Apparently Maddie’s father (StayHomePaPa) has been quite guilty of doing everything for the baby and not letting her learn to do things for herself. Especially when it comes to crawling and feeding. This may be true to some degree, but I’m working hard to turn some of these trends around.
My newest project is to get Maddie to hold her own bottle while she’s drinking milk. So far this has been an exercise in futility. Maddie acts like Smeagol aka Gollum from Lord of the Rings when she assumes control of her bottle.
The bottle is her “Precious.” She talks to it, hugs it, swings it around and even nips at it. This afternoon she whapped me with the bottle and then launched it across the room, but not before spraying milk all over her face and the couch.
The one thing I can’t get her to do with “precious” is actually drink from it. Once she gets her paws on the bottle, everything morphs into a mystical game instead of her prominent food source.
The real excitement begins once the bottle no longer commands her attention. Today after drinking less than an eighth of her bottle, she tried to throw herself off of the couch a couple of times for good luck.
When she realized that escape wasn’t an option, she kept putting her toes near my mouth. I kept saying, “No thank you!” Yet she found this toe interaction completely hilarious and could not stop giggling with delight. After growing tired of having her toes nibbled on, Maddie let loose with a long string of splattering raspberries. This spittle and milk cocktail sprayed the both of us, again much to her delight.
Then she squirmed until her back was firmly on the couch and her legs were left on my lap. This triggered Maddie’s full scale Pilates workout. Her churning legs did their best to seek out and pummel my groin area. You could tell the baby felt better with each direct hit. I thwarted her blows with my extended arm until she decided to change tactics.
This is when she grasped my forearm and thrust it into her mouth. If you can’t enjoy milk, at least enjoy the flesh of a fellow human being. During her feeding frenzy on my arm, she lost her balance and face-planted on the couch.
As usual, honey badger didn’t care. No pain, no gain. I helped her up and she resumed her vicious attack. We had a great time – but she is no closer to taking the bottle by the horns and doing the work herself.
For the last six months, I have forced myself not to waste any space on this topic. Today, the wonderful people at Playtex have finally broken me down.
If you work for Playtex, it’s probably better that you skip this article. I don’t know anything about any other Playtex products, but its baby bottle division should be shuttered today. I mean clear out the plant and have it hermetically sealed so that the atmosphere is not contaminated by its vapors of ineptitude.
For such a simple device as a baby’s bottle, I have run into leaky bottles far too many times to mention. When getting a bottle ready to feed my sweet six-month-old daughter, I rate my chances of success at somewhere below 70 percent. That’s never good when you have a baby that is adamant about being fed in a timely manner.
For the first couple weeks of parenting you just blame yourself. I must be doing it wrong – maybe the bottom isn’t on properly, the sun was in my eyes, blah, blah, blah. But after preparing 4 to 6 bottles a day for six months – I have a pretty good idea of how the process is supposed to work. However, despite my best efforts, the bottles still leak, time and time again. Sometimes it leaks in the sink, other times all over the baby and most of the time on me.
Maybe I just got one bad batch of bottles? No dice. I have replaced the bottles on too many occasions. Sometimes by the pack, sometimes individually – but about 3 out of every ten bottles still spring the mysterious leak.
Why not get rid of the bad ones? Tried that to. Started cutting them in half after each mishap. This just led to a bottle shortage in the house.
When you constantly face a 30% chance of failure for something as simple as making a bottle – it can become a bit frustrating. Like most things in today’s society, these bottles are obviously designed to break down quickly. I suppose that’s supposed to be a good marketing strategy, but I’m not a big fan.
I think we would actually have more luck with one of those beer bong hats. It only took me 6-months to figure it out, but rest assured, Playtex has worn out its welcome for our baby!
If we thought coming home might improve the parental sleep situation, we were sorely mistaken. Maddie burned the evening and midnight oil and then basically dropped an all-nighter in our laps. This once again left her parents comatose and in need of some serious sleep.
Even though there was no rest for the weary and downtrodden – we still had a wonderful day immersed in family time with the baby. Once again, Maddie had no interest in a nap – but she spent the day completely basking in the attention that both parents were heaping upon her.
Maddie sat on my lap and engaged me in a 20-minute conversation this morning that still has me smiling. Since she’s only 5-months-old, I didn’t completely understand anything that she said to me, but it all seemed to be of a demonstrative nature.
We actually had multiple conversations through out the day and one of them involved no verbal communication whatsoever. We both registered a series of expressions, smiles, knowing looks and hand gestures – but never made a sound. This is an area we will have to look into more closely in the near future.
Our other project today involved trying to get Maddie interested in the institution of real food. She is becoming ravenous, but we still can’t get her to eat. Maddie actually does eat, she just won’t swallow anything that doesn’t come from the bottle. Gina made a good point this evening: “Maddie puts everything in her mouth but food!”
