May 12, 2010

Turning into my (grand) mother

They say that a woman's worst nightmare is to turn into her mother. Well, I am not sure whether it better or worse (not that I think it would be such a bad thing to be like my mother anyway,  bar the fact she prefers playing tennis to going running. Oh well), but I think I am about to turn into my grand mother.

The doubt had been creeping in my head since I became a mum 8 months and a half months ago, but I got official confirmation this week.

This week will be remembered as The Week When Malo Who Was In No Rush Of Having His First Tooth Suddenly Decided To Get Two In One Go. Concomitantly, he straight out refused to eat both his 4pm and his evening meal two days in a row, and did not do much better the third one. This coming from a baby who has always eaten liek there is no tomorrow and is so round that, when seeing Martin, Malo and I together, people think we either adopted, or stole the little devil, because there is no way the two of us could have produced such a plump little one.

Obviously, as mums do (especially when they double up with being congenitally worried), I freaked out. Immediately a picture of Petite Boule so skinny that he would need to be renamed, built up in my mind. Nothing would deter me from feeling devastated at the sight of my son refusing to eat. Not Martin reminding me Malo had two little hams in place of legs and could handle two days with only 2 meals.  Not my own mum saying that, obviously, his teeth were bothering him and surely things would shortly get back in order (and reminding me she spent all my childhood trying to convince me eating is not overrated).

This not eating episode also brought back memories of the only day, when Malo was only 2 month old, where I briefly thought I had not enough milk to breastfeed him properly. At the time tough, a call to  My Hero (ie the wonderful midwife who listened to, and assisted me with the list of my worries and failures as a mum in the first weeks post partum) sorted everything out: this was normal, I should not worry, nurse my baby as often as necessary to stimulate lactation, and things would quickly get back to normal, which they did.

This time tough, things are different. I don't have the comfort of telling me milk will soon be back in stock, or that, if worse come to worst, I can always bottle feed him, since he does not want to eat.

And here comes my grand mother. Mamie, my grand mother, comes from a generation for which being fed properly was not always a given. She lived in poor Brittany with 9 siblings and her Dad a sailor cruising the oecean to bring back home a tiny amount of money. A young adult, she experienced the war, food shortage and vouchers. She then worked hard to provide for her two daughters. Putting good food on the table was a matter of pride. And love.

As kids, spending the holiday with her, we would be treated to pancakes, cakes, French fries, or whatever else she knew we kids loved. The more butter involved in preparing those treats, the better. Growing into a weight conscious teenager, I became fussy and was asking for my vegs steamed, and she would reply that "vegs without a bit of butter, are tasteless, just like water". I guess the main problem was that, to this day, we have a very different opinion on which quantity of butter is involved when talking about "a bit". 

Unlike Mamie, food does not have a huge importance in my life. I like eating, and, as an athlete, care about eating healthily (oh, and before you ask, I'll justify my huge daily chocolate allowance by that fact that I seem to lack magnesium these days). But the only time when I made an effort trying to come up with fancy receipes was when Martin and I started seeing each other and I felt the need to impress.  This stopped as soon as we both felt we had found "the one", which was about three days after our first meeting.

But it looks that this may have changed with Malo's arrival in my life. In the very few weeks he did not sleep through the night, I enjoyed waking up, taking him against me to nurse him, and feeling him fall asleep a moment leter, satiated and content (granted, 6 weeks after he was born, I also enjoy immensly not having to wake up at night any longer, and have not been looking back since then).

I breastfed until a few days ago,  because I liked so much the sensation and because it was such a great feeling to think he  was growing thanks to what my body produced for him. This coming from somebody who, two days after she gave birth, thought she would only nurse for a couple of months because she felt she should, and was telling her husband she did not want to feel like a "milking cow" for too long.

I also worry if he seems not to be eating as much as he normally does. I am pleased to tell people he is such a great eater, and bore anybody who cares to listen about how many pieces of vegetables went into his purée.

And now that he is weaned and eating "real" food, I actually enjoy preparing his daily meals, and before you ask, no, I am not talking about putting formula milk in a bottle. I am talking  carefully selecting organic vegetables, trying to offer a different mix each day, caring about him discovering new tastes. I even bought and cooked fennel for the first time in my life, for crying out loud. Granted, I stole the idea of the receipe for a young mum friend of mine, but still, buying fennel for the first time in my 36 years on this planete, doesn't that say something about how much I care? How much I love him?

 Satiated and content...

Because that was it is about.  Love. Showing it with cuddles, kisses, shared laughs, time together, sharing daily runs. And food. Why, I can't really explain. And probably neither could my grand mother.


sea legs girl said...

Oh, that is just so cute. You know, I really doubt you will have to rename le Petit Boule :). Wonderful story about your grandmother.

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Cécile said...