Monday, October 29, 2012

For the sake of his teef

Last Monday, Noah, Blake and I headed down to our local dentist, for an appointment with a purpose. A long, long time ago - sometime around Christmas in 2010, I think - we made Noah give up his pacifier. All went well, if I remember, until we flew to North Carolina the following April. On the 9-hour flight, Noah seemed to cry a lot, and when you're in an enclosed space at 30,000 feet, you do what you can to preserve your and everyone else's sanity. So although we didn't have a pacifier for him, we did have his bottle. At first it had milk in it, but then he drank that and just seemed to get comfort from sucking on the empty bottle, and well, there was peace and quiet and that seemed like a good thing.

Fast forward 18 months, and it'd be difficult to say what Noah liked more - the milk in the bottle or simply the bottle, and having it when he asked for it. "Milk in my bottle" would be the morning wake-up order, and as soon as he came in from nursery he'd also ask, "Where's my bottle?" In situations like this, I often choose the path of least resistance, and so it was that we've now got a beautiful little boy with a pretty misshapen palate and a lovely little lisp that - even if not caused by his bottle - has definitely not been helped by it!

I decided that I am going to get my children's blame for a lot of things in life, no doubt, but that the sooner we tried to break him of the habit, the better it would be. I told Matt that I needed to hear it from the dentist, and so I booked an appointment for him and me. My friend Jenny wisely told me that it might not hurt for Noah to hear it from the dentist that he shouldn't have the bottle, and that was very good advice indeed. When we went for the appointment, I reiterated to Noah what the dentist had said: "No bottles." That night, when Matt came home, Noah told him the message: "The dentist thaid, 'No more bottles.'" Bless him.

That night pretty much sucked, let me tell you. Precisely because, there was no bottle-sucking happening as it usually did in the middle of the night when Noah would wake up and root around for the bottle that he'd fallen asleep with. We decided that because it was going to be hard, that he could sleep with us, and it took me back to scenes of screaming infants and earaches and teething. Noah arched his back and roared that he didn't want to go to bed, and that he wanted to go downstairs and watch tv (it was about 10:00pm by this point). I let him watch a show on my iPhone before finally getting him to nod off, to the tunes of my renditions of "The Wheels on the Bus", "Hush Little Baby", and for some reason (never tried this one before) "Unchained Melody". [probably wouldn't recommend that one for singing without any's very slow and at times I think I nearly started laughing at how awful I was]. At 2:00am Noah woke up, and within seconds starting screaming, "I want the iPad." Yes, that might top a list of the 10 things NEVER heard by a child in 1978. Now, I'm guessing there are others who get that as a request at various points throughout the day; 2:00am is not a good time to hear it, though. We somehow managed through the night, with the next day feeling like one of those where I imagined that the dark circles under my eyes were as big as oceans, although I could not help but feel pride when Noah reported to his nursery teachers that "the dentist thays 'no more bottles'." And he grinned as if he knew that really, he didn't need that bottle and hadn't needed it for the past year or so.

And since then, he has really been so good about not having it. I think on Tuesday night he may have slept with us again, but then we managed to get him to go to sleep in his bed after having his milk in a cow sippy cup (that was funny...he seemed to think initially that a cow says "meow"...but then corrected himself to report that it is "moo". At least if he does think that a cow says "meow", it won't be having a bottle for 2 years longer than he should have that will have caused that confusion!).

Like with so many things with children, it's just amazing how quickly they adapt. Hopefully I have not caused too much permanent damage by not having the guts to take away his bottle sooner. As for guts, I did wash the bottle carefully and put it high up in a kitchen cupboard. Not having a b-o-t-t-l-e in the house seemed too big a leap of faith.


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