Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Life of a Parent: Panic, Heartbreak and Guilt

I am in a small state of panic.

And I have been for about two hours now.

Tonight was the night. We had it all planned out. The menu included all of the favorites: pizza, mac n' cheese, honey dew melon and grapes. Not the healthiest, but we knew they would chow it down. We knew it would fill them up.

That part wasn't scary.

They ate like champs, and I was able to hold off the panic through dinner. I kept glancing back at Grace to double check she was eating. She's been known to be a finicky eater (as if you didn't already know that.) But she was eating, and I was grateful for that.

But the time had come. We were cutting out our evening bottle tonight.

And yes, we are still doing bottles. Twice a day. One before nap and one before bed time. They don't take them to bed with them, but it's ingrained in our routine so much that I've been dreading this day.

The breakfast bottle and the mid-afternoon bottle were easy. What possible damage could cutting out those bottles cause? A hungrier baby? Easy solution. Just feed them a little early or give them a snack before the next meal. Cake.

But these last two bottles … these are the doozies.

I love my children to the moon and back, but I get two breaks a day and I desperately need those breaks.

Taking out either of these bottles jeopardizes my sanity.

It jeopardizes the light at the end of the tunnel every day.

It jeopardizes the peace we have struggled so, so hard to achieve.

So, you can understand my panic. My fear of going back to the days where one or both would scream before falling asleep.

Yesterday, after the bottle, after the diaper changes, after the PJs, after the book, they giggled. And giggled and giggled. Then laid down quietly and drifted off to sleep.

Today, Grace cried. She cried during the diaper changes, during the PJs, during the book and while we laid her down.

It broke my heart a hundred times over as I had to walk away, leaving her wondering why we forgot to give her the bottle.

Then she cried and cried and cried.

And my panic and my guilt and my heartbreak sat in my stomach until about five minutes ago.

She has stopped crying (Claire never did show signs of missing the bottle, for the record) and it sounds like they are both sleeping.

My panic has subsided and now I'm just hoping we make it through the night and wake up at a relatively normal hour.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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