It's no secret, the Bitty Princess (who we refer to as Queen Bee around our house, and the above picture explains why perfectly) has struggled with bottle addiction for the past two years. We've tried on numerous occasions to break her habit, but the 3am fits always seemed to win out, causing me to cave, and hand her not one, but TWO "babas" in hopes of getting her back to sleep as quickly as possible, without waking anyone else in the house.
I had become an enabler. Wanting so badly just to sleep through the night, clouded judgment and life in survival mode kept me from putting an end to her problem.
She demanded her apple juice straight, followed by a milk chaser.
Finally, after a rough night of dealing with Queen Bee's all night antics (read: SHE WOKE ME UP SEVEN TIMES FOR HER BABAS. SEVEN. AS IN, MORE TIMES THAN SHE DID WHEN SHE WAS THREE DAYS OLD. SORRY, I'M SHOUTING AT YOU. BUT I'M SO SERIOUS. SEVEN TIMES. I COUNTED. AND NEARLY LOCKED HER IN THE CAR.) she and I had a come to Jesus moment the next morning. We discussed how big of a girl she was and that most two year olds don't have bottles anymore. She agreed to help pack them all up, so around the house we went, looking in all her usual hiding spots.
Given our history, I knew the only option was to get them OUT of the house, and I knew exactly where to take them. I told the Queen Bee we were taking her beloved Babas to a place they could live happily, a place I could live happily too. My home away from home. My safe place. PUBLIX.
On the way there, I turned around to find her like this. Part of my heart ached. These had been her best friends and comforters for so long. Her only pacifiers. Was I weaning her too quickly? (Don't laugh. Her Highness sucked her thumb until she was 4 1/2... Thunder took a bottle until he was 3, Lightning and Hail fought over passies until they were almost 4 and 3, and Flash Flood still sucks his thumb at 4. I'm not a huge fan of taking away the ONE thing that calms them quickly and makes car trips peaceful.) Would she end up in therapy one day because I was too hasty in this decision? She is my BABY after all. Is giving her what her heart truly desires the worst thing in the world? I quickly snapped out of it when I caught my reflection in the rearview mirror and saw Tommy Lee Jones' worthy bags under my eyes.
We reached our haven, and she squealed, "PUH-LIX!!" I prepped her once more... "Remember, we're going to take all your babas into Publix and LEAVE them here. So little babies who need them can have them when they come grocery shopping. Got it? And you get to pick out a new cup! Because you're a BIG GIRL. You don't need a baba! Those are for babies." "Otay! I gib dem my babas." Was all she said. She insisted on walking in by herself, refusing to be carried. My baby was already slipping away. Taking a deep breath, I headed in behind her.
I can't say enough about how much I love my Publix. We were greeted immediately by our favorite bagger, Justin, who helped talk up our big girl's big move. She marched on over to the cup aisle and chose her new cups.
After picking up a few other things, (in other words, a couple hundred dollars in groceries. We keep Publix electricity turned on, I'm certain.) we headed to the checkout. Queen Bee proudly walked her bag of babas over to the check-out clerk as I explained what we were doing. Sweet lady grinned ear and bragged on the Bitty Princess for her willingness to share with all the babies who come shopping there.
The Bitty Princess took all the bottles out, one at a time and told her what color each was.. "Dis one PINK!... Dis one YEW-OH!" As usual, the sweet Publix employee went above and beyond my expectations. She patiently listened to the Bitty Princess, even though a line was beginning to form. She looked up and smiled at the customers waiting behind me and said, "This is going to take just another minute." The Bitty Princess finally finished and told them all bye.
"Bye-bye babas. Mmmwaaah." She said, blowing a kiss as she took them away. She then hugged the college aged girl bagging our groceries, who said to me, "Awww, I'm tearing up! I can't believe you're not!" I made a joke about not sleeping for over ten years, and looking forward to hopefully finally getting some sleep, but I had a huge lump in my throat.
The Bitty Princess handled it like a champ. Her lip quivered as we left the store, but she quit the moment I reminded her about her new cups. "Otay. I a big guwl!" That first night she only had one complete melt down, where she wailed, "GO BACK TO PUH-LIX AND GIT MY BABAS!" but that was it. Since then, she's done great. As usual with taking away their lovies, I think the anticipation was harder than actually doing it. Harder on me than her, that's for sure.
And then, the next night, something ah-mazing happened...For the first time in over ten years, NO ONE WOKE ME UP ALL NIGHT LONG. SORRY I'M SCREAMING AT YOU AGAIN, BUT DO YOU KNOW HOW THAT FEELS AFTER A DECADE OF BEING HELD HOSTAGE TO YOUR CHILDREN'S HORRIBLE SLEEP HABITS? AMAZING, I TELL YOU!
Unfortunately, old habits die hard...
I suggested we put either the apple juice or the milk back in the fridge. It didn't go over well. Queen Bee can only handle so many changes at one time. As long as she keeps sleeping through the night, she can have what she wants in those cups during the day.