verb, plural -bos, -bing: to consciously alter the truth or personal destiny.

Adjective, Informal: to make the best of a situation, to change reality through positive thinking.

Pronoun -bology, formal: the study of Wumbo and the human condition.

18 February 2010

Can't Wumbo them all

There comes a time for every Wumbologist when a situation can't be Wumboed.

Try as I might, I can't Wumbo Alice's stubborn cold. There's no joy to be found in the dejected hang of her head, her nightly battle with the rattle in her chest or the alarming temperature that comes and goes. I can't find anything entertaining about her being sick.

My youngest daughter has been knocked out by an insidious flu bug, leaving her half-heartedly clinging to my hip and sticking her hands down my shirt with a constant desire to nurse. While I type one-handed, she fiddles with the snap on my nursing bra. As I balance her on my thigh and pee (sick baby can't be put down), she caresses my chest. As I sit on the floor to blow dry my hair, she tugs at the towel wrapped around my torso in hopes of having access to the baby feeders.

Although I love breastfeeding my baby, her near-constant demand for the comfort and security of nursing has become borderline ridiculous.

On a recent outing to Wal Mart---the fourth consecutive day we visited the retail giant due to my desperate need for some kind of social interaction---Ali was strapped into the blue and white shopping cart cover. I had deliberately breastfed her right before we left the house in hopes of an uneventful and quick trip to the store.

Ali had ideas of her own. Her baby brain was Wumboing itself into a frenzy. I could hear the cogs clicking in her head, each tick saying the same thing: "nurse, nurse, nurse".

Her pitiful blue eyes beseeched me to lean ever closer to her as I pushed the shopping cart past the lobster tanks. She wiped a hand across her snotty nose, stringing green goo from her nostrils to her hairline. Then she thrust her sticky hands towards me. Her perpetual desire to nurse only submits to her even more overwhelming need to sleep. She was becoming cranky as the shopping cart did not accomodate either of these compulsions. Her eyelids drooped over her bloodshot eyes, as if we had hotboxed our little hatchback Vibe on our way to the store.

In an effort to keep her happy, I obliged, trying to ignore the fact that I was now walking around a superstore bent over a shopping cart. At first, she only wanted me to snuggle her and let her stick her fingers in my mouth, her universal "Hello" to all the people she is fond of. She orally probes her father, her sister and her babysitter as if our individual bicuspets identify us more thoroughly. When meeting new people, she will attempt to jam her pudgy little hands into their mouths, smiling when the bewildered person allows her curious fingers to explore molars uknown.

Quickly, her feverishly hot hands were tugging at my black nursing tanktop. She pulled the stretchy fabric towards her with one hand, using the other to fondly pat the tops of my breasts. I immediately put my hands over hers, hoping to distract her somehow while simultaneously averting publicly flashing my chest. She began more adrently slapping my skin, thumping my sternum and spitting the Soothie out of her mouth. She whined as I crouched to retrieve the blue pacifier from underneath a Ragu display.

Even though I couldn't Wumbo away her sickness, she could Wumbo her way into my arms.

I sighed resolutely, looking for a quiet place to nurse her. Having left my cover in the car and unwilling to part with my half-filled shopping cart, I dug through the diaper bag looking for something to cover us up. To me there is no shame in breastfeeding, but as a deeply modest woman, I just don't like showing strangers my areolas (even if they are aimed at a hungry baby's mouth). My search came up fruitless, but in a stoke of genius, I took off my cardigan and tied the sleeves together at the wrists. I pulled the bulk of the fabric over Ali and I, the knot pressing into my left shoulder blade as I positioned Ali on my right breast.

She smiled and babbled, greeting her favorite body part with joy as she latched on and immediately nursed herself to sleep. My toddler amused herself with a crackling bag of egg noodles, taking her shoes off and putting them on the wrong feet, and waving at every employee who came within 10 feet of us. Less than five minutes later, Ali sat up in my lap and began pulling the green makeshift cover off her head.

I quickly tucked myself back into my shirt, put my sweater back on. We skipped the usual chatter with our favorite checker and made it out of Wal Mart and pulled into the driveway of our home less than half an hour later.

As I lifted Ali from her carseat she smiled at me, the Wumbo shining in her eyes. She nuzzled my shoulder and fished a nursing pad out of my tanktop as I hauled the groceries into the house. She quietly but constantly toyed with the hem of my tanktop, busying herself while I made trip after trip to empty the hatch of the car two or three bags at a time. Her ploy had worked; she had Wumboed me too.

Amid a sea of shopping bags, in the middle of the afternoon, I propped my feet up on a bag of frozen chicken nuggets and closed my eyes as my persistent little nursling drifted off to sleep in my arms, milk dribbling from the corner of her mouth.

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