Then, in the afternoon, when we were playing some goofy game and he was laughing hysterically, I noticed something. His newly sprouted "bunny teeth" as we so affectionately call his two top teeth that dropped in while I was MIA last week... they looked a little funny. No, something was wrong with them. I literally think my heart skipped a few beats. There was a tiny little chip in the corner of one of those beloved bunny teeth. I was devastated. Not only had I made a mistake that I was thanking my lucky stars hadn't landed us in the ER, but now I would have proof of said mistake EVERY time he smiled for at least the next 5 years.
THEN to add more heartbreak/insult to injury, this evening while I was showing Mr. D the damage, I noticed something peculiar about his first tooth (bottom) to come in. My heart sunk into my stomach. What should have been the biggest tooth of the bunch so far was now 2/3 its original size, maybe more. My baby had chipped not one, but TWO of his baby teeth. Talk about devastating.
So, needless to say, while I have never professed perfection in my mommying, yesterday was one of those terrible, horrible, no good very BAD MOMMY days. I am a little obsessive about teeth [I had braces for all of 5 years and happen to brush little d's teeth obsessively to avoid "bottle decay"...more on that in a bit] and now I had just effectively RUINED my poor child's teeth. I just have to pray he doesn't hate me too much till they fall out in kindergarden. Talk about mommy guilt. BabyCenter tells me I should take him to the dentist to get it checked out... too bad we don't have dental insurance. There goes my "Mommy of the Year" nom.
Enough about that, nothing I can do to change it but feel bad about myself so onto the good news. The camera is back this week, Mr. D bought me the new 2011 BOB [and I ADORE IT!!!] and I realized that even with a crap battery on my Mac, I can still use it like a desktop as long as I use the powercord to keep it running. So that's pretty awesome.
Also, about bottles. A HUGE part [only part actually, not counting reading a book or two] of our bedtime/naptime routine as long as I can remember for little d has been to give him a bottle right before we lay him down to bed. We would always hold him while he drank the whole thing [because I heard enough about bottle rot to know not to give him a bottle when we laid him in the crib] and I never felt guilty about it because, hey, he didn't have any teeth. Then in the last month when the whole toothy crew started to push its way in, I started doing a lot of researching and everything I read [especially from the AAP] told me to start weaning him off the bottle ASAP.
We had already started sippy cups/waterbottles/regular cups from the time he was about 6 months old, but mostly for [diluted] juice and water. When I realized that we would have to start eliminating the bottle, we began doing milk in a sippy, and while it took him a little getting used to, he warmed up to the idea. But getting him off the nighttime/naptime bottle would be a huge challenge.
He was drinking 8 ounces of milk before he went to bed. I know, its a bit much but that stemmed from back in the day where I swore that if he didn't drink "enough," he was SURE to wake up in the middle of the night. Thank you, internet, for reminding me that my toddler is eating plenty of food and getting plenty of calcium so he really doesn't NEED that pre-bed milk routine.
So we began with the weaning. I would start reducing the amount of milk in the bottle down to 6 ounces one week, 5 ounces, then 4. At the same time, I started perfecting the naptime [to diaper change, read book, drink bottle, snuggle with stuffed animal puppy, hum "I am a Child of God", bed] and nightime routine [same as naptime, but with a snack and bath before the routine started] by emphasizing the other aspects that didn't include the milk. Then, when I got back from vacay, I did the unthinkable. I put water in his bottle, per suggestion from Anabel Karmel. At first he didn't mind the water and I thought this process would take a lot longer than I thought. But after about 4 naptime/bedtime routines, he was no longer interested in the bottle.
Sure, it still breaks my heart to see him sign "milk" as I am trying to put him to bed, but I have just replaced the 20 minutes of bottle drinking [yes, we kept those silly slow flow nipples because when I tried to switchover at 6 months, he refused to drink any milk with the regular/fast flow and would just spray it around, making a total mess everywhere] with a lot more snuggling, which I love. And I am happy to say that last night, one week away from his 15 month birthday, all the bottles are cleaned and stashed away till baby #2. Sure I may have had to wash bottles for 12 straight months but since we moved to Ohio, my mom has been AWESOME in washing all bottles for me. I think I have had to watch 4 in the last 2 months. SO good. Bottles, I will not be missing you at all.
At first, little d protested a bit and sleeptime got harder [read: more milk signing and crying] but I would just go in and snuggle him till he felt better and rested his head against my shoulder, which is his tired signal, and I would put him down to bed. Little d has never had a finger sucking, pacifying, self-soothing mechanism aside from the bottle, so I was really nervous it would mean that he wouldn't be able to fall asleep but I think because I started it with his naps [yes, we are still on two naps... that's our next hurdle post-bottles], things went pretty smoothly at night. Knock on wood of course, since every time I say something like that he wakes up three times.
To recap [so I remember for the next time around] what worked: gradual transition, new sippy cup he picks out on his own for only milk [this one has a straw he cannot take out], replace bedtime bottle with "lovie" [puppy is easy for him to hold in his hands], and add pre-bedtime routine snack [which usually includes milk but eaten at kitchen table] to the mix so he will for sure not be hungry at night.
Bottle Free is the way to be!!