On Saturday, we drove up to Snohomish to a farm to pick pumpkins, wander a corn maze, go for a hay ride, jump off straw bales, and pet bunnies, kittens, and miniature horses.
My kids loved it. I would have loved it more had it not started raining while we were in the corn maze. Or had I not chosen to leave my rain jacket in the car. (I’ve lived in the great northwet for 17 years now. You’d think I’d know better.)
Anyhoo, my favorite part of our farm visit was seeing the mother pig. She’d just had a litter of nine piglets the day before, and she lay wearily in the straw while her babies shoved and nosed and wrestled each other to get to her teats. I could relate.
I wish I could have gotten a picture of her face; she looked exhausted and annoyed. It probably didn’t help that there were a dozen people standing outside her pen taking photos and oohing and aahing over the adorable piglets.
At one point the piglets must have given her one too many headbutts: she grunted and heaved herself further onto her side, exposing another row of teats. Her babies were ecstatic, climbed all over each other to get to the milk. Mama pig just sighed.
Sunday night, Doug and the older kids went to church for a going-away party for our pastor. I’d hoped to go, too, but the babies started melting down at six. When Doug left, I had one boy in each arm, with a bottle in each of my hands. This is rather hard on the wrists.
The boys finished their bottles and I popped them in bed. I thought I might get lucky and have an evening to myself.
Then Luke started to cry. Of course. I picked him up and burped him again, then put him back in the crib. Nothing doing. He whimpered his way into a full-blown wail. Then Ben decided to get in on the crying. Fun times for all.
I picked them up and lay down in my bed with one of them on either side of me. I thought some mama cuddle time might calm them down. Silly me. Why would I think that?
I knew they weren’t hungry. I also knew that breastfeeding them would mean silence. My ears were ringing.
So I breastfed them. Actually, I just breastfed Luke. Ben had slowed to a whimper, so I lay on my side with him pressed against my back and fed Luke. Which apparently ticked Ben off. He started to cry again. I tried reaching behind my back to pat his bum. He cried harder.
Luke stopped sucking. He’d fallen asleep. I popped him off my nipple, pulled Ben over, and gave him a go. Luke woke up, started to cry and root around on Ben’s head like he’d never eaten before. I stuck my finger in his mouth. He did not appreciate that. He wailed louder. I tried giving him my thumb. Still louder wailing.
I wished I were not home alone so I could have someone get me his binkie, which I’d brilliantly left in the crib.
When at long last I accepted that Luke was not going to be satisfied with anything that didn’t express milk, I hauled him up onto my side, folded Doug’s pillow under his head, and gave him my other breast. Mind you, I was still lying on my left side with Ben on my left breast. If Doug had come in at that moment, he would have laughed out loud. Since he wasn’t there to laugh at me, I laughed at myself.
My amusement slowly turned to mild annoyance and then to outright irritation. This was a highly uncomfortable position. Plus Luke kept letting milk drip out of his mouth, which made a damp and slightly sticky trail as it trickled down onto my left breast.
Finally both boys were asleep. I popped them off, lay Luke in the bed, crept out of the bedroom, and hoped my greedy sucking piglets would stay asleep.
One did. One didn’t. Mama pig just sighed.