Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Saying Goodbye

About a week ago, Adam and I told Kenly that we were not going to give her a bottle after bath. She cried huge tears and moaned so mournfully that we decided to give in to a bottle that night. The child had not been given any warning. I went to the kitchen, poured her milk into the bottle, and warmed it slightly. Sitting cuddled in my arms, she grabbed her bottle and said, "This makes me happy."

Starting that night we concocted an elaborate tale about the Bottle Fairy. We explained that the bottle fairy would come the day after she turned two. After all, two-year-olds are big girls and big girls don't need bottles anymore. Kenly showed mild interest in giving her bottles to the babies who needed them, but she wasn't chomping at the bit to give up the bottle.

The 9th of August finally rolled around. We celebrated her birthday with a trip to the playground, a few last presents, and a trip to the Cracker Barrel for birthday dinner. Kenly wanted to get pancakes and her very own cup with orange juice. The folks at Cracker Barrel sang Happy Birthday to our girl, and she beamed with pride.

I gave her the last bottle. She kept saying, "This is my last bottle. But, I a baby. Mama, I a baby." It was all I could do to keep from crying. I won't every feed my baby a bottle again. I won't every hear that sweet suckling noise again. I won't be guaranteed a five-minute, peaceful snuggle with Kenly every night from now on.

After her last bottle, I cleaned up every last dirty bottle and packed them away. I couldn't have her seeing a single bottle in the house. I couldn't have one easy to get to, because let's face it, I'm weak. If she started begging and pleading, I'm more likely to cave if they are easy to access. The bottle fairy came and left her four wooden puzzles for her sacrifice.

Last night in the bath, she said, "No bottle tonight." She was being so brave that I was convinced that my fervent prayers for a smooth transition had been answered. As I was drying her off, she started whining, "I want my bottle. Fix a bottle." All through the hair drying process she was crying, "I want a bottle. Bottle. Bottle. She bring 'em back, right?" She had no tears, but I could tell her little heart was breaking. I was dying inside, but I kept my composure.

We went to look for bottle, and she discovered her present. All of a sudden, getting rid of bottles was really cool. We let her explore the puzzles for about 20 minutes, and then we continued the bedtime ritual. There wasn't a tear or moan after she discovered that the Bottle Fairy rewarded her. Phew!

We'll see if we are as lucky tonight. Tonight's bedtime ritual has no built-in distraction. I'm not holding my breath.

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