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Reading - I Mean, Nursing - Time

Since I’ve now nursed almost three
continuous years, stopping for a few brief glorious months while I
was pregnant with Cora and Maddie was weaned, I’ve got the
nursing thing down – no fumbling hands, no tired arms,
nothing. I can get into position in seconds – I’m
telling you, I’m a machine. I’ve got it down to a

And let me say before I go any further that Cora is, for all
intents and purposes, weaned: she’s only nursing a couple
times a day, all snuggle or sleep-related. She’s got the
early morning nursing, which usually (hopefully) gets her back to
sleep for another precious hour; she has a nursing at nap time; and
finally a nursing for bedtime. I settle in the chair, draw the
boppy around my waist, nestle Cora on my lap, and pick up my
library book. My routine’s a well-worn groove, and apparently
I’m not the only one who’s got it down cold.

It seems Cora’s on to me, and knows exactly what I do while
nursing, because she’s been a bit clingy and needy the past
few weeks and wanting to nurse for comfort. How do I know this, you
might ask?

She brings me my library book.

I kid you not, folks – that’s
how Cora says she wants to nurse. Sometimes she’ll walk to
her chair and snuggle on it and look at me, but that simply means
“snuggle” and will usually be followed with her picking
out a book of her own to read. No, when Cora wants to nurse –
and to partake of the dozing that comes with nursing –
she’ll say, “Mama, book!” before picking up my
book and handing it to me. Sometimes she’ll snuggle on my lap
before saying it, and I’ll deliberately misinterpret her and
pick up a book for her. “Mama, NO!” she’ll say,
as if disappointed in my slow-wittedness. Cora will sigh tiredly,
climb off my lap, and pick up my own book.

I’ve often wondered how my reading addiction – er,
habit – will affect my girls: will they turn out to be
bookworms as well? Will one of them rebel and scorn all things
literary? They seem to be heading in the former direction, but
it’s still too early to say. But since Cora cannily linked my
books with her napping, I wonder if there will be unintended side
effects. She never bats at the book as it hovers around her head,
for example, or looks annoyed as I shift to turn a page; I wonder
if she’ll grow up to, say, associate the sound of a plastic
library spine crinkling with sleepiness or satiety. I can picture
her thirty years from now, tossing restlessly in bed, when her
husband turns to her solicitously and enquires, “Darling,
having trouble sleeping? Want me to noisily read a book by your

Maybe that’s how I’ll wean Cora: shock therapy.
I’ll simply clear all the books off her footstool, and
she’ll realize that chuckwagon’s moved on. Although if
I do that, I’ll have to give up my guaranteed reading times
each day.

Maybe I’ll let her wean herself. What’s the rush?


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