She wakes up in her own room, where she gladly goes to bed at night. Her own "big girl room", her space. Hers. Sometimes she can't open her own door, and will cry about it. But she is such a big girl lately.
Until she's not.
And she comes to me, whether I am holding Baby Abby or not, and asks "Can I has nuh-nees?" her big brown eyes filled with a sort of sadness. Sometimes I say yes, sometimes I tell her she needs to wait because she is a big girl who can understand.
This morning Abby was sleeping and I was just sitting in the chair with my computer and cup of coffee in hand. Natalie had trouble opening her door, so I got up and opened it. She followed me to the chair and asked for nuh-nees. I said yes, scooping her huge 2 and almost a half year old body into my lap. In cradle hold, like a little baby, her legs hanging over the arm of the chair. She nursed, happily for a long time as I held her.
Sometimes I nurse them together. Natalie will lay on one side and Abby cradled across her. In a sweet mother embrace. Natalie's hand reaches across and gently strokes Baby Abby's bunny soft head. In those moments I am content, happy that Natalie "un-weaned" 2 weeks ago.
You see, she had stopped asking to nurse in May. Maybe my milk had changed to colostrum, in preparation for Baby Abby, and tasted yucky to her. Maybe she thought she was a big girl, sleeping in her big sister's room and all. But then, Abby came. She asked for nuh-nees once, the day before my milk came in. She latched on for a moment and went off happily.
7 weeks later, she started feeling jealous of Abby. She started calling herself a baby and wanting me to treat her like a baby. But I tried making being a big girl awesome for her. We made her a space all her own. Which really helped her sleep. I gave up on pushing her to potty train (why I have to relearn this lesson with each child, I have no idea!) And I let her "try" to nurse. But she latched on and came away with a face that said "wow, that was awesome" and she started to ask often.
I was sad when she weaned in May. I was sad that I wouldn't get to tandem nurse them. But I was also (at the time) worn out from nursing her and being pregnant. When Abby came we needed time to learn to nurse together, as each nursling is different. And when it was well established- that was when Natalie asked again. And it is ok with me.
Though I feel like I need to hide while I nurse them both. The first few times it was not nice, it felt like an overload of sensations and I wanted to put them both down. I only let Natalie nurse for a minute. The next time it was the same. But then it wasn't. Then it wasn't a big deal at all.
I wanted her to continue to nurse when I was pregnant, because I hoped it would help her feel less jealous of Abby. I really think it does. She never tells me to "Put Baby Abby down and howd me" anymore. She usually just climbs next to us and holds Abby 's hand. I wonder if these moments will be something she'll remember and keep with her. A time when she was a baby and a big girl all at once.