take Me

I've hardly stopped to think lately. We've been so busy, and though Miss Manners says it ain't polite to say so, after all, everyone is busy she adds, we've been busy.

I have tried to make sure to turn from my tasks to look my husband in the eye. I have tried to take a couple extra moments for a longer hug or a hand on the arm or shoulder. It's not much, but it gets me to slow down.

I also try to look my son in the eye. Sometimes it feels as though I have many commands for him. We're so busy, there are so many things to do. This way, that way. Off to bed. Sit at the table. Please eat so you're not hungry later. I'm trying to be mindful and allow him his pace. To give him peace from his parents' business and busyness.

Last night I fell asleep in Beren's bed while putting him to sleep. Just like the old days. The infant days. Just like when I'd drift off with him on my lap while we listened to Leonard Lopate on WNYC's afternoon programming. He'd nurse and nap. I'd drift off, too. When I roused, he would, too. I'd be disappointed and refreshed. Ready for some awake solo time, but no luck, because baby and mother are in tune.

Jared murmured something to me. I heard him, but continued to sleep. Finally I woke. It's so dark I thought, could it be morning? I think he asked me to come to bed, but I couldn't move. I slept there until later in the evening or possibly longer. When I laid in bed, I heard Jared's breathing and wondered if I could fall asleep again. I did. Deeply, until 7:00 am, when Beren woke, nursed, and slept until 8:30.

Jared and I ate breakfast in the quiet. I love our quiet breakfasts together. I love that Beren sometimes sleeps through the night.

For so long, it was so hard. It's difficult to do without sleep. Memory loss, bad temper, hormones. For nursing mothers, we often hear the advice to wean, or to at least night wean, especially an older child.

While I was desperate to sleep, like most mothers are, this never made sense to me. Getting Beren back to sleep by nursing was so easy, and it didn't necessarily follow that it was nursing that made him wake.  

I feel somewhat lucky to be an older mother, I think I'm a little less stressed out than when I was in my twenties. Though I am flattened and thrown by other's advice or 'good intentions' (triple quotes around """"good"""" because sometimes I wonder what people are really thinking). I didn't really have a plan for nursing. I didn't really have a plan for mothering. We just did it.

Among mothers I know, sleep and nursing are frequent topics of discussion. Beren tells me my nummies are empty sometimes. He's right. I'm slowing down and so is he. Other times, he'll break the latch to tell me something, like he'd rather I sing the song about "animals" (Dock Watson, I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground). Or, he'd rather Jared read about "diggers" than the story Jared chose. This many sound like no big deal, but it's a shift.

One day will be the last day he'll nurse. For all the times I felt put upon or was tired of nursing, I'll really miss it. It's been an great experience for me. For Jared and for Beren. It's been great for our family.

I can hear Rhonda at La Leche saying her oft repeated mantra, paraphrased here... A child's need for mother in the early weeks, months, and years is intense, not the early days, but the early weeks, months, and years...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Excuse me, I burped

Working on the immune system in the storm drain

I heard two voices coming from our home office.

One was Jared's. He mused on the state of New Jersey's ecology into his iPod voice recorder. It was a paper-free and modern trick he learned from Steve Glenn, the former Manager of the New York Metropolitan Flora Project at Brooklyn Botanic Garden [Learn more about the petition to restore the Science Department to Brooklyn Botanic Garden here.].

The other was Beren's. "Excuse me, I burped," Beren said as he padded into the office.

I'd love to hear that voice recording one day.


And with that, I offer up a healthy kid. All systems normal except my nervous system is a bit more frayed than one week ago. What a whirlwind. I can hardly keep up.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Walking better

Running down the steps to the Great Meadow at Duke Farms

Last night Beren woke at 10:30 pm. He was impossible to put back to sleep until we gave him water. He gulped it. And, we gave him Annie's Cheddar Bunnies (the organic rip off of Pepperidge Farms Goldfish). He swallowed them by the handful. His eyelids were heavy. He shared three bunnies with me.

