Although he's been drinking from cups for ages now, Puppy still takes a daily bottle of milk. It's a comfort thing, part of his nightly routine. Bath, then snuggling on the couch with books and a bottle, followed by tooth brushing and bed. It's never bothered me. I wouldn't object to an evening nursing session at this age were I breastfeeding, so why not a bottle? And I figured we would know when the time was right to end it, just as it often happens in extended breastfeeding.
As it turns out, there have been a number of signs this summer that it was time to retire Puppy's beloved Avents. I've been casting about for a way to make the transition. Even though he seemed ready for it, I didn't want it to seem too abrupt or arbitrary. Routine is a big deal to Puppy, partly a function of his personality but mostly of his age. He's feeling out that scary area between the exciting larger world and the safety of mom and dad. He often asks--seemingly out of the blue--"Am I a big boy?" or "Am I tiny?" when he needs to be reassured of his independence/dependence. I think the bottles are part of the world where he can still be securely dependent. So I wanted to make a way for him to feel in control of stepping away from them.
On a lark one day I told him about the Bottle Fairy, how kids leave their bottles for her before they go to sleep and when they wake up she's left something special in their place. Puppy asked many questions about what sorts of things she left and made sure that this wasn't something we would force him to do. We talked about it now and again over the next few weeks. I wasn't sure it would go anywhere.
But yesterday as we walked out of the babysitter's house, Puppy asked if we could do the Bottle Fairy. Only I thought he was asking if we were going to a bottle factory, so we went a few garbled rounds before it all came clear. After bath last night, Puppy had one farewell bottle. Then we gathered them all into an Easter basket and added a note for the Bottle Fairy. He spent some time sitting next to the basket saying, "Bye bye, bottles." We talked a lot about how the next night his milk would be in a cup.
This morning he woke to discover that the Bottle Fairy had
Of course, the real test will come tonight after bath when the reality of no bottle hits. I'm giving 40-60 odds on tears.
ETA: No tears! Woot!