Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
My 17-month-old son refuses to drink from a sippy cup. Turns out, it’s all my fault.
Allow me to explain.
We’ve struggled to get Mason to drink from a sippy cup for months now, and we’ve gotten nowhere. We’ve tried four different sippy cups, all recommended highly by other moms. We’ve offered him cups at the same time every day, for months. We’ve taken sips from his cups to show him how fun it is. We’ve proffered three different kinds of juice, a tactic that worked for other moms but not for us. One day I even forgot to bring his bottle with us to school (truly forgot), and I reasoned that perhaps this was the day he would finally drink from a cup; instead he refused to drink anything all day. You see, despite our best efforts, the child just refuses to kick his bottle habit. He’ll play with the cup, put the spout or straw in his mouth, and grin while he does it–but he still refuses to sip and swallow.
Yesterday morning marked a turning point in how I’m viewing the issue. I had purchased a think baby cup, which is basically a glorified bottle–genius for a kid who is fighting the transition, right?–and I was positive it would work. I filled it up with milk, Mason’s fave beverage (turns out he despises juice), and gave it to him first thing in the morning. He studied the cup carefully, pinched the silicone spout between his fingers, shot me a reproachful look, set the cup down on the floor, and walked away. I attempted to give it to him three more times, and he pushed it away every time. His teacher tried, too, with no luck. Around 2 p.m., I got a text from her that he had rejected the cup twice and thus had not had anything to drink since 8 this morning when I broke down and gave him a bottle.
Frustrated, and at a loss (It’s just hopeless!), I called the pediatrician for advice. He said to give Bug one more month with the bottle as an option, and then to only offer the bottle at night. “For now, be consistent and keep offering him the cup,” he instructed. “If you’re lucky maybe he’ll just start drinking from it on his own.” We’re to act completely neutral. If he chooses to drink from the cup, great. If not, no problem. Otherwise, our doc said, it could become a control thing. Lastly, our doc noted that we are dealing with a disposition issue, not a developmental one. Mason took his sweet time holding his own bottle, he cruised for 7 months before he finally decided to walk (on Christmas, no less), and now he’s making it clear that he just isn’t ready to use a sippy cup. He’s stubborn and this behavioral pattern proves it. (“Good luck potty training,” a coworker who’s aware of our situation quipped.)
Last night I called my mom for her take on all this. “Mom, I just don’t get where this stubborn behavior comes from.” Her response: “Oh, Heather, I can’t imagine,” and then she laughed for a good minute. What? Me? Really? I’ve always had a stubborn streak and a strong personality–but really? Well, yes. She reminded me of the time when I was around 12 and she asked me to do something over and over until I responded, Fine, I’ll do it because I want to–not because you told me too. Apparently that summed up my point of view on almost everything, and it seems to sum up Mason’s POV, too. He’ll do it because he wants to, not because we told him to. “Payback,” my mom laughed. But I prefer to view it as a challenge, and one that I can overcome with patience, time, and a new attitude. Bring it on little boy. Mama knows how to play this game, too.
Does your child have a behavioral trait that your mom considers payback? Or, do you have sippy cup woes of your own? Dish here!