This is the first I heard about it. I’m not a parent myself, so this sort of thing doesn’t usually hit my radar. I found out Mayim Bialik was getting a divorce before I learned she was married. I found out she had previously played the part of Blossom after I enjoyed her early performances on The Big Bang Theory. So this is an effort to explain I am not going out of my way to learn more about Mayim Bialik than I’d normally be comfortable knowing.
Mayim Bialik no longer breast feeds her four year old son. He has weaned himself. Isn’t that nice. I wasn’t even aware she was a mother, and here I’m reading that this very talented and funny actress has been breastfeeding not an infant, not a toddler, but a preschooler.
I’m not even aware how I feel about this yet, and already my mind is going, “I didn’t even WANT to know this about this woman. WHY do I know this, now? Why SHOULD I know this? WHAT FUCKING BUSINESS IS IT OF MINE TO KNOW THIS?”
I saw the name Mayim Bialik. I clicked on a link cuz I’m like, “oh she’s a sweetheart and very talented. Maybe if I click on this link I’ll learn more about The Big Bang Theory tv show which I enjoy and maybe she’s gonna have a more significant part of the show next season, or oh no maybe they’re writing her character out of the series and I’ll be mildly upset about that.. breast feeding? What? A FOUR YEAR OLD KID???”
And some little filing clerk dude in the back of my mind immediately rushed over to the filing cabinets where he keeps covers of TIME magazine that I’ve glanced at over the years and this is flashed on the screen for me. Attached to the cover in the filing cabinet is a note to myself:
Dear Future Me
Re: Breastfeeding kids w/teeth.
Oh yeah. That. This happens. It’s no big deal, but what is a deal is some ppl think it’s a big deal. Try not to be one of those people cuz they’re assholes and they suck. Let’s not freak out over this one. It’s harmless, and in a strange way, kind of sweet. There are way bigger things to care about. Let this one go.
Sincerely, Past Me
Good thing I left that note to myself cuz I thought I was gonna have a cow there for a minute. My mom passed away a few months ago, and maybe this is still a sensitive topic for me, but I don’t think that’s it. I can’t remember when my mom stopped breastfeeding me. I don’t think my mom ever did. Some of my earliest memories involve a Big Boy glass with a lid on it that I once tried to take off, only to make a big mess, and they took the Big Boy glass away and I cried cuz it meant I was stuck with the stupid baby bottle that my sisters never used. Before that I vaguely recall holding the rubber nipple of that stupid baby bottle and dragging it behind me like it was a leash on a reluctant puppy dog. If my mom ever breast fed me, I don’t remember it. I musta weaned myself before my brain started filing memories of Time magazine covers, or anything else for that matter.
This note to myself does bring to mind something else though. It’s not that I have a problem with Mayim Bialik raising her own flesh and blood however she wants to do it. I don’t. I don’t frankly care. It’s that I am annoyed by how other people have responded to this issue, or how people in general respond to anything that shows up in the public eye. There were (and still are) short-sighted, opinionated people demonizing Mayim Bialik for still saying yes to her child, when other mothers have said no to theirs.
There is no hard and fast rule here. There are opinions. Now, I’m no child psychologist and I haven’t done any extensive research on this subject, but there’s something I think I can safely say which others will safely agree: every child matures and grows at his or her own speed. I have known young people whose social maturity defied their years, and though half my age at the time they behaved respectfully and were intelligent and enjoyable company. And I’ve known peers whose behavior embarrassed me and caused me to question not only their parents but any elder they had ever come in contact with for letting this human being grow up like a weed and not even know the difference between an indoor and outdoor voice. I mean, really. Or that women don’t have cooties. That sort of thing.
What I mean is, some kids may not wanna breast feed at all, and their parents might be concerned about that cuz they read all these books telling them they must breastfeed their children to assure sufficient health and well being and it protects the child’s immune system and a host of other benefits, but that one kid just looks at mom’s breast and decides it’d rather just have a bottle, thank you very much. Of course the baby can’t tell Mommy that so Mommy keeps shoving her breast in the kid’s face and the kid cries. Mommy doesn’t know why, refers to the book, talks to doctors, asks friends and family, cuz she can’t know that the kid’s seen a V-8 bottle and thinks that’s much more interesting than a mammary gland. He wants to try that. Granted, it’s gonna make the kid’s poo come out psychedelic, but the heart wants what the heart wants. He doesn’t care. He’s different. He’s a different kind of kid who not only doesn’t need to be weaned, he never really wanted to start breastfeeding int the first place and first chance he gets he quits it altogether, months before all the books say it’s healthy for him to do so.
For this kid, it was healthy for him when he decided. Now, maybe for other kids it’s not. Maybe some kids do need to be breastfeed longer than others, and longer than they want. We are all special snowflakes blah blah blah. We are not cookie cut outs.
It is a mother’s job to do the best she can to learn from her child what it wants, learn from the world what has worked before, and then after educating herself as best she can, as a mother, make the executive decision of what’s best for her child. And maybe she makes some wrong choices, and maybe in the extreme sometimes those choices lead to dead kids. It’s a tragedy. Some mothers will make bad decisions. That can’t be avoided.
This is just breastfeeding. The kid ain’t gonna grow up to be like Norman Bates cuz at the age of 18 he’ll still remember the day he stopped breastfeeding.
This ain’t one of those times, and people need to shut the fuck up and let mothers be mothers. Be willing to offer your opinion if it’s asked for, and even then if it’s warranted, but after the Mommy has made her choice, shut the hell up and let a mom be a mom. Let her do her mom thing.
This mentality that some people have, that they know better than anyone else what is better for other people’s kids, is what I actually find offensive about this topic. If you are one of those people, even if you have been a Momma, or are currently a Momma to your own kids, but are not the momma to that other momma’s kids, please take this to heart.
You are not the momma. Get over yourself.
You’re not even the daddy. I find it rather perplexing that around this same time that Mayim Bialik was breastfeeding her kid longer than some other mothers do, she also happened to be having trouble with her husband and is now getting a divorce. These two issues may be related. They may not be. I already know way more about Mayim Bialik than I know about some ex-girlfriends and I’d rather not investigate further, even accidentally.
But maybe breast feeding is a two way street. Maybe it’s not just the kid that needs to be weaned, but the mother too. And maybe each mother does this at their own speed too. Perhaps this was a lesson Mayim Bialik needed to learn for herself. To be patient with her child and be there when the child needed her for as long as the child needed her, and then learn to let go when the child was ready, whether she was ready or not. Maybe that’s what Mayim Bialik needed in this life, to know when to hold em and know when to fold em.
Or maybe she has made the wrong choice, and that kid will grow up to be the next Charles Manson. Crazier things have happened. I guess that might be a life lesson for Mayim Bialik too.
We’re called mammals for a reason. That is a predominant thing that sets us apart from reptiles, amphibians, insects, the plant kingdom..
Live and let live.
Wean and let wean.
Try not to sweat the small stuff.
Don’t be an asshole. At least not about this.