Finally, he went back to sleep. I 'slept' next to him.

The rest of the night he was wakeful, not from pain, but possibly from lack of daytime activity. He 'slept' until 5:10 am. At that time we repeated the water and bunnies routine, except he did not go back to sleep.

I watched Jared's prone body laying in our bed, knowing he was somewhere between awake and 'asleep'. We know that nursing is what puts Beren back to sleep. Exclusively. Nothing else. Not tremendous efforts on Jared's part, so long as I am around anyway. So, we silently agree that we can't take turns getting Beren back to sleep.

I said something like, "Jared, I need a break."

Our newborn months and teething weeks are long over, and I have long lost my edge in dealing with sleepless nights.

Jared said something like, "OK." And then something like, "Beren, let's go to the other side of the house." I heard them play, Beren's voice cut through the thin walls.

I fell back 'asleep' and dreamt bizarre dreams. Then, I woke up.

Beren still hobbled, his knee a hardball between skinny stalks of leg. I spoke to our care provider, and again, I decided to stay the herbal and homeopathy course. "Have you tried the castor oil pack?" she asks. "No, not yet. I thought it might be difficult." "Ok, it's just that if they need it, they typically accept it," she answered.

I thought of how Beren sometimes accepts and sometimes denies remedies. Often, he has a sense of what he needs. As parents, we balance our respect for our child's sensitivity and sensibility with ours, and our experience.

Are you comfortable with this?" she asked. "Yes, and should we need to go a different route, we will. We'll be ready," I replied. I was surprised at my confidence, despite feeling so tired I was occasionally dizzy.

You see, there's no certainty with the 'natural' route or 'medical' route. None. No guarantees that either will work. Each has its limits, each its benefits. There's the worry that I might be choosing wrong. Looking at my child, happy but hobbling, and no longer feverish, we're going the right way this time. Were he hobbling and listless, depressed and scared, I'd be looking up pediatric specialists, and wondering about our next move.

Jared and I agreed that he was getting better, but we worry. "I just don't want this to linger," he says.

We did another Epsom bath. We switch homeopathic remedies as Beren's symptom picture shifted. I did very inexperienced shiatsu on the knee area, exploring the joint with my fingers until Beren grimaced or swatted my hand away, no longer willing to be poked.

I warmed up the castor oil, which I had applied to an old diaper. Beren sat on Jared's lap and they scribbled in a US Fish and Wildlife coloring book that featured Mark Trail discussing controlled fire as a ecological tool.

I soured Beren on the castor oil immediately because the oil was too hot. "Ouch," he said moving away. I tried again, this time with stealth, no luck. Logic, after being burnt by Momma didn't work either. "This will make you feel better," we said.

I left the room to find another clean diaper and one of his stuffed animals, Puppy Dog (a black dog). When I returned, Jared was explaining drip torches to Beren as they colored in the fuel tank. "It's like the grill lighter," I added.

I wrapped a clean diaper around Puppy Dog's knee, and began a puppet show. "I DON'T LIKE THIS THING ON MY KNEE!" said Puppy Dog. "Oh please, Puppy Dog," I begged. "NO. NO NO NO NO!" replied the uncooperative dog. Beren giggled. I tossed the diaper. "GET THIS OILY DIAPER OUT OF HERE!" said Puppy Dog. Beren shook with laughter. Jared and I did, too. I continued for awhile, the three of us enjoying a loose moment.

"Oh, Puppy Dog, your knee hurts. It's making you sad. You can't play like you want to," I began to cry. Swallowing, I continued, "Oh, Puppy Dog, I think this will help your knee." "Oh, ok," replied Puppy Dog.

Jared carefully and easily placed the oil-soaked diaper on the most swollen part of Beren's knee. He began to draw a drip torch on the fraying cloth with an orange marker. "Ok, here's the fuel tank. Of course, you need the wand. Then, there's the flame..." I silently left the room. When the diaper cooled, Beren tossed it away. "All done," He said.

