I haven't been blogging for a while. We were going through a rough patch. I am going to share bits and pieces of our experience.
Shortly after Christmas Lydia was told by a family member that she is too big to nurse and needed to stop. I was not in the room to intercede and let Lydia know this was NOT the case. That night, while I was still unaware of the comment, she began telling me she was too old to nurse. I have not offered unless she was I'll for two years, so it was odd that she was sharing this information so randomly. She seemed bothered by it and I let her know if she felt like stopping she could, but if she wanted to nurse that was okay as well.
This continued for the rest of the day and well into the next. She fell and got hurt. This is often when she wants to nurse. She began crying that nursing would feel better but she couldn't because she was too big. This is when I asked why she thought that. She told me what had been said and who told her. We had a talk about how mommy decided to let her choose the end of our nursing, no one else. If Lydia wants to nurse, Lydia can nurse.
For a couple more days, she continued the same interest in nursing but refusal to nurse and repeating "I'm too big." don and I could tell she was really NOT ready and this wasn't self weaning. I offered some and reinforced that she was in charge of weaning.
Finally, she resumed her breastfeeding, but with such a ferocity, I was exhausted. She was throwing fits when I asked her to wait or stop so I could tend to the baby. She seemed to feel as if she lost trust in us after she lost trust and security in the nursing relationship. We decided it was best for me to nurse her on demand for a while until she was emotionally more stable. She nursed for three days with only short breaks.
I was exhausted, so I began trying to reintroduce limits. She started throwing fits that lasted hours, she was having nightmares that we were trying to hurt her and waking afraid of us. We were concerned enough that if it didn't end soon, we were seeking behavioral counseling. Our happy, silly, easy to discipline child had turned into someone completely different. She was crying, screaming, violent, and fearful.
I wrestled with some dark feelings of frustration and desperation that led me to yell, spank, and punish. I hadn't seen the link between the comment made and the behavior we were seeing. Once I did, and once I prayed my way through the dark feelings I was having, I began to seek help. I contacted a good friend for prayer. She suggested we teach Lydia to tell her nightmares and the monsters that she loves Jesus and they can't hurt her. This worked.
Another friend gave me a quote about love. Since I don't know the original source, I'm not going to share it at this time. It talked about how love conquers.
We began meeting tantrums with more love and support then dealing with the issue that caused it after. This has been extraordinarily effective.
I will share some of the things God has been working on in me with gentle discipline and specific techniques we are finding that work later in the week. I was awed at the way that one person who we see only a few times a year impacted my child. One ignorant, uneducated comment made over a month ago has done damage that I am still trying to reverse.