When Joy was about 2 ½ she was looking at her naked little self in the mirror and she pointed to her chest and said, “Mommy what are these?” She caught me completely off guard. I hadn’t prepared myself for how I was going to answer these “human anatomy” questions. So, in that split second, I had to make a decision. And I decided that I was going to give her the correct word for “them” and I told her, “They are called breasts.” And in her sweet, little 2 ½ year old voice she said, “Mommy, I have ‘brits’ just like you.” I almost (stupidly) corrected her, but then I decided that her mispronunciation could possibly save me some embarrassment in the future, and so I let ‘brits’ stand.
Fast forward to a few months later when Marlo was born and I brought her home from the hospital: I sat down on the couch and began nursing her. Joy looked over at me, totally alarmed, and said, “Why are you letting that baby bite your brits?” (That baby? --like Marlo wasn’t our new baby, the one we had been waiting for for 9 months!) I had to explain nursing to Joy, who was a little indignant, but totally interested. And so the fascination with brits began.
Suddenly, all of her play incorporated brits. We would be sitting there, Joy playing with her dolls, and out of the blue she’d pull her shirt up, put her baby to her chest, and say, “Bite it, baby!” Or I would look over and the doll would be under her shirt, she’d be tapping her foot impatiently, looking up to the sky, and then she’d tell me, one mother to another, “I have to feed my babies my brits, all the time!” This went on for weeks. (Luckily for her, she didn’t have any problems with the babies latching on or with her milk production—if she had she would have been in BIG trouble. She has a lot of babies!)
Finally it dawned on her one day—why was Marlo the only one who got to eat from my brits? So she started asking, “Mommy, can I try your brits?” And I have read the books and the websites and I know that the experts say you can let your toddler try nursing if they ask. I, however, am not one of those moms who is comfortable with that so I explained to her that when she was a baby she “ate my brits” too (for 19 months, in fact!). And that apparently appeased her.
Then Joy’s curiosity branched out…and the questions started up again. “Does that baby (Marlo again) eat Daddy’s brits, too?” “Do brits have different flavors?” “How come she only eats your brits?” “Do your brits ever run out of milk?”
One day we went in to the office. Marlo was getting fussy and a woman remarked that maybe she was hungry. Joy was sitting at Hubs’ desk. She stood up on the chair, put her palms on the desk, and said in her loudest, clearest voice, “Yeah, she’s hungry—that baby eats Mom’s brits!” (So much for not being embarrassed by Joy’s obsession with breasts!)
Marlo is now 16 months old. She only nurses once a day—the last feeding of the day, right before bed. I think it’s more of a security/comfort thing for her than anything else. One of these days she’ll just quietly let go and move on to nursing-free toddler-hood. And though I’ll be ready for it, it will be an end of an era…no more biting of the brits, no more babies in the house.
We move on, we grow, we change, we evolve. Joy will learn that brits are breasts. Marlo will go to sleep without nursing. My body will be my own again. And (sadly) the ‘brit-ish invasion will be a thing of the past…
Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.