I had blithely assumed I’d breastfeed for at least a year, and probably longer. It was a struggle at first, but I had great support, loads of information, and I finally made it to a point where I was able to thoroughly enjoy the sleepy, snuggly, hormone-drenched lovefest it became around eight weeks or so.
I look at my daughter’s hands while she’s nursing. Her palmar grasp reflex is mostly gone now, but she’ll still make a conscious decision to wrap her pudgy little fingers around my index finger every once in a while. Sometimes she’ll push my finger away instead, or pet it like a cat. Her fingers are getting chubby, and they’re getting much better at doing what she asks them to do. She folds and unfolds them like an adorable miniature silent movie villain and then presses the back of one hand to her brow like the same film’s damsel in distress. She can wrap her hands around things, wave them around, bang them on surfaces, and stick them in her mouth (my mouth, the dog’s mouth…).
She likes to reach out and grab my face, snatching at my cheeks and lips. Ripping off my glasses is a new favorite game. Sometimes it kind of hurts – her nails are razor sharp and grow faster than I can cut them. I hate cutting her nails. I slipped once early in her life. There was blood. She cried in pain, and out of the thousands of times I’ve heard my daughter cry, that was the one that was truly intolerable. It spooked me, and now I put off her manicures until tiny little scratches start appearing on her cheeks. It’s getting easier now that her fingers are bigger.
My cat died yesterday.
More specifically, I had my cat’s life ended for her yesterday. I slept in the guest room the night before last where I’d been camped out for baby duty, and a thump woke me up at 2:00 am. My little orange cat Ipso had tried to jump up on the bed and had missed. Then I watched her try to walk to her litter box and she fell over. This checked a box in the worst decision making tree I’ve ever had to design.
Ipso was diagnosed with kidney failure three and a half years ago. At the time, we were told she had weeks to months. That turned out to be years – three good years, where she felt fine and acted like herself. But she had been fading for the past few weeks, and I’d been trying hard to pretend like it wasn’t happening.
I picked her up and brought her into bed with me. She stretched her chin out over my wrist and started purring while I scratched her head. We talked about it. I made the decision. She curled up next to me and I stayed up with her for the rest of the night.
I woke Chris up and told him I thought we needed to let Ipso go. He called a local mobile vet, who wouldn’t be able to get to our house until noon or so. Ipso hated going to the stationary vet’s office and I couldn’t stand the thought of her last moments being in a place that caused her so much fear and stress. So we waited.