Whooooooooohooooooooo! It's finally happened. Paloma, the two year old, has completely weaned. Gone are the nights when only mama could put her to bed. Gone are the mornings of lopsided breasts, one rock hard with a gallon of milk and the other a deflated balloon (when babies and toddlers taper off they tend to just need one at a time). Yay!

It happened rather suddenly. She simply fell asleep without asking for it and I didn't offer. And a few days later it was like she forgot the chichis were ever there. I thought all the "what to expect" baby books were full of it. No way do they wean themselves, but apparently some of them do.

I'd waited for this day since Feb. 11, 2003 (when my son was born). He nursed up until the month before my daughter was born (yes, you can nurse through a pregnancy don't let some lame doctor tell you that you can't). But as the body readies itself for a new baby, the milk changes consistency to the palate of a newborn and toddlers tend to balk.

I remember three years ago wondering what it would be like to have my body back; I remember daydreaming in the rocking chair as someone snorted and gurgled through snack and lunchtime at my breast if I'd ever wear a turtleneck or a dress that buttoned or zipped up the back gain. If I didn't, I could make some serious cash with my vintage dress collection on eBay, I thought.

But now that Weaning Day has happened I don't quite feel the liberation I thought I'd feel and-no surprise here-I'm not quite fitting into most of my vintage dress collection. Since we are stopping at two children (and yes really we are, if it happens again, we will sue the doctor who assured us we wouldn't), it means the little monkeys aren't babies any more. They don't need me for their nutrition or comfort-at least not my body.

It was a source of bonding for my daughter and me which had been vital. Paloma came out of the womb pissed off and obstinate. She almost literally jumped out. Nursing was the one cuddly thing I could do with her where she'd let her guard down and fall asleep in my arms. I'd grab her and give her as many hugs as possible between screaming "no" and "don't eat the cat food" and "no writing on the walls with your own poop!" but it's just not the same.

A few weeks went by and then a month (Paloma stopped around New Year's) and then the physiology of what I'd done began to hit me. Perhaps only nursing mothers can truly relate to this experience but it's as if the body returns to its former, former self. The hormones, after all, have been running high for three and a half years. I've returned to a "me" that I'd almost forgotten ever existed: A pre-pregnant, pre-motherhood me.

My chemistry has been altered once again. When babies cry in the supermarket my chest no longer becomes a candidate in a wet t-shirt contest. I don't get ready for bed at 7:30 because I have to nurse for half an hour. Part of my identity that was forged when I began this new life in 2003 has now permanently ended. Gone. I'm still Mama, but the woman with a baby on each hip functioning without sleep or shower trying to fight the injustices of the world is now at rest. All my fights now are with showers, sleep, and an inch or two less of breasts.

Now, I (gasp) think about such things as sex because it's on my mind. I bother to put on make up sometimes. I shave my legs again. I have returned-the chick part of me that lay dormant on the other side of motherhood has come back and I'm so happy to see her!

I can add Kahlua to my coffee. Hell, I can drink more coffee. There are a few zip up the back dresses that do fit! I'm worried about how big my ass has gotten. The shield of invincible Supermom has gone away. I'm back to feeling vulnerable and I know almost instinctively that my superpowers will now have to draw energy from my intellect and experience and less from my body. I'll be reaching deep into the pockets of my Women's Studies education. I still have the biological urge to protect and defend my children, but the lioness rage feels less automatic. They are their own walking, talking, defiant people now. I can feel the change in my bones.

My kids are growing and I'm growing with them. And I'm growing back.