We have been trying to feed the baby rice cereal – but it’s not working out. She lets it roll into her mouth, but that’s as far as it goes. She’s decided that she can actually eat without having to swallow. Unfortunately, this method is not satisfying her insatiable hunger and that naturally leads to multiple nighttime bottle-feedings.
Tomorrow we will try feeding her solid food at first light. Hopefully this will work itself out very soon. If not, it will be difficult for Maddie to enjoy sleepovers in the future if her parents still have to feed her every three hours.
Maddie decided that due to recent shortcomings in the feeding process, she was ready to grab the bull by the horns, literally! The little girl has always sported an impressive grip, but we still thought it would be some time before she was able to hold onto the bottle all by herself.
Well with Maddie, the surprises just keep on coming.
Maddie and her mom were knocking out the night time feeding when the baby decided that enough was enough. The bottle was within reach and the little girl made her grab for glory! The baby stripped the bottle away like a linebacker and just kept on drinking – didn’t even spill a drop. Maddie’s mom says it all just happened so fast.
Gina eyed the baby with curiosity and disbelief in her eyes – “John,” she called, “C’mere, hurry!”
I rushed into the room and sure enough, Maddie had a kung fu death grip (both hands) locked onto the bottle. As usual, she was gulping it down as if these were the last precious ounces that might ever pass her lips. She had the look that seemed to say, “I have assumed control of this bottle. Any attempts to dislodge or take this bottle away will be met with brute force. Resistance is futile!”
It will still be sometime before the baby can actually feed herself, but for one triumphant evening, she cut the parents out of the food consumption process and made a statement about what we might expect in the months to come.
“You have interfered with my meals for the last time,” inferred Maddie. “The next time I don’t get the bottle when I want it, you will have to deal with these super human hands of destruction.”
It seems that Maddie would have us believe that she has already had her hands registered as lethal weapons. Don’t get me wrong, she does have an amazing grip – but she might have to keep her ridiculous parents around for just a little bit longer, possibly for burping purposes.
Maddie has never been overly impressed with the people tasked to feed her – but some recent stumbles during the feeding process have forced the baby to reevaluate the competency of the people around her.
For the second time in two days – our household has been rocked by catastrophic nipple failures. This occurs when you are more than halfway through a bottle-feeding and the nipple jams up. But there is no way for the feeder to know this and the only way to discover that this breakdown has taken place is the rising anxiety of a very frustrated baby.
Maddie quickly determines that this nipple stoppage is the result of saboteurs bent on starving her to death. She starts to flail as the ignorant feeder fumbles for an explanation. The baby’s eyes are on fire now as a crimson hue rises from her cheeks and creeps up to her forehead. Then the screaming kicks in as the feeder struggles to contemplate the cause of this latest outburst.
- Is it gas? Attempts to burp go very badly.
- Is it the diaper? You just made things worse.
- Place the bottle back in the mouth? Now you really did it!
The temper tantrum has reached fever pitch and the little girl has turned to the dark side! The feeder is reeling now, trying to figure out what to do tied down to the train tracks as a 60 mph freight train is only moments from impact.
Wait, it’s never happened before, but – could there be a problem with the bottle? I point the infernal device at my arm and squeeze. Not a drop?? Go to DEFCON 3, we have complete nipple failure.
By this time the baby is insane. It’s time for the Ozzy Osbourne emergency procedure – bite the head off of the nipple and execute a commando roll into the kitchen for a new one. Tough to do with the baby in one arm, but it’s the last and only hope for survival. With a bomb maker’s precision, the new nipple is secured using only one hand.
The hysterical child finally gets the repaired bottle and suddenly the house falls quiet. The feeder is left with their muddled thoughts, punishing headache and a wild disdain for those evil nipple gods!
Don’t doubt it for a second when I tell you that Mad Maddie really knows how to throw a late-night party. Our little girl has been very busy lately; adding new twists and turns to her complicated little personality. The newest wrinkle comes in the form of temper tantrums during burping time. This is especially difficult, because burping time is obviously directly linked to feeding time.
This was not always the case – since the beginning, Maddie would take an ounce – Then get a burp – Take another ounce and another burp and so on. Well, apparently our little girl is rewriting the script and has deemed the old format to be completely unacceptable. Her new mindset is that the burping process is some evil plot to starve her to death.
Now when Maddie takes in an ounce, going in for the burp has become a Greek Tragedy where she suddenly erupts like a giant Marlin that’s just been snagged in the ocean.
The meltdown is instantaneous – screaming, flailing and unbridled craziness. Once she finally burps, we go back to the bottle and the trauma has evaporated, but only until the next burp. Therefore, if you have five ounces in the bottle, it translates into five super nova eruptions. (Compliments of Mad Maddie)
How much fun it that? Right?? This has made the late night/early morning feeding process a thing of joy and beauty forever. It also means that whoever is in the house, is treated to the gentle sounds of Maddie’s sonic screams until her hunger has finally abated. I can only hope that this particular stage in her development wraps up in seven or eight years.