Nursing Toes


When I nurse, her feet swirl and wiggle, back and forth, up and down, like a conductor’s arms setting the tempo for her suck.

Her toes spread and grip, slide and hold, like a pianist’s fingers grabbing for keys to find the right note as she swallows, sucks, inhales, and swallows again.

We are our own symphony. The call and echo of grunts: ehhhhs, ahhhhs, mmms. Together, we communicate clearly, without words, with only her feet and toes, and her only eye that shows.

People ask incredulously, “You’re still nursing her at 9 months?” “She’s never had formula?”

I brush it off with, “It’s what I know how to do.” “It’s easier for me.”

But what I really want to say is, Have you seen these toes?

Have you seen the way they twirl in comfort, in trust, in delight at my arms around her, at my finger in her grip, at my eyes locked onto her single exposed eye as she fills her tiny belly?

When I am in the ho hum of the daily grind, I sometimes wonder what I will miss of these days. I keep wondering and wondering as a whiney someone asks me to hold him while I nurse his sister.

It hits me then.

I will miss this. I will miss the feet and the toes and the strong build of the little boy that sits all up in our business as she and I conduct the music that is her food.

The restful time – quiet and dark – that is her nightcap. The peace that comes from watching these toes. This, I will miss.