I rub my hand across her cheek, push her hair out of her eyes, hold her toes in my hand, and gently rub her back. She's gotten so efficient at eating, that I have to be quick to take in the moment before it's over. It's a fleeting moment now, and in several months will be gone all together. I plan to breastfeed until Caroline is 1 year old. I have 6 more months to enjoy these sweet moments.
Over the past 6 months, it has been an ever changing journey. What started as a painful (literally) daily task, has become a sweet moment that I look forward to. She used to have her eyes closed the whole time and I'd struggle to keep her awake. She never needed them open, and she could just blindly find (or probably more likely smell) her way to the sweet milk she wanted so badly. She was impatient with me if I was too slow getting ready (still is). She used to open her mouth and shake her head in excitement. Now she whines in anticipation. She had moments where she would bite down and shake like a shark (ouch), and she has moments where she is drinking so much, so fast that it starts to dribble down my belly.
Her arms and hands have been interesting to watch. At first she had tightly clenched fists that never saw the light of day. Then she learned that if she wanted faster flow, she could squeeze mama and out it would come. She then started holding on to my shirt, my bra straps, whatever she could find. She found comfort in it and was almost saying "don't go, not yet". Her hands would drop and just lightly touch my skin, tickling me so much.
Her eyes were then wide open, looking at what she was doing. They then noticed everything around them...the mole on my skin, my hair falling over my shoulder, the picture on the wall behind us. She would get so distracted that our short nursing sessions suddenly became double, even triple the time because she was so unfocused. She'd make eye contact with me and smile, and even talk to me in her own little way.
Her hands then moved from sweet, to playful and curious. She tugged at my hair, pulled at my shirt, and slapped me in the face. She found my nose and squeezed so hard. She scratched me with those little nails.
I learned to cut those tiny nails while she eats. She never puts up a fight.
Now she ever so lightly reaches out and touches my skin, my lips, my face. Almost like a blind person feeling my face, learning what I look like. She is so sweet and so gentle.
She eats quickly now. I move her upright and burp her. She turns to me and opens her mouth for a big kiss. She talks to me and hugs my face. I kiss her back and tell her that I love her too. We switch sides and repeat.
Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good...