Tuesday, April 04, 2006

SF Art and Weaning.

Hazel, Iris and I went to the City Gallery today. We saw Patricia Piccanini's In Another Life. We liked it; I just like science-fiction as a way of exploring ideas, and the children enjoyed the creatures and saw nothing monstrous, or even surprising, in their nigh-humanity. I think all animals are anthropomorphic to them. They were very good about not touching but did want to know what they would feel like if we could touch them, which is an interesting question, do they feel like dead animals, soft toys, or hard sculptures? "I bet the fur feels furry" was all I could commit to.

Hazel and Iris enjoyed all the animals and people, the trucks and cycle pups didn't grab their fancy although Iris loved the wheel. Their clear favourite was "Young Family" below. They identified with the characters, they liked the prehensile toes, the mother's tiny tail and the baby playing with its toes. They worried a little about the baby under the two feeding babies, thinking it might be feeling squashed but Hazel comforted Iris with the thought that the babies look light and so it might just be feeling sleepy, cuddled up with its sisters.

Iris, who is nearly two and a quarter, had not had a breastfeed for over a week; she has definitely embarked on the last stage of the weaning process. But she found the art inspiring and tonight at bedtime asked to
"I have a breastfeed like little babies' family, we saw them on their couch, please?" So we did.

It's interesting to discover that I'm still producing when it's so intermittent. When Hazel weaned down to once every week or two Iris was only just starting solids. I was feeling very tired of tandem feeding when Hazel told me
"I am not weaned, I will have three more breastfeeds and then I will be weaned." She hasn't claimed any of them.

La Leche League's Mothering Your Nursing Toddler or some such book suggests "Don't Ask, Don't Refuse" as a guideline for a gentle child-paced weaning and I used it for Hazel fairly consistently. Breastfeeding isn't as central to Iris's world, never has been, and now I'm less concerned about seeming a bit impolite because there's no baby getting breastfed to envy.

I do occasionally ask Iris when it seems like a good idea, and I have been known to refuse ("Mum! I want a breastfeed!" "Oh, Iris, I don't want to do that at the moment.") I definitely have a policy of needing to be asked politely and getting slack about remembering. Iris has to not only ask but also follow-up. She seems to care more that she may than that she does. She says that she'd like a breastfeed much more often than she actually organises getting one.
"Yes, after this book," or "Yes, in a minute after I've put these toys away," I say, and she doesn't ask again and we don't get around to it.


Blogger Cate said...

This was a lovely post, Susan! I can see why "Young Family" was a clear favorite--such an interesting, touching piece. And I love how it incited a breastfeed when you arrived home. I'd never heard of child-paced weaning but I like the concept. Thanks!

11:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home