I washed his knee with soap and baking soda as one book described. Of course, I burned his foot again because the water was too hot. Two strikes, Momma.

My Mom again came over, this time so Jared and I could load up the trailer for a farmer's market on Saturday. They played with glee, in one spot, until Beren attempted to leap over his toy owl (which was a hand me down from me). "He's getting better, but needs to be reminded to go slow," I thought.

His mobility increased throughout the day, until he tired at the end of the day. His cheer was without end, mostly. Just before dinner, I convinced him to get in his stroller. We stopped in the garden and gathered catnip and oats for a bath. He wanted to walk through the oats, but instead fell down and whimpered.

In the tub, he drank the bathwater, as I hoped he would. His plastic animal figurines and leftovers containers swirled around with a clump of herbs that would soak into and soothe his body and mind.

He sat nicely for a delicious dinner of ribs, broccoli, corn, rice, okra, and onions. Puzzles, storytime, nursing, and then to sleep.

I hope this is sleep and not 'sleep'. I really need sleep, kiddo. You do, too. So does Papa. Keep feeling better. I'll see you running in my dreams tonight.

More thanks... all family and friends for well wishes. Mom for more hours of loving attention to her grandson. Our buddy Debbie for snacks and her daughter for the loan of a couple fresh toys to play with. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sick Kid

Joe Pye and Willow in the Catskills

Yesterday I had planned to go to work early and meet volunteers who wanted to help plant a meadow.

At around 10:30 p.m. the night before Beren awoke, crying. He woke every fifteen minutes until about 3:15 a.m. We tried asking, "What hurts?" but he was not able to answer. We tried a couple herbal teas, thinking perhaps his stomach was upset.

We suspected something about his legs bothered him. He had awoken the two mornings previous with a slight limp that went away by breakfast. Still, nothing seemed to explain his crying.

I gave him Aconitum 30c three times, which eased his pitiful cries. After the second dose, I rubbed his feet and legs, "Not that one," he was able to say.

At 3:15, I lay down on the hard floor in the office and covered myself with my bathrobe. I listened to Jared take a turn with Beren, telling him a story that made him laugh. After a half hour, his laughter turned to agitation, and I tried to nurse him back to sleep, again.

At around dawn, Beren feel asleep. Jared and I talked quietly, worried. "When Beren wakes, let him walk to you. Let's see if he has the limp still," Jared said. An hour later, my mother knocked on the door, ready to watch Beren as we went to work. "Beren's not well," I told her.

When he did wake, he was not able to walk. Jared supported him, and his right leg dangled beneath him. I scheduled an afternoon appointment with our care provider, who is a nurse practitioner, herbalist, and homeopath. I asked my mom to stay. Jared worked from home. I called out of work.

Beren was surprisingly cheerful. We played. He often said, "I'm moving," and looked the direction he wanted to go. My mom or I placed him wherever he wanted to be. One of our laps was the most comfortable place for him to be, allowing his leg to hang freely.

At the appointment, we described the symptoms - Fever, swollen knee and thigh, heat in the leg. Our care providers first line of inquiry was if we had been around anyone recently who was ill. No. Any injuries? No. Her first suggestion was that this was a virus that settled in a joint. Beren's growth had been rapid lately, so his joints were vulnerable. She had seen this before, this odd settling, much more uncommon than a settling in the ear, throat, or other common spot. "And because of where we are, we have to think of Lyme..."

We tried a homeopathic remedy, Aconitum 200, in her office. We noticed improvement and left with our notes that described the treatments - homeopathy (Belladona 200), Epsom bath, castor oil pack, willow tea, no foods from the Solanaceae family, and watch closely. We left feeling optimistic, though we had discussed Lyme.

Slowly, Beren improved, but did not walk. Mostly, he sat or laid down. Still, he hardly complained, except some small things threw him off. Just before bed, we went outside and Beren played "steamroller" - he rolled into me and Jared. Jared and I looked at each - I think he's getting better.

