Remember the Time breast-feeding cover? You probably do — it was an image meant to be seared into your brain. For Brooklyn Paper “Fearless Parenting” columnist Stephanie Thompson, it was not an occasion to consider the kind of embarrassment that toddler might suffer in later years from the public, um, exposure. It was an occasion for musing on her (non-infant or toddler) sons’ attachment to her own set of mammaries.>
[How] long can a mother allow a child to stay physically close if not completely attached?
My answer? Forever.
I have written about how my boys love my boobs, and how open I am in talking to them about their desire to look at and touch them …
I draw the line clearly whenever we cuddle, telling them that the more sexual of their instincts, those that have begun to well up in them with force, will be great to extend with a partner of their choosing down the road, and not with Dear Old Mom.
I do not shame them for expressing those feelings and instincts even if that Angry Pilgrim in my head suggests otherwise.
The Kind Pilgrim has indeed written before about her sons’ globular fascination, or, as she put it more baldly in 2011, “My boys so desire to squeeze my boobs.” Thompson went on to describe a typical home scene. “My 9-year-old comes toward me with hands stretched out like lobster pincers. ‘Squeeze, squeeze,’ he says hopefully as I dodge and dart.” She fends him off with, “These are not for you, not anymore.” Later, she asks that 9-year-old for his insight on that age-old question of why men are so fascinated by breasts. ““I think we just look at them and think: FOOD!” he replied. It’s as if Sigmund Freud and Dr. Sears are conducting a battle for the soul of one little (but not that little anymore) boy in brownstone Brooklyn.
Thompson has regrets (including her lack of bisexual experimentation) and doubts (about her decision to stay home, expressed to less-solvent-than-she neighborhood baristas with some frequency, it seems), but one thing she doesn’t regret is her approach to her sons’ Oedipal urges, which she refuses to see as any different from typical mother-child affection.
Taboos be damned! I will not stop hugging my children and encouraging them to hug others, no matter what society — or that Pilgrim in my head — might say. I will not stop crawling into bed with my children and cuddling with them, kissing them straight on their little lips.
I understand a mother’s desire to nurture her offspring for as long as possible.
It’s a hard bunch of years between a mother and a boy’s first girlfriend, and I offer them great sympathy. Soon, maybe, they’ll discover Playboy. It’s only natural.