Don’t mess with the Munchkin

Yesterday, I finally bought myself a copy of What to Expect The Toddler Years, from the same authors of the classic What to Expect When You’re Expecting and What to Expect The First Year. It is reassuring in some ways to read up and realize that the Munchkin is a pretty normal toddler. Also good was the section on toddlers as siblings – something only lightly covered in the previous books. But in the course of reading, I realized that the Munchkin is almost 18 months old and still gets a bottle every morning and night. She drinks from a cup at all other times, but still has the comfort of a bottle at those times. Okay, but it is time to move on, I reasoned. So the morning bottle will go first. She will just eat a normal breakfast earlier.

I discussed this with the Webmaster last night, and we decided to reduce her morning bottle by an ounce or so every morning (she only got a maximum of five at a time), so that by this Sunday, she would get up and eat a normal breakfast before church, instead of her routine of having her bottle and then getting a breakfast of goldfish crackers in the church nursery, and coming home tired and starved for lunch. So the order went forth – 3 ounces of milk this morning, and then breakfast as usual.

The morning did not go as well as planned. The phone woke us up early – the Webmaster was needed at work (which he could do from home). The Munchkin woke up, but played in her crib pretty happily until she decided that she’d been ignored long enough and where the heck was that bottle?!?

The Webmaster showed up in her room with her “ba-ba” that only had the 3 ounces, and proceeded to do the normal morning chores – change her diaper, wipe her nose off of all the crusties it developed overnight (her nose is running due to teething) – but by the time he finished those, the “ba-ba” was empty. And there was weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

To be blunt, she gave us unshirted hell. Ohhh, she was mad. Indignant tears and waving the bottle around in her father’s face – where’s the rest, old man? It was a pathetic performance. She deserves an Oscar for it. Her father and I were desperately trying not to laugh in her face. It was the funniest thing – except that she was really upset. I finally got her calmed down and said, “Let’s go have breakfast,” to which she promptly assented and ate quite happily. Her “nana” (banana) and cinnamon toast went down quite easily.

I called her grandma to share the amusement of the morning, who said, “Well, she does get milk from those bottles, and it’s only twice a day – I’m not sure I’d cut them out that fast.” I did point out that I’m trying to get her to eat breakfast earlier, to which Grandma agreed wasn’t a bad thing, so long as she got plenty of milk. But it was a light moment in Grandma’s day, who has always asserted that this granddaughter has a strong will and that we should never let her learn any profanity. She herself has witnessed the Munchkin chewing people out in her own language, and has been reduced to giggles over it.

So, lesson learned. The Munchkin does not like to be messed with. The morning bottle is still on the way out, though. And God Almighty help us when her baby brother arrives.

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