Today, he woke and could sit up. I called our care provider, who had called an area physician. "They should go to St. Peter's and have it aspirated to see what is in the fluid in the knee," he had told her. My chest tightened. "You can do that, or you can watch and wait. Discuss it with Jared. Call me with any questions," she said. "No, going to St. Peter's doesn't feel right. I'll talk to Jared, but I think we'll watch."

Later in the afternoon, he began to crawl. Then, he began to hobble a few feet like an old man. By bedtime, he could limp through our small house and move around on the floor. Through the day he sipped on bitter willow tea. He actually requested it, despite its not so toddler-friendly flavor. I gave him his homeopathic remedy one more time. We applied tincture of boneset to his knee, Jared's idea.

I was exhausted from carrying Beren around and watching my active son, sitting or reclining for much of the past two days. I couldn't leave his side, because when I did, he would hobble to find me. His big, knobby swollen knee crooked beneath him. It's hard to complain - he was so cheerful and playful. His good cheer also let me know we were on the mend.

I think tomorrow will be even better. I'm thankful to Pat Chichon, APN of the Chrysalis Center. To Colleen of North Slope Farm for the willow. To my Mom, who made the hours pass more quickly with  her good company. To my husband, who is deeply involved with his son. To my son, who I thought I might name Asa, which means "Healer." He trusts the plants as we do.

We are thankful to the plants, always, always. They are always ready to help, to heal. We just need to listen to them, use them, and care for them as they care for us.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Acting Like a Two Year Old: The Rights of Children

Big boy at his one year birthday party. Now he's approaching three and leaving babyhood behind, not by his parents' hand alone, but through his own process.

Acting Like a Two Year Old: The Rights of Children. The the title of my never to be published or written sociology treatise.

Before I became a wife, and later, a mother, I'd often call individuals "childish".

"You're acting like a child," I might say scornfully.

Or, "He's acting like such a two year old," a girl friend might say as we mourned the downgrading of a 'boyfriend' to 'loser' status.

"Don't be a baby!"

These phrases are so common in our speech. I wonder how the children who run freely, and so much less than freely, below our eye level, feel about such things. Adults talk like this in front of children as though children can't hear.

Certainly most children are riveted to what adults say, so long as they are saying something interesting. "Pick up your toys." "Go to bed." "Come with me." Not interesting. "He's acting like a child." Interesting.

Adults act like children can't hear us. Adults use the word "child" as though it is a slur. How strange that we despise the little beings we work so hard to love, guide, and care for.

We lament how quickly they grow, but then cut them down with the very word. The very word that they are. Child.

Somewhere between 18 months and 2 years, Beren sat at the table 'misbehaving'. I don't remember exactly what he was doing, but I said, "That's what babies do. You are becoming a big boy now."

Let's take that apart:
Babies are stupid and incapable.
You were just a baby, so you were stupid and incapable.
Anytime you feel little and needy, you once again become stupid and incapable.
I am rushing you out of childhood.

This came at a time when Beren chafed at spending time with a friend's child, who was much younger than Beren. I was disappointed that it was so difficult. I realized that I wasn't helping the situation.

Jared and I agreed to not use 'child' or 'baby' as an insult. We also agreed that we wouldn't differentiate between babies and children as leverage, as in "Big boys do ______", and if you don't then you are not a "big boy."

I imagine myself in a room. I am four feet shorter than everyone else. Three people are discussing me directly over my head. What I did that day. The sweet things I did. The annoying things I did.  "She was such a two year old today!" I feel pretty small as the conversation goes on.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Rough Deal(ership)

Picking phragmites at the dealership

Beren and I took one for the team. While Jared worked, Beren and I spent a couple of Fridays ago at the dealership. It was supposed to be a $19.95 oil change and a recall. We subbed the recall for a rear brake change and came out a bit poorer. I felt a bit put on the spot, but I went for it. My cell temporarily blinked out when I left Beren's water bottle open in my bag, so I couldn't call Jared for back up.

