For the past two nights, Z2 has fallen asleep at night without nursing. The first time, I thought it was because he was really tired since he hadn't taken a nap that day. He just sort of passed out. Last night, all I did was sing 2 or 3 rounds of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and he was out like a light. So, I think our nursing days are really winding down. I'm ambivalent about it though. On the one hand, I'm happy that I don't have to nurse him to sleep anymore. I can't imagine there is any milk left but he still needed the comfort and, I don't know, it was cozy and sweet to nurse him to sleep most of the time. Other times, I just wanted him to go to sleep already. The other part of me knows that this means that the baby days are drawing to a close and I'm not quite ready for that to happen yet. Especially since Z2 will most likely be my last baby, a fact that I have grudgingly accepted. I know there's still a chance that we might have another one since no permanent steps have been taken, but the hubby is really adamant about it with no budging in sight. And looking forward to taking those permanent steps.
So Z2's weaning, in conjunction with getting an extension to my teaching certificate for two years (I can't extend it again after this) also forces me to think about what I'm going to do next. I believe Z1 and Z2 still need me around most of the time so I'm trying to think of what I could do that would allow me that flexibility:
- Go back to school for my Ph.D.? Can I find a fellowship/scholarship? I refuse to take out any more loans for education and really, a fellowship or scholarship is the only acceptable way for me to go this route. I love teaching and just from teaching my crochet class in June, I know that I would really enjoy teaching adults. Plus I could write academically. I know being a professor would be a fulfilling experience and realized a few weeks ago that even when I wanted to be a doctor, I knew I didn't want to practice medicine forever: eventually, I wanted to teach doctors. I wanted a Ph.D. after my M.D. Interesting.
- Sell my Subaru Outback wagon and get a bigger car (like a Toyota Sienna AWD) so I could babysit two or three children? This would do two things: scratch my itch for more children and bring in some income. I could definitely homeschool with this arrangement. But just like I don't want an education debt, I don't want any debt from a car. The Subaru is paid off and has lots of life yet. How and where could I get a (relatively) new car without getting into debt?
- Focus on my writing and really push to get published. This is an ultimate goal in my life. Should I really just concentrate now? Can I concentrate now with the kids so young?
- Go back to teaching children? Now that I know so much more about how I would approach it, I am sure I would do better. But teaching in a traditional school setting just doesn't afford me the flexibility I need. But it's a wonderful career that I know could (potentially) be fulfilling.
So it really feels like I'm at a crossroad (though I think I have about two more years or so before I can jump into any option--I need Z2 to be at least 4) . . . just because my breastfeeding relationship with Z2 is coming to a close. I always tell people that breastfeeding is much more than providing nourishment for a baby. There is nothing quite like looking down at the angelic face of your baby and knowing that you are the one providing sustenance. Amazing. But for me, there has been much more to it. It's been a real test of character and perseverance. I wouldn't be facetious if I ascribed some spiritual attributes to it as well. The connection to Z1 and Z2 that I formed because of it . . . I can hardly describe. The connection to other breastfeeding mothers . . . beautiful. And now as my journey is ending, breastfeeding is what I will use to mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life . . . powerful