Joey had his last bottle tonight. At almost 15 months old. I know the recommendations. I have read the books. I spoke with my pediatrician. I know it was advised that I take the bottle away at a year. But I wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t ready to give up that 10 minutes of snuggle time each night. In a room lit only by the soft glow of his lamp. My sweet boy in fresh pajamas. The smell of baby lotion can be intoxicating to a tired mama. It was my time with him. His time with me. Our time to just be the two of us. We rarely get moments like those. So I’ll admit, I clung to them.
The nighttime bottle is one of my favorite times with my children. It’s the wind down time. The sprawl out in mama’s arms time. When I could just look at their little faces and hold their little hands in mine. Their eyes searching in my own. Too young to speak but their eyes say a thousand words. Their little mouth drinks so eagerly. In the spot they are most comfortable. My arms.
In the past months every night Joey would get his sippy cup of milk with his dinner. He would splash in the tub and get scrubbed clean. Clean of marinara sauce, mashed potatoes and if he was lucky, a taste of chocolate pudding. Into his pajamas he went and we would climb into Mini’s bed for a story. Afterwards, like clockwork I would head to the kitchen and fill a bottle with milk. Knowing that it wasn’t necessary. He wouldn’t cry for it. I knew my sleepy boy would just lay down and fall asleep. But I needed it.
I was the one who needed that moment. Likely more so than him. To stare at his soft skin and be reminded of when he was just big enough to fit in the crook of my arm. To think that now his head fits where his whole body once sat. Legs dangling over the side of my body. Tiny toes wiggling as I hum to him.
Tonight we sat in that big chair, just me and my boy and I realized I am ready. I am ready for what’s to come next. I can’t keep him my baby forever. Although I sure would love to. And it’s nice to do things on my terms. Not according to some textbook. I felt that we needed that extra three months of nighttime bottles. And that’s o.k. I’m the mama and I make the rules. And that feels good.