Maybe it’s a breast feeding thing, but I’ve recently come to realize that both my children have an obsession with nipples. Well, not Cassie so much. She **had** an obsession with nipples when she was about Sam’s age (almost two) but I think she eventually grew out of it. Sam, however, is in the full height of nipple obsession, which means it will be a while before I can take her bra shopping with me.
Both girls were breast fed. In fact, I just weaned Sam about two months ago. I had planned to let the little fart wean herself, but she had already passed the point that Cassie stopped (18 months) and was not really nursing any more so much as chewing my nipples to death. I think she saw that last before bedtime nursing as a delaying tactic. She would chaw away and rather than drift off to sleep, keep herself awake by thrashing around in my lap, occasionally bashing me in the head with her flailing arms and legs. I got tired of this after a while and decided that since she wasn’t going to peaceably wean herself, I’d just have to do it for her and so I cut out that last nursing cold turkey.
Needless to say, what followed was a couple of weeks of Sam grabbing at my breasts right before bedtime, demanding to be fed. “Nurse! Nurse!” she’d scream. My solution was to hand her to Michael, who’s nipples are too hairy for Sam to chew on. Mine however, are still fair game, and Sam takes every opportunity to point them out when she sees them. If she sees me in the bathtub, Sam will point and go, “Nipples. Nurse.” That is the quickest way I know of for her to end my bath. I can’t get dressed fast enough, especially if I see her jaws open up to clamp down on my recently reclaimed nipples. Not that I think it will hurt if she latches on — god knows she killed off all the nerve endings in my nipples long ago — but I honestly to feel like dealing with the thrashing and beating that came to accompany those last nursing sessions. I mean really, do I need to be beaten black and blue by my toddler?
Sam is also fascinated with her own nipples, much the way Cassie was at her age. She will pull off her shirt to show them off at odd occasions. Again, makes it a little hard to go out with her in public places. And she will point out nipples if she sees them anywhere she goes (like if she sees a shirtless man in a poster or advertisement). Cassie used to do this. I remember one time sitting in zen meditation at home, with my Buddha figurine on the floor in front of me. Cassie walked up to the figure, looked at it and then pointed at the bare side of its chest to proclaim, “Buddha! Nipple!” And that killed that afternoon’s meditation, you can be sure.
Cassie is also the child who once ran through the bra section of a lingerie department in a J. C. Penny’s, screamaing, “Boobies! Boobies!” as she snatched bras off the rack. To this day, I still cannot walk into J. C. Penny’s.
But Sam’s latest fascination is not with anything on my chest, but rather with the small brown mole on my left arm. I’ve had this mole for as long as I can remember, and both kids are obsessed with it, to the point of driving me crazy. They like to poke and prod at it, even though I’ve told them not to. Sam in particular likes to grab at it and shout out, “Nipple!” “No, no,” I say. “That’s a mole.” “Nipple!” Sam insists. I live in fear of the day when she’ll try to latch on. If you ever see me walking around with a toddler fastened onto my left elbow, you know what happened.