My two-year old daughter reached with both hands for the baby bottle. Sitting down on her bed, I opened the book to begin reading her night-time story. Instead of reading, I lowered the book and said, “Niki, you’re such a grown-up girl! You don’t need diapers anymore and now you’ve even started to sleep in a big girl bed!”
I wanted my baby girl’s babyhood to last longer, but after a week of internal debate, finally had to reluctantly admit that Niki was too old to be still having a bottle at bedtime. One reason I was reluctant to take her bottle away, was because she didn’t use a pacifier nor had a special blanket. Would bedtime be too hard and comfortless without the soothing bottle?
Niki basked in my compliments. She bit the bottle’s nipple and smiled. She knew she was a big girl and was happy that I recognized that.
Before reading the bedtime story, I leaned forward and shared in a low, confidential tone, “Did you know that big girls don’t use bottles?” My daughter nodded, but I wasn’t sure she understood.
For the next three days, I told Niki from time to time that big girls don’t use bottles. On the morning of the fourth day, I took a large, brown paper grocery store bag and used a black magic marker to write on one side, “Hide this in the garage.”
That afternoon as I prepared the evening meal, I opened the bag I’d prepared and told Niki that she was a big girl who didn’t need baby bottles anymore. All of her bottles were on the counter and I had Niki stand on a chair to help me throw them into the brown paper bag. Rolling the top of the bag closed and taping it shut with masking tape, I said, “Come and help me throw these bottles away.”
I opened the back porch door and stood facing Niki. I instructed, “Help me throw the bottles away.” Together, we swung the bag back and forth and at the count of three, let it sail out the door to land on the back lawn.
When Arnie arrived home for supper, he found the bag and hid it in the garage.