"Bubba? Bubba!?! BubAHHHH!" the beast who had replaced our daughter screeched as I fumbled with the buttons on her jammies in my rush to get her changed for bed. She wriggled and writhed and even refused to let Eric give her a good-night kiss.
Madeline continued to cry and whine until she was nestled safely in my lap and her bottle was in her greedy hands. As soon as she started gulping down the milk, her body relaxed and her eyes rolled back in her head in relief.
We knew the bedtime bottle had to go sooner rather than later, but when Madeline started throwing tantrums whenever it didn't reach her mouth fast enough, we knew the bubba had overstayed its welcome.
Except for the last, tenacious bedtime bubba, Madeline hasn't been drinking out of a bottle since last summer. At first we kept it to make sure she was getting enough liquids. Then we kept it because it made the whole wretched bedtime ritual much, much easier. Recently, we've kept it up because she loves it and demands it even though it no longer helps put her to sleep.
Expecting a long and treacherous battle, we decided that February vacation would be the perfect time to say goodbye to the bubba. If it meant long nights of temper tantrums and tears, at least Eric and I could sleep in till the blessed hour of 6 the next morning and not have to worry about work.
Therefore, last night was the first night of our no bubba policy. I held my breath, crossed my fingers, and whispered a prayer as we turned off the lights to settled Madeline down for bed for the first time in her life without the comfort of milk.
Miraculously, I was met only with the peaceful sound of the ocean over Madeline's noise maker. There were no tears, tantrums, or hours spent by Madeline's crib trying to calm her down.
She sat in my lap as she does every night, sucked on her pacifier, and started to doze off. She didn't mention the B-word once. After ten minute of cuddling, I moved Madeline to her crib. It may have taken her a little longer than normal to settle down, but within the hour, she was asleep.
I just finished putting Madeline to bed for the second night in a row without the bubba. Tonight was a happy repeat of last night's bedtime...except for the fact that after about two minutes of cuddling, she demanded to be moved to her crib so that she could be with her stuffed bear.
Last night bubba went bye bye. Tonight I guess it was Mumma's turn.
This makes me wonder: how often do we as parents hold back our children because it's really us who need the comforting?
In the case of the baby who sleeps in her parents' bedroom until she's two because she can't stand to be alone, or the kid who can't cut his own food, or the kid who clings to her mother's leg the entire time she's at the playground, how often is it really the kid who needs the reassurance? Maybe it's just that the parents want to be needed.
In our case, the bubba issue apparently wasn't an issue at all. Madeline is doing just fine without it. As for Mumma? I'm typing at the computer feeling a bit sad about being replaced by a stuffed bear named Olaf. The long nights of rocking my little baby to sleep in my arms are officially over. The bedtime bubba was the last link.
Our little baby is becoming our little lady. Sad but sweet.