History is full of ferocious battles: the Battle of Waterloo. Bull Run. The Battle of Britain. Custer’s Last Stand.
Trust me. All these wars pale in comparison to the battle we’re waging now with Kevin, our two and half year old grandson, over his “baba mook."
In retrospect, with my own kids, weaning them off the breast or bottle was ridiculously easy. No terrible tantrums. No screaming, kicking, biting, or hair pulling.
Kevin is a different ball of wax. When it comes to his bottle, he brings new meaning to the word “resistant.”
I’ve consulted the internet experts and tried all their tips: ease the kid off the bottle gradually, introduce the sippy cup, praise the child for being a big boy or girl who doesn’t need a bottle anymore. Sounds simple, right?
Clearly, these experts never had to deal with a child as stubborn and as headstrong as Kevin. Truly, cement blocks are more malleable.
In every other respect, Kevin is a good-natured, sweet boy who dotes on his daddy and grandpa. He loves his toy trucks. He adores Mikey, his older cousin. He's affectionate and loves to cuddle…mostly with his baba.
We know it’s way past time for Kevin to be drinking from a cup. The pediatrician gives my daughter the stink eye when she sees the death grip Kevin has on his bottle.
“He’s too old for a bottle,” the doctor insists, as if she’s telling us something we don’t already know. We get it, but try telling that to Kevin.
Plus, Kevin has now discovered that he can bite into the plastic nipple with shark like precision and rip it to shreds. Then, he turns his baba upside down and gleefully sprays milk all over the place. One day he’ll make a great firefighter.
“Dir dir!” Kevin happily shouts as he points at the puddles. Yes, it’s cute as hell, but that’s not the point.
We started when Kevin was around eighteen months. We bought an arsenal of sippy cups: with straws, without straws, lids, no lids, all decorated with a dizzying array of cartoon characters and zoo animals.
No fool, Kevin batted all the cups away and swung his baba at us like a machete.
“You’re a big boy now!” we’d say.
“No big boy!” Kevin would respond through his gritted baba.
We finally decided to go cold turkey. Kevin screamed so loudly, I thought for sure the neighbors would call child protection services on us. After a few days, though, it seemed as if Kevin had gotten the message. He drank from his Lightning McQueen sippy, albeit grudgingly, and only got his beloved baba at nap time and night-night.
Just when we were ready to break out the champagne, the unspeakable happened. Kevin got sick – a cold, then bronchitis. Of course he wanted his baba for comfort. And of course, we gave it to him. Since then, Kevin has held on tight to his baba and he won’t let go, no matter what we try, say or do.
He's extremely intelligent. He understands the concept of drinking from a cup. When I pour myself a glass of orange juice, he runs up, grabs it, and gulps it down. He’ll drink water, lemonade or apple juice with a straw – but the baba is never far from his sight. When it comes to his bottle, Kevin is like a heat seeking missile.
Appealing to Kevin’s better nature does no good. He has a cousin due to arrive in a few months. The kid could care less.
“You have to give your baba's to Baby Audrey!” we say.
“No Baby Audrey!” Kevin shouts, thrusting his baba at us like Jon Snow’s sword in Game of Thrones.
As a last measure, we packed up all the bottles and put them away in the basement. We told Kevin all the bottles were gone. Ha! That lasted maybe an hour (and I’m being generous). The flailing. The waterworks. The drama. It was an Oscar worthy performance. Kevin was exhausted. We were exhausted.
I keep telling myself it’s a phase. Kevin will give the bottle up when he’s good and ready. I mean, have you ever seen a college graduate accept his diploma with a bottle hanging from his mouth?
Then again, there’s always a first time.