In my working life, part of my job is to teach happy music and dance classes to small tykes, who are accompanied by their parents. The happy music part is why I did not teach for a long time after Elijah died. Singing happy music to other kids right after my kid died was not very happy.
So now I have thrown myself back in to that arena for the last seven months - sometimes the music is happy, and sometimes it is silly, and sometimes it is hard for the teacher who remembers singing a lullaby to a baby that is now gone, and it is tearful.
But never before has it been raunchy!
Today I was asked to meet with a director at the rec center where I teach, as a parent had withdrawn from class dissatisfied. Of course I wanted to hear why - I am not above improvement and was hoping for some constructive criticism about me or one of my teachers. I was told that the parent had withdrawn her son from MY class, after her son was (AND I QUOTE) "traumatized by seeing the teacher's boobies". And apparently, according to this mother, her son also ran around the house in a trauma-induced stupor, chanting 'teacher boobies, teacher boobies' all week.
Oh sure - have a laugh and then compose yourself, because this is hardly funny.
Translation: Her 3 year old son witnessed my son breastfeeding during the lullaby at the end of class.
The director went on to inform me, that while she of course wanted to hear 'my side' of 'the incident', she had already discussed this with the supervisor and they 'decided' that I 'can no longer breastfeed in class'.
And that is when the shit hit the fan. First thing I did was whip one out to feed the little man, who was feeling my angst and feeling a bit peckish. And then I looked her in the eye and said, "No."
"No?" was her quick echo.
"No. As in 'No, I will not stop breastfeeding my child in class'. I am inflexible about that. Period."
And then the conversation went on, with me explaining how I had worn a nursing shirt and a nursing bra, and the physical impossibility of unhooking both sides at once. And she exclaimed, "Oh - I didn't know you had a bra on! I just had to follow up on the complaint!"
At which point I just went jaw-agape and asked her why we were having this conversation, as I was confused why I was having to even explain to this woman that I was wearing a bra! And the full impact of being told by two women that I 'could not breastfeed' in this public place was starting to hit me. And I was not happy.
I am - on an airplane or in a restaurant - a militant breastfeeder. Five years ago, a man across the aisle from me on the plane we were sharing suggested that I nurse 'back there in one of the empty rows'. I told him to go ahead and move back there since he was obviously uncomfortable (as he stared at my breast). But when I am teaching I try to maintain some sort of sensitivity toward the masses. I purchased ugly nursing clothes to try and make the baby happy and still be discreet as all eyes were turned toward me. Do I care if they see me nursing? No. But they may not want a full frontal. So I try and make the breastfeeding discreet. Because that's just the kind of person I am.
For the record, the complaining mom also claimed that she was concerned that having my own child in class could potentially distract me from teaching, neglecting to mention that my own child has a nanny in class who takes him out as needed and that he was not even in class until the very end last week (accompanied by said nanny). So she has some issues with fabrication, as well as 'boobies'. And also for the record, my children acknowledge them as 'breasts'.
Upon returning home I felt compelled to send the director and supervisor an email expressing how disappointed I was in her support of a prejudiced position, and added the following content:
Cal. Civil Code § 43.3 (1997) allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. (AB 157)
Also, when I got home, I took off my shirt and my bra, danced around flappin for awhile, then asked my baby if he wanted some nasty sexy mama boobie juice.
Because that's just the kind of person I am.