The day I stopped breastfeeding my daughter -- my last born -- was the happiest day of my life. Not because I was anti-nursing, but because it meant I could finally wear shirts again. At that point, I'm pretty sure my neighbors threw a party because "the crazy lady in the yellow house decided to wear clothes again."
I'm neither anti-breastfeeding nor anti-clothes wearing. In fact, anyone who does know me knows that I firmly remain in the "pants are bullshit" camp. Because they are. Shirts, however, are a different story.
So now, when my 2-year-old daughter demands to be carried around a store, which is often more favorable than a) a public meltdown or b) chasing her down aisles, I groan.
Inwardly. Don't want to damage the kid more than I already have.
Sure, I love the smell of her curly toddler head and (try to) laugh as she pokes my eyes, but she, like my other two before her, love to shame me in a way I didn't believe possible, considering I've already pooped in front of strangers. On the birthing table, I mean, not as a fetish.
What's worse than pooping in front of a hundred (read: three) people you don't know?
Walking around with your bra -- possibly even nipple -- hanging out. WITHOUT REALIZING IT.
Both my son and my daughter have a habit of sticking their hands down my shirt when I carry them, nestling their grubby toddler hands firmly around my nipples, and pulling the shirt squarely down.
Holding a toddler while trying not to shriek in pain as you attempt to pull your shirt back up is no easy feat. And I hate to be all, "no, no, those are Mommy's Breasts. Please don't touch" because I don't want them to march up to strangers and talk to them about their breasts. Especially men. Because moobs (man boobs), well, they happen. And no stranger, however cute the child may be, will appreciate being asked about their breasts.
Plus, making it a no-no zone for them will only increase their desire to shock and humiliate me. I know my children and I know what they'll do. And really, with me as their mother, who can blame them?
Most importantly, they have years to be all weirded out by their bodies. I'll give them this time and remind them of this when they have their own children.
So rather than making an issue of it, I grit my teeth and pull up my shirt to the best of my ability, squirmy toddler in tow.
And I look on the bright side: at least, now that strangers are apt to see me walking around the hardware store in my bra, I have the excuse to buy some snazzy bras.
Does your toddler think your breasts are his/hers?