Giving up the bottle. . . . . Not the beer bottle – the baby bottle. When my youngest boy was born a mere 17 months after my oldest, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt that I had a second baby while my first born was STILL a baby. I remember walking up the stairs with the brand new baby and looking at the top step where my not even 18-month-old was standing. My heart stopped with a pang. He's only a baby I thought. I wanted to cry. And sometimes, when both were crying, I cried right along with them. How could I have done such a selfish thing! So, I appeased my guilt by letting my now 18-month-old still use a bottle.
I knew that I should be potty training him but it was so much easier to simply make up two bottles instead of one and then there would be about five minutes of silence, with the two munchkins happily and contentedly (and quietly) enjoying their bottle.
When they were 18 months and a month shy of 3 years old respectively and STILL on the bottle, well, things needed to change. I worried about this moment for weeks. I tried to think of plans. Plan A - and Plan B in case Plan A blew up in my face. So – Plan A was to wait until their Dad went on assignment (in the Air Force) where he worked off site three days and three nights. We'd take Daddy to the base on such-and-such morning and then go back to the house and throw all the bottles in the garbage. Cold Turkey! And then we would burrow in for three days and three nights of crying, wailing, gnashing of teeth, pounding heads against crib bars, going through bottle withdrawal – and after three days and three nights we would be boys and not babies. We would be bottleless and ready for potty training! We would be out of diapers and into training pants. Hoo Rah.
So – we drove Daddy to the base and came home. I asked the boys to gather all their bottles together. They happily did so. Like a game! Then I had them go out to the garbage cans and toss them into the brand spanking new empty garbage cans. And we went back inside and they jumped up and down and clapped their hands and asked what else they could throw away. And acted like nothing happened. They went and played with their stuffed animals and their Weebles and their Fisher-Price cars and acted like nothing happened. They had their lunch with their milk in sippy cups and again – no wailing, no tantrums, no kicking and screaming.
My babies miraculously turned into little boys with a snap of a garbage can lid.
And there was no Plan B.