The time had come. The chains had to be broken. The cycle had to stop. New rules had to be set in motion. For man does not live on bread alone. (Dramatic enough?)
It was time to wean #8 from his bottle.
Wife informed me of the new policy recently. It is always best to trust her insight on these things. As it turned out, #8 only ever got a bottle any more at bedtime, or at church. And he was now showing symptoms of potty-training. There is no greater enemy to potty-training than a bottle before bed. It is like putting the cat to bed with the dog, and hoping both come through the night.
So there you have it, no more bottles for #8. But it is not always easy.
Bedtime has gotten pretty smooth. But church can be as difficult as holding a frightened kitten to your chest. As soon as Mass starts, #9 will be given his bottle. If #8 got distracted, he might go a half hour before he asked for a bottle. But, if he felt cranky or saw the bottle exchange hands, he might spend the entire celebration complaining to his parents. “I wan baw-doo,” he would whine in a voice that seemed too deep for his little frame.
The other day we went to the evening Mass and #8 felt he deserved more comfort than usual. And, as #9 shared my lap with #8, the bottle slowly drained away before #8’s eyes. He looked like a bulldog at the end of his chain staring at a stray cat eating his pork chop. It should come as no surprise that he began to moan, “I wan baw-doo.” His brows knit and he dropped his chin, as if his words were directed at someone under the pew.
I would have passed off #9, but he was in a foul mood himself and I did not want him to start crying. So I leaned close to #8 and whispered, “You are a big boy now. No more bottles. You need to be a big boy.”
The little boy chewed his finger while thoughts rolled behind his eyes. After a moment, in a voice full of importance and so deep he must have found it in a mineshaft, he declared, “I don’ wan be big boy.”