Tonight my husband and I said goodbye to something that has been a major part of our lives for over 4 years and through two babies. It was time (actually, according to Plunket, it was well past time!). We did it without fanfare and there's no-one who will notice any change in our lives. Tonight, we gathered up our collection of baby bottles and threw them away. Bits of plastic filled with history, fling … gone.
But I’m one of those who firmly believes in the marking of transitions, and those small plastic containers held so many moments for us, so we took one at a time and said our piece over it before flinging it into the recycling bin.
- For the first time I attached a funnel to my breast and pumped pure love into you so my husband could give you to my tiny baby while I cried upstairs because (a) that tiny stubborn baby wouldn’t accept a bottle if I was in the room but (b) I was going back to work in a week and that stubborn baby needed to learn to drink from it. Ping. Gone.
- For the hundreds of times after that first time that I attached that same funnel, so that in the end I was like an SAS troop member assembling a gun … click, twist, rustle, snap … pump … done! Ping. Gone.
- For the many mornings I expressed milk into you, while half dressed in work clothes, one eye on the clock, wishing I was feeding it to my baby myself. Ping. Gone.
- - For the many times I bared my breast at work to fill you with my body’s love while trying not to freeze to death in the basement sick room. Ping. Gone.
- For the first time I filled you at work and then, sobbing, had to empty you down the sink because the milk was filled with drugs and I could no longer give it to my baby but my breasts couldn’t understand that they weren’t needed. Ping. Gone.
- For the first time I filled you with formula and prayed to whoever was listening that I wasn’t the world’s worst mother for resorting to formula in order to save my sanity and loosen the superwoman cape that was threatening to strangle me. Ping. Gone.
- For the many nights we filled you and gave you to a crying baby in desperate, pleading hope that the screaming was simply hunger. Ping. Gone.
- For the few and not-very-successful times we mixed antibiotics into milk/formula in you and handed you to a baby … only to have to retrieve it from wherever it was thrown. Ping. Gone.
- For the hundreds of times we trudged to the kitchen, squinting in the light at 2, 3, 4a.m. to fill you with formula. Ping. Gone.
- For the many times recently we’ve been asked to go and get you, duly warmed milk and filled you, only to find you still full an hour later, clasped tightly in a toddler’s sleeping hand … quite obviously no longer needed but clung to out of habit and warmth. Ping. Gone.
- For the many hundreds of times we’ve washed, scrubbed and sterilized you. Ping. Gone.
Dear bottles. We can’t honestly say we’ll miss you, but you kept us company through the rockiest, loveliest, hardest, scariest and most tiring part of our lives (so far). Rest easy as a polyprop jumper somewhere keeping someone else warm … unless, of course, you turn up back on our doorstep on Thursday morning with a notice stuck to you announcing that the Council doesn’t recycle this kind of plastic.