That, evidently, is a mathematical term for the otherwise unnamed number when you've run out of 3 but haven't quite reached 4, and that, according to Lorenzo, is how old he is because somehow he got it in his mind that he would need to stop nursing when he turned 4 and he simply isn't ready to go cold turkey. So, ask him how old he is, and he says, "I'm bleem." (Ask, "Are you hungry?" and he will answer, "I am ALWAYS hungry." And mention sleep at all and he says, "I NEVER sleep, not even for one second, ever.")
He is, however, actively trying to wean himself, trying so hard to go without asking for that nursing just before bedtime that lets him close his eyes and drift away to whatever it is he does that isn't sleeping. When he has had a tough day, or isn't feeling well, he just asks straight away, but otherwise there is this unspoken moment each night where the question, "Can I have some Mama milk?" lingers unspoken and a look of what seems to me a combination of longing and determination sweeps across his face. When I see it, I offer alternatives I know he likes -- a massage, the option of having his lantern on in his sleeping cave with a book or a toy car, dancing, or just snuggling (which at first he couldn't do because it was too much like nursing). Sometimes he goes to sleep quickly, sometimes it takes an hour or more, and we just lie there together knowing that things are changing and that he is working to be the director of his own life even when it isn't so easy to do so.
He doesn't like to talk about it, which is fine, as we long ago developed an unspoken language between us -- observing each other so closely for so long as he nursed, as we sat up through the nights, as he attached himself to me like the tiny forget-me-not seed pods that cling to our legs when we walk in the meadow when he was faced with a big uncertain world. He is able to read my face with a glance, and I his, and it is clear to me that he has made up his mind and yet also needs the assurance that doing so does not mean leaping from a cliff into the unknown, that he is building his confidence in the way he always has -- by dipping a toe in the water, then stepping back to dry land, then a whole foot, then back, then a leg, and back, until eventually his whole body is immersed.
So for now, my son is bleem -- no longer 3, but not quite 4; no longer really nursing, but not quite weaned. He is Lorenzo, so clearly himself, so well guided by his own internal compass, and so skilled at teaching me to watch it all unfold.
Mama to Lorenzo, born 4/25/2007. NICU graduate, Gastro-Esohapgeal Reflux, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sensory Processing Disorder...alive and thriving thanks to breastfeeding and co-sleeping.
Those who say it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.