by Tina Blue
April 8, 2001
In "A Nest of Nursing Mothers" I described how three of the mothers I babysat for would take their lunch break at about the same time and come over to my apartment to nurse their infant sons.
The mothers did not all arrive at exactly the same time, but their arrivals were usually pretty close together, and never more than ten or fifteen minutes apart.
The babies got used to the idea that when one mother arrived all the mothers would soon be there, and you could tell by the excited squirming that they could hardly wait for their own moms once any of the mothers had arrived.
These mothers all nursed their babies until they were about sixteen months old, so the routine was pretty firmly established and the little boys knew what to expect.
The oldest of the baby boys was Alex, and the youngest was Christopher. Usually, Christopher's mother, Theresa, was the first to arrive, and usually Alex's mother, Kim, was pretty close behind her. Jeffrey's mom, Marilyn, was almost always the last one to arrive, because she worked in a different part of the building and her lunch break started a little later than theirs did.
Whenever Theresa sat down to nurse Christopher, Alex would crawl over and gnaw on her ankle--or her knee, as he got old enough to stand--until Kim arrived. Theresa thought it was adorable, so she had no problem providing an ankle or knee appetizer until his main course was served.
As soon as Kim arrived, Alex would release whichever of Theresa's joints he was chewing on and hasten to greet his own mother.
One day, when Alex was about 14 months old, his mother had to finish up some work before taking her lunch break. Theresa arrived on time and sat down to nurse Christopher, and of course Alex went over to gnaw on her knee while waiting for his own mother. But after about ten minutes, when Marilyn showed up but Kim did not, Alex stopped working on Theresa's knee and looked forlornly around the room.
Then he turned back to Theresa and gazed up into her eyes, asking plaintively, "Where's mine?"