Since the Monkey turned a year old, no fewer than four people in my office (with a total staff of ten people) have asked how much longer I’m going to breastfeed her.
By and large, people ask this in an even and pleasant tone, as if they are simply curious about the content of my daughter’s nutritional intake and how it might be changing over the next few months. Some are even skillful enough to phrase the question as if it were purely theoretical rather than an inquiry into an area of my life that, while not exactly intimate or secret, they otherwise aren’t really a part of. “How long does breastfeeding take?” they say. “I mean, how long do most people do it?”
The zinnias are blooming, the humidity is low, and I am feeling optimistic and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. So I’m refraining from assuming that my coworkers are horrified at my decision to keep nursing this long, or that when—having answered their (in almost all cases, nosy) question with, “I don’t know. I don’t really have a schedule for when I want to wean her,”—I leave the vicinity, they are giggling together behind my back. I’m assuming they’re really just curious.
But how funny that everyone’s curiosity about this topic should rise all at once like this. I don’t recall a single person asking me this before a month or so ago, and now suddenly the duration of our breastfeeding is sufficiently fascinating to cause half of my coworkers to find ways to work the question into conversation. You’d almost think there were some kind of cultural norm that kids shouldn’t nurse beyond one year of age.
Something tells me that if I lived several hundred miles closer to one ocean or the other, I’d be having very different sorts of conversations with my coworkers, indeed.