Yeah, so, the Spawn still uses a bottle.
I know. I know. He’s 2 years old. He should have been done with the bottle a year ago. He really only has a bottle for nap time and bed time. He drinks from a sippy cup and a regular cup all day long. Don’t judge me … because it gets worse.
I let him have the bottle at night in his crib.
I know. I know. You’re not supposed to do that, and I’m the worst mother in the world. Somehow — I don’t remember when — it turned into the routine. We rock in the chair and read books while he sips his bottle of milk. Then we put him the crib, and he goes to sleep with it. Later in the evening, we sneak back in and take the bottle away. And now it’s a regular bedtime thing.
We brush his teeth, so I’m not really worried about tooth decay. And, honestly, I kinda don’t care if he has it. I worry more about the judgment that comes with it than the actual action of letting him have a bottle in his crib. I know he will outgrow it. I’m not worried that he will show up to the first day of high school with a bottle of milk in his backpack. It makes him happy, and I like it when he is happy.
The doctor, on the other hand, thinks it’s a big deal. She asked me six months ago at his 18-month checkup to ditch the bottle. I lied and said I would. I didn’t even try. In fact, I handed him a bottle of milk the second she walked out of the office because he was crying after getting five shots, and I knew he would be comforted by it.
At his 24-month checkup last week she asked me about the bottle again, and she didn’t like the answer. “Just do it. It won’t get easier,” she told me.
“OK,” I lied. She even sent me a follow-up email telling me to get rid of the bottle, and I replied that I would do it, because I’m a liar.
He still has the bottle at night, although we have been watering it down so it’s not 100 percent milk … usually. I’ve made up a million excuses for why we shouldn’t start yet. “Let’s wait until the weekend.” “But he’s got a cold and not feeling well.” “But I’m a lazy asshole and a shitty mom.”
I know the doctor is right. It’s a bad habit. And it won’t be long before we will be potty training, and the last thing you want to do is fill up his bladder right before bed. I get it.
When I think about it logically, I get it.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think about it logically. The entire situation is emotional for me. The truth is I’m not ready to give up the bottle. To me, he is still a baby — he’s my baby — and babies can have bottles. But he’s not a baby anymore. He’s a toddler. He’s a little boy. Actually, he’s not so little. He’s a big boy (97th percentile for height #humblebrag).
I feel like I’m always taking things away from Calvin. “Don’t touch that.” “Put that down.” He loves his bottle, and I don’t want to take it away. I don’t want to take something away and make him cry when I don’t have to. I don’t want to take our nice, trauma-free bedtime routine and fill it with tears and screaming.
Oh, and yeah, maybe I just don’t want to deal with the fact that he is growing up, and he doesn’t need a bottle anymore, and he’s not going to need a crib anymore, and he’s going to start driving, and he’s going to make friends, and he will want to talk to them instead of me, and he’ll go to college, and I won’t get to see him every day, and I won’t know all the details about his life, and he’ll never call me as much as I want him to, and he’ll roll his eyes at me when I tell him how much I miss him.
Maybe I can let him have the bottle just a little bit longer?
So, now I need to ask you, my dear readers for advice: What’s the best way to do this? Any tips or tricks for ditching the bottle? Just rip it off like a band-aid, or try weaning him from milk to water to nothing? Try switching to a sippy cup? All tips and tricks are appreciated. Also, it is OK if while weaning him off the bottle, if I hit the bottle a little more?