The End of an Era

Life can change in an instant. Sometimes, just a small, tiny tweak in a routine can make you realize that time is moving on in a big way.

As of Friday, my baby can drink milk independently.

While I haven’t had to hold the bottle or cup for a little while now, we’ve still been able to cuddle during the feeding. I used to sit proudly as my little baby held the bottle without my help while in my arms. Smugly, I would later hold my slightly bigger baby (in order to prevent a mess) while we used a sippy cup that was NOT leak proof, despite what the cup’s packaging boasted.

Now, I watch from a relative distance as my perfect toddler stumbles around the house with a straw cup in hand.

It makes me feel very proud to see my little buddy growing and being more independent. This is what is supposed to happen. I wasn’t prepared for this moment, though. We didn’t have a talk about what it would mean to either of us. We didn’t do a transition where we changed the cup for one feeding for a few days, then move on for both feedings. BOOM. It just happened.

On Thursday, as we struggled through the morning feeding, I tried to keep it in perspective. Yes, my child’s cold had been making it difficult to finish the milk while breathing. Sure, there had been a lot of pushing out the cup & spilled milk, some tears – regardless of the old saying, and a lot of wriggling. But I was able to take a breath and appreciate the fact that I could hold my now on-the-go kid in the process.

Friday morning, the feeding felt nearly impossible. There was a lot of rejecting of the milk and even more fussiness than there was the day before. Something needed to change. I had very helpful wisdom in my back pocket from a friend on how to transition a baby to a straw cup. You put your finger on top of your straw to keep a bit of milk inside. Rather than flinging it at a sibling across the dinner table (or at a fellow guest at a wedding, you know, depending on the friends you keep :-)), you put the other end of the straw in the baby’s mouth. They get the hint that you can drink using this device. Once they master that, you then encourage them to work for the milk by keeping the pressure intact until they’ve got it down. Lastly, you let them use the straw cup and ta-da! They’ve got the hang of it.

We’ve dabbled with learning how to use the straw in the past, and we seemed to be moving in the right direction. I didn’t make a big push to move to the straw cup. Did I subconsciously realize what this change would imply and wanted to delay the inevitable?

It was officially time to give the straw a fair change on Friday, so I switched the cups to see what would happen. While my kid walked around, the milk disappeared. Quick. Later that morning, a cup of water was enjoyed in the playroom, the dining room and the kitchen. It was lovingly shared with stuffed animals. It made me happy to see my child look happy after dealing with an almost week long cold.

Still, I felt selfishly sad for my empty arms. Plus, those leak proof straw cups, while much more effective at holding in liquid than the sippy cups, are a pain in the rump to clean! To be fair, the cleaning itself is pretty easy. The taking apart and reassembling of them requires a Master’s degree, in my opinion. I think I got the assembly wrong after wrangling with one of the cups because the milk wouldn’t come through during last night’s feed. Not a great way to end the day, poor kid!

I am very fortunate that my little buddy is a book worm. I can still steal cuddle time this way. My husband picked up some more kids books today. I reckon we’re both looking for an excuse to cozy up with our lovely little one. Thank heavens for Spot!!