Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Got milk?

Back before I was a father, milestones were mostly the big things: getting married, earning a promotion, having my car pass the state inspection without needing to fix anything, etc. But having a baby changes your perspective in life. A friend of mine, who has a six-month-old, told me he has redefined a "successful day." He used to work in finance, where success lies in how much big money you can bring in. Now, success to him is sleeping through the night or not getting spit-up all over his clothes. It's the same thing with milestones, and this past weekend our household was ecstatic as Kyle made the switch from formula to whole milk. Granted, this development isn't as exciting for Kyle as the day he moved from a size 2 diaper to a size 3, but it's awfully close.

I do have some concerns about how much I was looking forward to this day. In fact, one of the first things I said to Jennifer when we woke up Sunday was "Happy Milk Day." I took pictures leading up to the Big Event (though not of the feeding itself; Kyle wouldn't have had any if there were a camera in front of him). The only thing preventing me from getting a cake for the occasion is the fact that Kyle hasn't had cake yet. That's to come later. On Cake Day. Kyle drank the milk just like he drank the formula. He might not have been able to tell the difference.

(Above: "There's nothing like an ice cold bottle of milk to get me through the day.")

My excitement over the switch may have been overblown because lack of sleep is making me a wee bit crazy, but believe it or not there IS a real reason to welcome this day: formula stinks. I remember the first time opening up a glass jar of the pre-made stuff and thinking to myself, "I have to feed my child this?" It looked like chocolate milk but smelled like a dead animal. Our child drank it nevertheless. Once Kyle went on a formula-only diet, we started using the powdered kind, which smelled a little better but had its own hangups. The powdered formula comes in a canister similar to those that hold Kool-Aid, except these canisters cost about ten times more. They're a lot scarier, too. Unlike Kool-Aid, these canisters warn that failure to follow their intricate instructions can cause "SEVERE HARM," such as a bad stomach ache, limb dismemberment, or addiction to reality TV. The label also says that the formula spoils unnaturally fast, so if you don't shove the bottle into your child's mouth as soon as you make it, you're too late and you must go out and buy another three-hundred-dollar canister.

The worst part was actually mixing the stuff. First of all, the water had to be pure, so each morning we had to boil a day's worth of the brown stuff that runs through our old New York apartment's pipes. Once the stuff cooled down, we had to measure the precise amount of water with the precise amount of powder to prevent the SEVERE HARM. Our kitchen quickly became cluttered with measuring cups. Traveling with the stuff wasn't fun, either. Because of the formula's spoiling power, we would take the water and powder separately, to be mixed on location. The powder we'd put in little sandwich bags, which we'd twist tightly and seal with a trash-tie. It looked like we were carrying narcotics. Between the powder bags and our bong-shaped baby bottles, I'm surprised we weren't stopped at airport security more often. All that prep beforehand didn't always pay off, as sometimes half the powder would end up on my lap during the mixing process.

But now that's all a thing of the past. We've thrown out our last container of formula, and now we're living in the age of whole milk. There's only one stage left on Kyle's path to feeding utopia... I'm sure Chocolate Syrup Day is just around the corner.

1 comment:

JoannaP said...

Milk rocks...if he can drink cow's milk. I've got one kid addicted to vanilla soy milk. And another kid on the crack of all cracks - strawberry milk. He sees the strawberry syrup bottle and practically jumps out of the high chair with excitement.
Chocolate syrup day will be life altering for Kyle. Then ice cream with sprinkles day...then soft pretzel day...then DD munchkins day. Yep, he's got a quite a lot to look forward to.