I get along great with my son, Everett. I realize this may not seem like the most amazing feat considering he is only four-months-old. He basically gets along with anyone who is willing to lift him in the air or make a few funny noises. I do think Everett feels really close to me, and prefers my company to almost any other person on this planet. Once again, I admit the amount of people he knows is rather limited, but I have to claim victory where I can.
It is great that Everett enjoys my company, because there have been several occasions where the two of us have had to hang out together. Emily has got involved with a few activities that work a lot better without a baby clinging to her side, and so during those times, Everett stays home with daddy. Nine out of ten times, things turn out to be really smooth. I make Everett laugh, he makes me smile, and at some point, he falls asleep on my shoulder. It isn’t the most thrilling routine, but it is one I cherish.
But there is that pesky one out of ten times. The time Everett is not the relaxed and calm baby that I adore, but instead a rage of tears and saliva. This usually means that Everett has become hungry, and he is less than impressed with what daddy can offer.
Everett took to breastfeeding really quickly. This is obviously a great thing, but it also meant we immediately wiped bottle feeding from our minds. Emily is on maternity leave, and so, we knew she’d be around to offer up dinner. We did recognize there would be times I’d be alone with Everett or we would need someone to look after him, but other than that, we didn’t think there was much need to bottle feed him.
In February there were a few times that Emily was gone for an extended period of time, and so I bottle fed Everett. We went on a Valentine’s date, and left Everett with my mom who bottle fed him. He took to the bottle quickly, so we never worried about it after that.
Then we didn’t bottle feed for a month and a half. I still looked after Everett when Emily left the house, but she was never gone long enough to worry about feeding him or pumping any milk for me (which meant I sang silly songs until mom came to the rescue). Everett ended up just breastfeeding for the rest of February and all of March, and we didn’t think it was anything to worry about.
Until April rolled around, Emily was going to be gone for several hours, and Everett would need to at least have two feedings (our boy loves his breast milk). I wasn’t worried initially, because Emily pumped the milk. We assumed if he was hungry enough, then he would drink from the bottle. Besides, even though it had been about a month and a half, he had used the bottle before. We didn’t imagine there would be a problem.
Alas, the foolish confidence of parents. I proceeded to spend over two hours begging my son to drink from the bottle. He continued to sing a sad song about how this bottle was not his mommy’s breast. Actually, it got to the point where the bottle was actually causing him to burst into tears. He’d let out a few whines for some food, and I’d bring the bottle to his mouth, and he’d give me this “I just ate a whole lemon” face then unleash the cries. Then he’d torment me with his sad eyes, as if he was wondering why I was torturing him with this poor imitation breast.
Emily has been left at home many times with Everett. She looks after Everett throughout the day while I work in my office. I only look after him by myself for a few hours a week. So, I’m sure one would love to tease me and claim, “Ha, you only have a few hours and you can’t keep your son happy?” Well, Emily has a very unfair advantage in the “looking after Everett” competition. She has instant access to Everett’s food, and has the milk giving apparatus of choice. I’m stuck with wielding an object that my son seems to believe is a weapon of torture. A month and half of pure breast feeding has turned my son into a nipple snob.
Don’t feel too bad for me though. We’ve decided it might be the bottle’s fault (my first break up all over again, “it isn’t you, it’s me”). We’re going to try a few strategies to convince Everett that occasional bottle feeds can be a wonderful treat. But that night of bottle torture did teach me that even though I think I am a great parent and I know my son loves me, my wife still has one major advantage that makes her the top parent.