August 06, 2008

The Bottle Fairy

The Bottle Fairy came to our house last night. Have you heard of the Bottle Fairy? Lesser-known cousin of the Tooth Fairy, sister of the Pacifier Fairy? She comes under cloak of darkness to whisk away your bottles, leaving goodies in their place. True story.

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 made a hasty Target trip come during the night and filled his basket with all sorts of goodies along with a note saying how proud she is of him. And I really am she really is. He spent all morning playing with the little car she left and took it to daycare to share with his friends ("There will be three turns. Paige will have a turn, then Madison will have a turn, then Abby will have a turn. And I'll have a big turn." His math isn't so hot.)

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!

12 comments:

Thanksgivingmom said...

In fact, I HAVE heard of the bottle and pacifier fairy! In my brothers house they came on the same day! The Bottle Fairy for their older daughter and the pacifier fairy for their younger son. The too rounded up all the bottles and pacifiers with the understanding that they would be sent to new babies that needed them. In exchange they would get something very "big girl" or "big boy."

And actually - IT WORKED really well!

Better than the mysterious missing bottle experiment of 1984 that happened when I CAME OUT OF A COMA AND ALL I WANTED WAS A BOTTLE - but that's another story for another time...

Heather.PNR said...

You were in a coma? As a baby? You must share!

Kendra said...

Let us know how it turns out!

Rebeccah said...

I'm totally taking notes. The Bottle Fairy seems like a wondrous creature.

luna said...

so how did it go?! what a great idea to empower little big puppy.

Kohana said...

That's fabulous!

Clementine said...

I love the Bottle Fairy! What a good idea.

Thanksgivingmom said...

I'll blog about it and let you know when it's up - but yes.

shanamadele said...

This post is so timely for us - Butternut's been having ear infections, and the doctor we saw for the latest bout suggests weaning him from the bottle may help. I'm reluctant to do it because, like you, I figure if we were breastfeeding we'd wait until he showed signs of readiness.

I'll be interested to hear how it turns out for you. In the meanwhile, you have given me food for thought!

Heather.PNR said...

Two nights down with no problems, just a little boy happily drinking from a cup. YES!

quitecontrary1977 said...

i love the "bottle fairy" idea. is there a boob fairy for breastfed babies? make my boobs disappear.. uh oh i don't lke that idea too much...

Momo Meg said...

Hooray for the bottle fairy! What a great idea. We are transitioning Little Bear from bottles at nap time and that has gone well. Soon we will stop bedtime bottles too. Your success here gives me hope.

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