That day, A did okay. We played him out to make sure he was good and tired, and he went down for bottle-free naps about as well as I'd expected. Some tears, some kicking at the crib, then a good long nap. Repeat. Then at bedtime, not a peep. Bath, books, cuddle time in the rocker ... and Mister went to sleep. J and I high fived and I packed the bottles away in a high kitchen cabinet and declared ourselves DONE with bottles
FOREVER for 117 days (yes, you read that right, I know, I gasped too).
Ha. Haha. Hahaha! That's me laughing at my laughable naivety, my smug confidence in our one day cold turkey bottle weaning skills. You see, the boy had other plans. He's a smart one, and I think he realized two parents are stronger than one. So he played it cool on Sunday and saved the real fight for Monday, when he knew there would be just one. I imagine him plotting in his crib, sitting in the corner rubbing his chubby little hands together: "get mommy alone and make her PAY for taking away my beloved bah-bahs! Bwahaha!" So Monday arrives, J leaves for work, and A stepped up his game. It was rough and long and there was a whole lot of crying at crib time. But he did nap and we did survive and I didn't think of going near that bottle cabinet. We were getting there, I thought. Then came Tuesday. Oh, that horrid Tuesday. My head hurts thinking back to it. I'm not even going to get into details. Let's just say it was long and painful and napless and I was not all the mommy I could be- my nerves were shot, my patience was drained, and this just wasn't feeling right. And by bedtime, so worn out was I that after 5 minutes of sad, angry screams piercing through his walls and down the stairs to the living room where I hid beneath a blanket...I filled a bottle with milk and returned to A's room. I picked up my hiccuping, puffy eyed little guy, snuggled him in the rocker, and gave back his damn bottle. I quit. I refused to fight this battle any longer. I rocked him far longer than I needed to, feeling guilty and sad and like I'd made a major mommy misstep by stifling my instincts in trying so hard to force something he clearly wasn't ready for.
Here's the thing: A's an easy kid. He (thank you GOD) came into the world with J's personality. Happy, carefree, eager to please. But no mistake- these boys of mine aren't weak. There's a good bit of determination beneath their easygoing exteriors. Piss them off, and you'll know it. So while A has been pretty cool about other painful transitions we've had to make along the way, taking things like sleep training and routine setting in stride, this 'bottle weaning' thing was where he drew the line. And if I've learned anything in my 5.5 year marriage to J, it's that when he draws the line I best just shut my trap (hard as THAT is for me) and go with the flow. That lesson in mind, I decided A can have his bottles awhile longer. What's it hurting, really? As I've done more reading on the subject, it seems that bottle feeding isn't considered "extended" until a child passes 18 months. Furthermore, the main concerns are that a 12+ month old with a bottle won't take a cup (which he does, gladly, at mealtimes and in between), won't take to solid foods (not an issue, he's a great eater), will drag a bottle around the house (never), will require one in his mouth to sleep (nope), or will otherwise become be so dependent on the bottle that social development is impeded. A's social skills seem fine and dandy to me. So why was I pushing this? Because the doctor said so? Because some books say so? Because my friends did? Because ... why? My instinct is that when he's ready, he'll just do it. And if not, that when the time is right, it will feel right to stand my ground and I won't be hiding under a blanket crying.
So that explains the lack of blogging this week. This whole weaning-then-not thing ate up a fair bit of our time. Then add in working and housekeeping and yard tending and pet caring and belated birthday thank you card writing and family picture outfit buying/planning and the eleventy billion other things I've tried to cram into four long days.... exhaustion, explained.