Sitting on the floor of the carpeted playroom of the dealership (I'm thankful that children get a waiting room, too, but it wasn't that much fun anyway), the technician loomed over me, friendly. "OK, how long will it take?"

We left a couple hours later very ready for lunch.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A party nine years ago

And after our wedding and honeymoon, we returned to our tiny apartment in Queens

Yesterday morning I watched with curiosity and a touch of concern as Jared scowled and furrowed his eyebrows. His mouth worked as though he was thinking hard and about to say something, but he didn't. Finally, I asked, "What?"

"It's our anniversary today," he answered.

"Oh. Oh. Oh, yeah," I replied.

Nine years ago the former mayor and then deputy mayor of Holland Township married us in my parent's front lawn. One of Jared's sisters played flute. Two of Jared's friends were best men, and my cousin and a friend were my maids. A longtime friend was our photographer.

My father walked me out the front door and down the lawn to the small crowd of guests. Jared waited for me in a pair of black slacks and a western style shirt with red embroidered flowers.

I wore a 1940s era rayon nightgown that I bought in a vintage shop near the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. I was on my lunch break from Barnes & Noble. I had desperately canvased the city looking for a dress and had had numerous tearful episodes over the ordeal.

When went into the fitting room, I slipped on the antique white nightgown, I knew it was the one. Just over $100, it was exactly right. The sleeves just covered the tops of my shoulders, a dash of lash across the neckline, an empire waist, and from there, a straight line down to my toes. The dress was made for me.

I bought the dress, and the gay shop owner carefully folded into a brown paper bag. He assured me that the light odor of mothballs would fade. "Just take out of storage. Just arrived in my shop," he said. The smell near did totally go away.

Our vows were brief as we edited out most of the lines we didn't like. My self-penned vows were "I love you," as I couldn't cough out more without crying.

Jared's iPod was our deejay. Santo and Johnny's Sleepwalk was our song. My father and I danced to And I Love Her by the Beatles. Hours later, our drunk friends and relations lifted me up in chair while Hava Nagila by the wild and fun Serbian brass band, Boban Marković Orkestar, played. Jared was lifted also. I looked down to see my brother and cousin flinching under my weight.

I hardly ate or drank. Neither did Jared. We just danced. Our family and friends ate, drank, and danced for hours, there was no closing time. A couple volunteer firemen came by to check out reports of "smoke". One wore a floor length yellow raincoat with ??? underneath. The other was shirtless except for a short rainjacket and suspenders and pants. 

One day I hope to have another party as fun as the one I attended nine years and one day ago.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kathleen Hanna and about half of the people I care about have or have had Lyme disease

We've each picked up ticks from the garden and even the lawn.

All I can say is, "That stinks."

Here's a disease that affects those who love the outdoors, and even some that don't. It hardly seems fair. 

The fears and reality of allergies, poison ivy and mud keeps many people inside. Then there's Rocky Mountain spotted fever, the very first tickborne disease I ever heard of, and Lyme. Nine more tickborne diseases are listed on CDC's website. The message: Going outside can maim or kill you. So can allowing your pets to go outside and then come back in. 

The nursery also has ticks. Interestingly, we often find them by the half dozen on the white soil bags. Are they attracted to the white color or is it that they are easier to see? They really do seem to like other white items we leave outside.

Jared, Beren, and I have all been bitten by ticks. Jared and I, many times. Many times. We do several things about ticks, the primary is we check for ticks every day, even on warm winter days because we've seen ticks in January. 

It's a drag and hardly sexy to examine each others nooks under the glare of three bathroom lights. Half the time we notice the shiny black pinpoint-sized tick, the other half we notice the eraser-sized red spot on the skin that says, "This flesh is irritated." 

We'll say, "Oh sh*t. Again?" And then we get the tweezers and various remedies. I try to clear my mind before extracting a tick, and most of the time, we get them out.

Knock on wood - hardwood, soft wood, ironwood, bass wood, shelter wood, sap wood, heart wood, plywood, Kingwood, Ringwood - we've never gotten ill from a tick bite. 

