Yup, you read that right. My two-year-old (let’s be honest – she’ll be three in April, so we’re beyond two and a half now) still chugs a cold one – an eight ouncer of two percent- every night at bedtime. Go ahead and judge me – I don’t blame you. Listen, there is no philosophical reason for letting her have that bedtime comfort bottle; fundamentally, I know cutting her off is more than a year (okay, okay – a year and a half) overdue. This was almost accidental.
Let’s rewind about six years for just a moment. Her older brother and sister (seven-year-old twins – we are exhausted ALL.THE.TIME., my friends!) were cut off the bottle by their first birthday. The day they turned one, we pitched those bottles out the window (ok, we really just stored them away – good bottles are expensive, y’all!). With the third baby, however, all logic went out the window. We were on a family vacation on her first birthday, so I said, “Let’s just wait until we get home”. After we returned home, I was all, “Well, we can’t just cut her off cold turkey. Let’s give it a few days”. Then she came down with the flu, and I just couldn’t bring myself to rip that comfort away for her. Shortly after, I left for an overnight work trip and I didn’t want to burden my husband with a fussy baby who had been cut off from the “baba”….and so on and so on. Now, here we are, over a year later and well… you know.
Maybe it’s me. Well, technically it’s all me; my husband just goes along with whatever hairbrained idea I have at the moment (like the time I talked him into buying a house when we had just gotten engaged, he started a new job that paid ONLY commission, and we literally had six dollars to our name – but I digress – that’s a story for another time) This is my last baby and perhaps, subconsciously, I’m not ready for the baby phase to end. A few months ago, my awesome mother-in-law gave me some very sage advice that has resonated with me for a while: “Don’t worry about it; it’s not like she’s going to be walking down the aisle with a bottle in her mouth.” She tells about my husband at five years old, chucking his pacifier across the living room whenever they had guests over, so no one knew he still had that precious comfort binky – he too has a secret shame (and he was her youngest – do we see a pattern here?)! Still, every time we have overnight visits with my in-laws, I conveniently “forget” the bottle, and we are forced to calm an angry baby for hours at bedtime, and wow – Thanksgiving this year was BRUTAL! My fault, I know.
As parents, we all have that little tidbit we choose not to share with our friends or family for fear of being mocked – it’s basic human nature. Now that I’ve confessed my secret shame, I should take steps to rectify the situation, right? Perhaps…but maybe I’ll just soak up those bedtime bottle snuggles a little bit longer.