When I dropped off Hudson at nursery school yesterday there were two little girls sitting on a bench with swaddled doll babies at their chests.
"We're giving them milk!" one excited girl said. "From our boobs!"
This struck me as weird (and not only because a toddler looked me in the eye and said "boobs").The girls seemed too young to "get" motherhood and be free of the inhibitions that might stop me, but don't anymore, from nursing in public.
This got me thinking: how many people find me "weird" when I nurse in public?
I mean, it's politically incorrect to stare, acknowledge or giggle these days. And, if someone looked at me askance I'd throw them a nasty death stare and swear as they walked by... but still.
There is still something odd about public nipples.
I whip out boobs (now, to me, orbs linked more closely to plastic containers than bulbous appendages once used to attract cute guys) in the strangest places.
When Hudson was nursing, I bared my boobs in London, England's Westminster Abby (to the horrified gawking of onlookers), but now it's at the butcher, for instance.
"Mind if I feed her here?" I asked one of the owners of Vince Gasparro's - a butcher shop on Bloor St. at Shaw St. around 3:30 p.m. yesterday as Scarlett let out panicked yelps for food. We had spent the day out, grocery shopping, running errands and getting home wasn't an option. In fact, I rarely nurse at home these days, or in a comfortable chair.
"Ah, sure," the butcher said, slinging two soup chickens I ordered onto the counter.
I plunked myself on one of two foldout chairs across from the blood-soaked butchers block where I've witnessed many a cow gutted - this day the block was strewn with stray chicken livers - undid a few sweater buttons and cradled Scarlett like the toddlers did their baby dolls in Hudson's class.
One elderly butcher tried to keep his eyes on his meat. Patrons paid me no mind, except for one woman.
"Good for you!" she said. "Assert your right!"
More than weird looks, I get a lot of encouragement from random people, especially when I feed at grocery stores, which I do often, on the floor, any floor I can find, in professional, government and doctor's offices, the gym, the car, my boss's front hallway during a recent dinner party.
In that last scenario, I nursed in projectile-spitting distance of colleagues, including male colleagues my age who I might not be eager to get undressed around. You know, it's so unprofessional!
One colleague, a friend, strode past me crouched at the foot of the home's staircase.
I'm not trying to get a look or anything, he said, cheekily, completely joking (and I paraphrase because I can't remember his exact words.).
"Ha," I said. "There's nothing good to look at anyway!"
Well, that's not entirely true. There is Scarlett. She's pretty cute.