Here's a list of people who come to mind that have had Lyme. Some of them continue to suffer. Two artists, one woodworker, one forester, one hunter, one scholar, one knitter, one engineer, one garden club member, two land trust employees (at least), one health care provider, one dog... Probably more, I just can't think of everyone. I hope you all are feeling better.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Miley Cyrus and Breastfeeding

Get me out of this box.

I generally ignore the poster-like images with (inspirational, thought-provoking, angering, cute, funny, sweet) text that flow into my Facebook timeline via my Facebook Friends. I briefly wonder who spent the time at their computer utilizing a graphics program to 'touch the lives' of somewhere between 56 and 84,297 people (and Facebook robots), or more.

But, there's a pairing of photos that are circulating through Facebook the past couple days (hours) that got me thinking, and then Jared and me talking while we cleaned up the kitchen:

Imagine Miley Cyrus in a nude-colored bra and underwear-like outfit and some guy (you probably know who he is, but I haven't investigated that yet) wearing a black and white striped suit. Her rear is in the air and her tongue is out, while the man in stripes sidles up to her rear end.

The image is noisy, to me, a person who does not have a television. [I do interface with the celebrity world every Thursday evening while checking out at the Flemington Shop-Rite.] The image is tacky and silly. It also reminds me of Philadelphia. When we lived in Philly, back in 2002, burlesque was trendy. Many of the burlesque performers had tattoos and wore outfits like Miley Cyrus', but their outfits were black. They also often had silky, shoulder length hair like Betty Paige, unlike Miley Cyrus.

In the Facebook posting, next to the photo of Miley Cyrus and Mr. Stripes is a photo of a woman in a blue bra, holding her breast up to her nursing infant. The mother looks peaceful. Her silky hair is natural and upswept. Her look is mild. She gazes at her baby.

The point of the Facebook juxtaposition is that Miley Cyrus' image/performance is allowed on TV, but the mother's image/performance is not.

Nipples, apparently, are not ok. Ask the guy who told me to "put on a bra" as he walked with his girlfriend down Market Street in Philly one afternoon. Jared and I asked him not to look at my chest. But then again, anyone with protruding nipples in America will be stared at.

Look, I'm not going to dig through what's ok for network TV and what's not. I don't know what the guiding rules are for network TV. Last time I watched TV and saw nudity was when NYPD Blue was pushing the boundaries, and I saw Dennis Franz's rear end quartering away from the camera as he was about to have sex. It's been awhile since I watched TV, I bet much has changed, or not. So, I won't discuss legal issues.

However, here are a couple thoughts:

1. Americans are pretty uptight about sexuality.
2. Americans are pretty uptight about breastfeeding.

Women don't really 'win' or 'lose' in either photo nor in juxtaposing the 'whore' and the 'mother'. I've been in both places, not performing for millions at a music awards show, but you know what I mean. I've felt and dressed and acted sassy, slutty, and silly. I've felt and dressed loving, gentle, and quiet. I've also been in between. Can't women do it all? Maybe not all the time, maybe not ever, but does it have to be one or the other only? When will we burst out of the boxes we are limited by?

I came home from work today, dirty and soaking wet. Beren hardly cared that my shirt smelled like a sour rag. "I want nummies," he told me.

I put my lunch box and backpack on the floor. I kicked off my Muck boots in the doorway and pulled off my ragged, wet pants and socks. I lifted my shirt over my head, and said "I don't want to nurse wearing this stinky shirt with ticks and poison ivy all over it." I'm left wearing just my underwear, Jockey bikinis, probably a stocking stuffer from my Mom. Jared puttered in the adjacent room.

Upon seeing my breasts, Beren became giddy. "Maybe I can wash my hands first, Bub? Go meet me in the big blue chair. We'll nurse soon."

After washing my hands, Beren and I cuddled in our nursing spot - a trash picked armchair. Me in my underwear with my little boy on my lap. Not Miley Cyrus, not Madonna and child. Just us.