Yep, today was the day. I’ve been slowly weening Maysen off of the bottle. Well, I take that back. I pretty much just stopped using them and she never complained about it at all, although now she’s not drinking as much milk as before. Today the bottles actually made it into the boiling pot of water for sterilization, which was a big step for me. I guess it was my way of overcoming denial. The doctor told me that it was time to kill the bottle, to avoid the tooth decay, and to let my little one start using real cups like a big kid. I thought it was going to be an issue because I’ve been putting Maysen down with a bottle for pretty much every nap and every night (gasp! I know, I know. I’m not supposed to do that.)
The problem is that it is Mommy who can’t seem to put the bottles away. Even though we stopped using them nearly two weeks ago, they’re still out on my bottle drying rack, collecting dust. I mean, this means that Maysen really isn’t a little baby anymore, and I’m struggling with that.
I’m also struggling with the fact that she has officially learned how to get her way by screaming at the top of her lungs and noodling her body. I know I’ve mentioned this process before, but she’s really becoming a pro. We went to Barnes and Noble today to browse potty books and buy a little playtime out of the heat. By the way, how is it that just TONIGHT I first heard about splash pads? Seriously? How come no one ever told me about these? I always assumed that they were just water fountains that tacky people let their kids play in. I never had any idea that this is what they’re actually for. Now I have a new mission! I will find a splash pad for Maysen to play in on these hot days of summer!
Anyways, she was a relative little angel for the first half hour we were there. Some poor pubescent kid in a cookie monster t-shirt sat quietly trying to read a Manga book. May stood two feet from his face, waved consistently, and said, “hi. hi. hiee. hieeee. hi. hiee.” He managed to ignore her in a way that I admired. How in the world could he make it appear that he really didn’t even notice that she was right in his face? If only I could have such a talent! I kept pulling her to me, but she kept walking away, looking at books, pulling them off shelves, tossing them haphazardly wherever she lost interest in them. She pushed around some other kid’s stroller and climbed up onto the bargain rack. But she wasn’t screaming. She wasn’t running away. She wasn’t hitting other children. She wasn’t destroying anything. I consider this angelic behavior.
But then the time came when I needed to ask someone to help me locate a magazine. As soon as it was Mommy’s turn to look at books, it was Maysie’s turn to practice her temper tantrums for her terrible twos.
I used to be that girl. The one who sat in a corner, gnawing on her cuticles, reading quietly and giving the stink-eye to anyone with a screaming baby/toddler/child. I was the girl who had thoughts along the lines of, “Jeeeez. What kind of mother can’t control her kid in a friggin’ bookstore?” But now, I know that that girl just hasn’t had her own child yet. Someday she will understand. So I have to do the baby shuffle. It’s when the baby is as difficult to hold as a water weenie. Wriggling and squirming and noodling and wrestling her way out of my arms all while screaming, red-faced and sweaty. Somehow, though, I was able to do this today without even breaking a sweat or leaking a single swear word. It was a good day. I was in a good mood. Nothing could bother me. Nothing. So I let her have her fit, I smiled at all of the bitches staring me down with a judgmental smirk and a frown, and I let her hold her snacks without any concern of them spilling all over the bookstore floor. Nope. I didn’t care, because I’ve found that the more I let these tantrums upset me, the more fuel the tamper gets.
By the time we got home my angel was back. We had one of those amazing spaghetti dinners that can only be followed by a bath.
We read a few stories and played for a while. I didn’t force her to sit in my lap, but rather read “El Gato Ensombrerado” in my most Seuss-y of narrator voices, until she decided on her own to pay attention. And then I fell in love with my baby yet again. I started making fish lips while trying to illustrate “que dice la pez” and little May got a real bang out of it. She stood next to me, hands and chin resting on the armrest of the glider, and did her best to try to make a fish face. I thought she couldn’t get any cuter, but here it was, her attempt at a fish face. I kept reading until I realized that she was looking at me with her head cocked to one side, eyes inquisitive, and gesturing with her hands. She patted her head, then kindof touched around her neck and cheeks as if she wasn’t sure where to go or what to do, then bent over to look at her knees and then touched her feet. It took me a second to figure out what the heck she was doing, but then it dawned on me so I sang to her. “Cabeza, hombros, rodillas y pies. Cabeza, hombros, rodillas y pies. Ojos, orejas, boca y nariz…” I couldn’t believe it! She wanted to sing “Head & Shoulders Knees and Toes” in Spanish! So we sang for a while until she curled up in my lap with her sippy cup (not bottle!) of milk, and we read “La Arana Muy Ocupada”. Sigh.
Bedtime for baby is my favorite time of the day. Bedtime for bottles isn’t, but it’s yet another one of those milestones we have to cross.