the paci menance

Last week, we broke our daughter’s heart. We denied her her one true love- something that brings her comfort, something she’s held dear her entire life. Ever since the night she took her first breath, it’s been there for her. Through sleep, sickness, happy times, the boring times … this precious talisman has calmed and soothed her. It’s never let her down.

And we took it away with little fanfare, harsh and abrupt.

I’m talking of course about her pacifier. The nook. The dummy as the Brits’ say – to L, her renowned “Paci”.

Paci and L went together nearly everywhere, although, because my kids crave security items in an excessive way, she also always has to have her blanket as well. But Paci was always first to her. And though we attempted to limit it, regulating it only to car rides, nap time and bedtime, the stinker always found a way to sneak it in all hours of the day. Multiple times a day I’d turn around to see her clutching her blanket with her pacifier spinning in her mouth, sucking furiously and glazed. If she got angry, upset, or hurt, she cried out “Paci blanket! PACI BLANKET!!!!” before “Mommy” or “Daddy”.

Anyway, if you knew L, you’d know I’m not speaking in hyperbole. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter has a real problem.

So, last week. We are at an outdoor concert, a Spice Girl cover band down by the beach (a topic of which could easily segway into an entirely different post, such as, how is it possible the Spice Girls were popular 20 years ago? Does the world really need a Spice Girl cover band? How much of our tax money went towards this super group of girls?) and L was a handful. A loud, overtired, cranky toddler mess. When will my husband and I learn not to expect too much from our kids in public, at outings?

Upset over her behavior, my husband told her she couldn’t have the pacifier any longer. By this point L was screaming. “I’m serious, L” he said from the driver’s seat of the minivan, “No more pacifier. Ever.”. He then looked at me, “I’m serious, N. I’m for real”.

I just nodded, dreading the night ahead. I know it’s time, but, I also know her. I know how stubborn she is. There’s a reason she’s still in diapers; she’s a master of ‘sticking to her guns’ and I’m a pushover.

We got home, and she sobbed. Her chest heaved and she cried, and shook, and pleaded. My heart broke for her. Her paci has been an appendage for her, literally, since she came out of me. And to just take it away, like a 2.5-year-old band aid, ripped from her so harshly, well, it didn’t same fair.

But I held strong.

I gathered her up in her toddler-carrier, and swayed with her and her blanket as she convulsed with sadness. She fell asleep. I kept her on my chest and sat down and smoothed her hair and thought, “This wasn’t bad”.

Then 4am happened.

The girl wasn’t going to sleep again. Since she shares her room with her older brother, and we didn’t want her to scream the rest of the night, my husband took her out to the living room and turned on Peppa Pig. We took the loss.

Later that day I found an old pacifier of hers and snipped the end, a bit. I’ve tried this trick before and the girl demanded a different, whole pacifier, but faced with “no” paci or a “damaged” paci, she took the damaged one. This turned out to work beautifully. She was weaned within a few days. Now she proudly says: “Blanket, no PACI!”

Moral of the story? L is a child who needs a more gentle transition. Another lesson: we took away baby H’s pacifier. He has little complaints and doesn’t seem to mind, and we are avoiding the tears that poor L went through.

The next hurdle with L is the same one I so flippantly wrote about a few months ago: potty-training. Stay tuned, friends.

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