When Garrett turned one we transitioned him from formula to whole milk and once that seemed to settle we started the process of switching him from bottles to sippy cups. To our surprise, as we replaced the bottles with sippy cups and condensed the number of feedings, he started to eat more solids and in turn sleep better through the night. In hindsight it makes sense, but in the thick of first time parenting every change and new process seems like a puzzle.
Over the course of a few weeks we had whittled him down to a single bottle a day, given at bedtime, and we knew he was probably ready to trade that out for a sippy cup as well.
Last Saturday we spent a banner summer day playing outside, reading books, taking walks, swimming, and eating watermelon. Levi and I gave Garrett his evening bath and I carried Garrett up to his room, his arms draped around my neck, his still slightly-damp hair curling, and his sweet, soft skin smelling of soap.
I rocked him and gave him his bottle and after I laid him in his crib I padded down the stairs and started rinsing out the sippy cups from the day and the bottle I had just given him and I realized that I had probably given him the last bottle I would ever give him.
Steam from the hot water in the sink filled the air and I thought about the hundreds of bottles Levi and I had given him over the past 14 months and the daily routine of putting a kettle on to boil each evening to wash the mountain that grew throughout the day.
No more bottles, to me, meant he was really out of the baby phase.
I felt silly for being so sad over something as simple as giving him a bottle. But I think the weight of knowing I’d never give him one again–and that I didn’t realize that before giving him the last bottle–was at the core of it.
How many lasts will I miss and not know it to be the last?
Parenthood seems to be this joyous and tiring march towards our children achieving milestones, and celebrating and being so proud of them (and ourselves) when they hit them, but what no one tells you ahead of time is that is also combined with waves of grief for the passing of each previous stage our child was in.
Maybe the feeling is something you learn to expect and know. Maybe it’s not. As I already said, in the thick of first time parenting every change and new process seems like a puzzle. But as I pack up the bottles this morning I know that Garrett is healthy and growing and thriving, and that there is so much more to celebrate on the horizon than there is to be sad over.