I weaned Leighton from her bedtime baba in one protest-filled evening last August, in much the same way I recently helped her break her pacifier habit.
She's been able to drink from a straw since eight months. This little trick came in handy when I forgot to pack an extra bottle or was out and about for a longer stretch than anticipated. And so, we replaced the bedtime baba with warm milk in a straw cup to be consumed prior to brushing teeth and heading up to bed.
This beverage started as straight whole milk, but somewhere along the line, we began adding a splash of Very Vanilla Silk to add some interest. On the rare occasion we were out of Silk, I substituted with hazelnut coffee creamer. It's nuts, I know. This sophisticated version of the nighttime baba was Leighton's evening latte - or batte (bah-tay) as it came to be called.
To add to the ceremoniousness of the whole thing, I would make a cup of hazelnut decaf for myself half hazelnut creamerand Lei and I would sit on two bottom stairs and drink our latte/batte while recounting the events of the day. Both Lei and I looked forward to our latte/batte ritual.
Notice I said "looked" as in past tense. There's a reason. Let me explain.
Leading up to the potty training fiasco, Leighton and I discussed the difference between "Big Girls" and babies and listed many of the activities in which a big girl may or may not engage.
A big girl articulates her needs using her words. Babies cry and babble.
A big girl dresses and feeds herself. Babies need lots of help doing both.
A big girl drinks from a cup. Babas are for babies.
A big girl sleeps in a bed. Preferably her own. Babies sleep in cribs.
A big girl doesn't need a nukka. Pacifiers are strictly for babies with no teeth.
Most obviously to suit the purpose at hand, a big girl wears underpants. Babies wear diapers.
Come on Leighton, you're a big sister now. It's time to start acting like one.
Leighton communicates better than some adults. She dresses herself and buckles her shoes. She feeds herself and drinks from a cup. She moved from a crib to a toddler bed without flinching and although it was painful at first, and she's likely holding a bit of a grudge, she lets her sister sleep in her old crib without a fuss.
Lei reluctantly ditched her baba but made the best of the batte substitution. By the time she was forced to forfeit her nukka, the big girl sacrifices and big-sister talk began to seriously piss her off. Once we added the underpants pressure, Lei reached her breaking point.
All of this "big girl" talk intesified the difference between baby Lei and big girl Lei and the way she sees herself. The flat out refusal to potty train is my toddler taking a temporary stand on that issue and putting the breaks on growing up. However, she added a few big girl objectives of her own and met them at once with nothing more than self-imposed restriction.
Leighton stopped asking to be carried up and down stairs. She quit asking for her silky ribbon blankets (we have at least fifteen that my mom made) in bed, in the car and even at nap time. And, perhaps to punish me by depriving me of one of my favorite Leighton/mom rituals, she just gave up the batte. Bummer for mama.
I'm still hoping she changes her mind.