We did it! We finally said goodbye to the pacifier and yes, I said ‘we’. We because it was a group effort. I think in some ways we were ALL dependent on the pacifier. It was always there for us when we needed it or when we simply need a quick solution to calming our almost three-year-old down. She was attached to it longer than we anticipated. We wanted to give the paci an eviction notice a good year ago, but it did not happen. Sometimes we were ready, but she was not. Other times we simply gave in and didn’t have the fight in us to take it away.
Sleep wins over not sleeping…
Our relationship with the pacifier has been a bumpy one. From the moment my daughter was born she had a set of lungs on her that could wake the dead. The only thing that comforted her was food and the blasted pacifier. In the early days, she would wake multiple times a night because her pacifier fell out. I lost count of how many times I had to put it back in her mouth. I cussed at it more than I want to admit. We had a love/hate relationship. During car rides, I LOVED the pacifier. Quiet time was blissful. The night she finally found out how to put her misplaced pacifier in her mouth was a night I felt like I was winning the lottery. She was addicted to it really bad, but I didn’t care at that moment because AT LAST we were ALL getting sleep!
Months passed as the amount of pacifiers grew. Now instead of one pacifier she wanted at least three. Wonderful, I thought. We are never kicking this habit. But again, I did not care because it was making her happy and I would deal with cutting the cord some other time.
Fast forward a few months and I was secretly trying to hide the fact that my daughter was a paci addict. I would never take it out publicly and only allow her to use it for naps/nighttime until one day her sitter thought she had stopped the pacifier cold turkey.
Now, why in the heck would she think that?
“We haven’t had a pacifier her for here in weeks. I assumed she quit cold turkey!” She said. She had said goodbye to the pacifier at daycare, but certainly not at home. Talk about being fooled. That told me it was us, not her that might be addicted to the pacifier. We were definitely enabling her to use them, but we both work full-time jobs and we could never quite find the right time to start the detox process. There were always excuses and a reason NOT to do it.
Time passed and now she is basically a preschooler. Recently, I cut the tips off of her pacifiers. When she asked me why they were like that, I told her that our dog must have gotten into them and that is all we had. Poor Dax – he gets blamed for everything, right?
To my surprise this did not bother her one bit. She still sucked on them like there was no tomorrow. Fail or was it?
Each day I continued to cut them bit by bit, but she wasn’t falling for it. There really is no hope, I thought. I will have to be the mean mommy and cut her off cold turkey. Meaning there will be tears, screaming and fits every night until she gets used to the idea of saying adios to her best friend. I dreaded that process but I knew it was only a matter of time.
Something clicked in my daughter’s mind. We went to a friend’s house and welcomed her new baby girl. Selfishly I knew this was one way I could talk some sense into my daughter. I was willing to try anything.
As I held the baby, I looked at my daughter and asked her how she felt about giving her pacifiers to her new baby friend. Bashfully, she smiled and surprisingly said, “Yes!” We did not have them on us, rather they were at home so I told her when we got back we would mail them to her. I told her that the baby really needed them so she could stop crying and that she was a big girl now and really didn’t need them. She went with my plea that is until we got back to reality and she automatically refused to mail them to her. Another fail!
I was determined to not give up. Every morning I asked her if she wanted to mail her pacifiers to the baby. “She really needs them.” I said.
Day-after-day I continued to ask. “Okay, when you are ready let me know and we will mail them right away in a pretty box with a huge bow to brighten her day!”
She kept looking at me with her pacifiers firmly placed in her hands.
It was going nowhere and nowhere fast until recently.
My prayers must have been answered. Reluctantly I asked her one more time if she was ready. Expecting to hear a loud “NO!” I hear a loud “YES!”
Shocked and overwhelmed with excitement, I said “Are you sure?”
I quickly found the first box I could find – funny enough it was a Kendra Scott earring box, but it was perfect. I let her ‘write’ on it and we put a big bow on top of the box. Together, we walked to the mailbox and let her drop her pacifiers in the mailbox.
All I could think of was please don’t let her find out it’s Sunday and the mail does not deliver! We walked back inside chanting, “No more pacis!” We hugged each other and gave her at least a million high-fives to show her how proud we were.
How we finally said goodbye to the pacifier
The true test though was going to be nap and bedtime. We weren’t quite to the finish line.
Naptime was a bust, but not because she asked for a pacifier. She simply did not want to go to bed. (I fear she is outgrowing her naps! No good!) She stayed in her bed for an hour singing before we gave up. Never did she ask for her beloved friends.
Bedtime was the final test and she passed! It was risky doing this on Game of Thrones night, but there is never a good time, right? She went to bed and never asked for her bed-mates. Praise all that is good! What a bittersweet moment. She went the entire night without them!!!! Oh, Happy Night!
This is me watching GOT with my daughter sleeping sans pacis! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Day 2 of our pacifier journey was successful too but not without a few mentions of her long lost friends. I reminded her that we mailed them off and she stood there with a blank stare, but never asked for them.
Day 2 we also checked the mail and she asked, “Where did the pacifiers go?” Anticipating a tantrum, I told her they were gone now and the baby had them.” To my surprise, she did not cry or demand them back.
I hate to say we are in the clear because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I really think we are this time. She was ready, we were ready and it was the right time for our family to give them up. I am very thankful that my best friend had a baby for many reasons, but this a good reason too. I may have needed to adopt a baby friend to pull this off if it wasn’t for her. ha ha
Looking back our pacifier journey is bittersweet for all of us. It symbolizes that she is moving on from being a ‘baby’ to a ‘big girl’. Yeah, maybe it should have happened sooner, but it didn’t and I have no regrets. It’s funny how you look forward to the day that a milestone happens to later feel a bit of sadness that the moment has come and gone. It’s a bag of mixed emotions, but none-the-less I am so proud of my daughter and how she gave her beloved pacifiers to a friend in need.
I hope our story can help others that are struggling to kick the paci habit. The only bit of advice I have is that it takes time, patience and a bit of creativity to make it happen. At the end of the day, every kid is different. What works for one family may fail miserably for another. Don’t be discouraged because it will happen.
Tell me, how did your family finally say goodbye to the pacifier?