Life Lesson # 12: No More Pacifier

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So I’ve written about the greatness that is the Wubba Nub by Soothie.  Harper would tell you that they’re the greatest thing ever invented if she could.  She took to calling all of her’s “boppy.”

We slowly tried weaning her off of them, but came across a few road bumps along the way.  The first step was after her first birthday. She was only allowed to have them in the crib at nap time or bedtime.  This worked for a long while until we went on a road trip and she had to nap in the car and sleep in a hotel. We were almost back to square one.  It just became easier to just let her have it. She did great at home without it, again except for at bed and nap time, but it seemed like she had to have it more and more frequently when we were out and about.

So here we were trying as parents to do what was/is best for our ever growing toddler.  There’s no right time to take a pacifier away. Everyone tells you something different. Some moms will mom shame you into taking it away sooner than your kid is ready.  Don’t get me wrong, if you let the kid lead- they’re taking it with them to college and you’ll have ridiculously high orthodontia bills. However, I think there are some signs you know it’s time to give it up.

For starters, don’t try to take it away while they’re sick, you’re traveling or have house guests, or there’s some other big life change happening right at that time.  We felt we really needed to get her off of it before baby number two was born or it was going to be impossible.

So what did we decide was the deciding factor to take it away (other than the arrival of baby number 2)?  She became oddly dependant on it. When I say that I mean if we told her no, she perceived she was hurt or in trouble, she was mad, she was tired, or she saw someone else with one.  She knew she could only have it in her crib so she would often ask to go to her bed during these times. She would just lay in there, suck on it, calm down, and when she was ready to come out, she would let us know.

This to me started out as kind of awesome.  She had a coping skill most teenagers don’t even understand.  She knew to remove herself from the situation. She knew how to calm herself down.  It was like her own version of timeout, but it wasn’t a punishment. Then it dawned on me that she was also going in there just because she knew she could have her “boppy.”  

So we knew it was time to get rid of it.  She was able to ask for it in almost a full sentence, and she knew when she could have it.  She was outsmarting me one fake nap at a time.

But what is the best way to get rid of it?  Again, everyone has their own opinion on this.  “Losing it” or making it seem like someone else took it didn’t seem like an option.  Talking about getting rid of it sure wasn’t getting us anywhere. And knowing her, just taking them with no rhyme or reason (to her) was going to be absolutely traumatizing.  So, I decided to get a little crafty.

When we first tried this I cut the pacifier off of the end of her Wubba Nubs.  Wow. That was traumatizing. She cried because they were broken and tried to put them back together, yet still wanted the pacifier part.  So I thought maybe if she thinks she broke it, she won’t want them any more.

One day after one of her fake naps, I took one of the 3 she had left and cut a small hole on the end and just put it back without her knowing.  When she went down for a real nap she put it in her mouth, handed it back to me and said “it broken. Don’t want it.” I asked her if I should throw it away and she told me yes.  1 down, 2 to go.

So now I was at a weird cross road… when do I cut the next one?!  I got brave and did it the next day when she woke up with the next one so when she went down for her nap we got the same reaction.  After nap, I did the last one and when she wanted it later for a fake nap noticed that now all of them were broken/gone.

Going to bed that night was a little rough but once she realized we didn’t have any left she did go to sleep (she searched everywhere just to make sure).  We let her stay up a little later than normal and let her watch a movie in bed with me for a little while to try and make it an easier transition. The first night wasn’t bad.  The second night was a little easier. The third night was rough again, but after that it was totally easy.

She would tell everyone we saw, people we knew or strangers, that her boppy was broken.  She really stopped asking for it after about 2 weeks, but the crying for it was only a few days.  At this point, we’re about a month or so out and the only thing she seems to be struggling with is her “thing.”  He comfort object for so long was that pacifier. We have noticed that she clings to an item very easily, especially when she’s tired.  So her comfort object changes day by day and is sometimes “weird.” Examples include, various stuffed animals, random books, her toy cell phone(s), and our personal favorite a Rubix Cube she calls Ruby.  She’ll figure out what her new “thing” is, for now, we just aren’t fighting that as a battle. As long as it doesn’t pose a danger, go ahead and take it to bed.

So here are the life lessons:

  1. Mom shaming isn’t cool.  Ever. Keep your opinion to yourself and that one friend you talk to about everything.  
  2. There does exist a balance between letting your child lead and you being the parents and taking charge.  Find that balance.
  3. Choose your battles and get creative.  Something may not work the first time you try it.  Take a different approach and try again. Even though there are like 5 million opinions on the same thing out there- it does help to hear what did and didn’t work for other people.  Take a few ideas and make them into your own. I find that asking people of several different generations is the most helpful Often with standards and times changing we find things come full circle.

Good luck moms, and dads.  You can do it. Stay strong!

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