For the longest time I thought we were in the clear. My son had no interest in sucking his thumb or pacifier, until the unforgettable day when he started to cut four teeth at the same time. He has never had it easy when it came to his gum line. Instead of one or two teeth erupting, it was always four, five, or even six all at once. When his first set of baby teeth decided to make their debut, I caved and gave my son his first pacifier, a blue and green dinosaur WubbaNub. It was from that moment on that he was hooked.
A true addiction is how I would best describe my son’s relationship with his pacifier. It went from the occasional use for comfort, to shaky hands, dilated pupils, and extreme anxiety when they were separated. He no longer required it to just sooth his irritated mouth, he needed it for survival (at least in his eyes).
If I take a step back and really observe the situation, the process of weening him off the pacifier was a long and tiring journey. Before we moved, he was in an in-home daycare environment surrounded by other children. During this time he realized he did not need his pacifier during nap, because the other kids weren’t “using.” We tried for months to take it away at bedtime, but that was a nightmare. He would scream and yell at the top of his lungs. I can be super sensitive when it comes to my son’s feelings, so I would eventually cave and give him the pacifier. You can call me an enabler; I deserve it!
As we were making progress in ridding our lives of the pacifier, we moved, and we moved during the winter holiday. During this time there was a lot of change taking place. I was getting further along in my pregnancy, we were living with my parents while we looked for a house, and he was out of daycare until the start of the New Year. The pacifier was back in our lives in every aspect. He started using again during nap time and constantly held it tightly, white knuckled in his fist, ready for immediate use. All of that hard work went right down the drain and I know I’m to blame (it’s about being self aware, right?).
When we bought our new home and moved in, I thought to myself, this is the moment. We were going to get rid of that pacifier once and for all. The first step was eliminating it from nap time while he was at preschool. Not having it at school was the easy part. Next we would hide it from his eyesight. When he would get home from school he would frantically search for the pacifier, and when he was unable to find it he would eventually give up. After a few days of playing hide and seek with the pacifier, we made the toughest decision; he was going to have to quit cold turkey.
Yes, there were tears of confusion as to why this was taking place, but it only lasted two nights. Two nights! I was shocked, but when it comes to my son, it’s all or nothing. This was the best process for all involved parties. Like any toxic relationship, the breakup between the boy and his beloved pacifier was necessary. As his mother, I hope and pray he does not experience this heartache ever again in his lifetime.
I am proud to say, he has been clean of his pacifier for two-weeks and has expressed zero interest in its return. Now, with baby number two soon to make his debut, I want to rid the house of all pacifier evidence. I’m not sure I have it in me to do this all over again and I’m not sure my toddler can handle being exposed to any more pacifiers in the future.