Friday, 29 August 2014

Milk It

I am a "what ifer".  It's in my nature and it's one of my best and worst qualities.  People love it when they need help preparing for an interview, but it isn't so great when it's 3AM and I've been Googling a rash that Molly or Jack have recently sprouted.  My what ifs can get my imagination going and develop into a downward worst case scenario spiral more often than I'd like to admit.

Being a parent there are so many things that we worry, stress and what if about.  I remember the panic over the fact that Molly and Jack weren't walking yet and would they ever be able to transition from the infant room at daycare to the toddler room, the transition to solid food, whether or not Jack would ever be able to talk.  All of these things were such huge issues to me and looking back, both kids have met all of the milestones that I was panic stricken over, on their own time line, while I rushed for what's next.

One of the few things that I have allowed for Molly and Jack to do on their own time line was bottles.  I tried to ween them off of milk in a bottle around age two with little success.  Between age two and three we were able to get them to drink water, juice and everything else in a sippy or regular cup, but they both LOVED their bottles, particularly at bed time.  We slowly eliminated their nap time bottles and only gave them their one bottle at night time before bed - the one that had always been their favourite.

18 month old toddler with bottle
Jack and his bottle at 18 months.

I let them go at their own pace, yet I felt so ashamed about it.  I knew about tooth decay and other problems that can be caused from milk at night, but I knew they weren't ready.  I gave Chris crap when he gave our kids bottles publicly after age two because I didn't want to deal with commentary from passer bys.  I was acting as if giving my kids bottles was equivalent to a nightly diet of pixie sticks, gummy bears and whiskey.

As their third birthday approached, I panicked.  How were we going to do this?  Would it be nights and nights of crying?  I went to my mom, who eliminated our bottles on our third birthdays when I was a kid, worried that Molly and Jack weren't ready.  I envisioned crying, tantrums and bed time routines that would take forever.  My mom reminded me I had two children that I was raising at the same time and that I didn't need to work on anyone's pace but theirs.  One of the few times that I feel like things are easier for us as parents of multiples is the way we're given "permission" to do things that singleton parents are criticised for because of the perception of what life is like with multiples.

As bottles grew old and wear and tear increased we were presented with a choice: suck it up and buy more bottles or attempt the final bottle free transition at three.  We took them out and purchased them a whack load of new cups adorned with favourite characters and it was time.

About a week before the transition we warned Molly and Jack that they would be big kids soon and they wouldn't have bottles any more.  Then a few days after their third birthday we stopped giving them their nightly bottle, and nothing happened.  They accepted it, just like that.  On two or three nights they have asked for a bottle and I've offered a sippy cup of water instead and they've accepted it.  Last week when Jack asked for a bottle, Molly turned to him and said, "We're big kids now. We don't have bottles because we are three." He turned to her and said, "Okay Molly, I know."

I was so ashamed for putting off this transition, as if an extra few months with bottles would turn my kids into degenerates, but in the end it was easy because we waited until they were ready.  We are now two weeks bottle free and haven't looked back, if only I could get Jack toilet trained and Molly to stop sucking her thumb.

To read about my first bottle free attempts click here

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