Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Pulling the plug

I've noticed that almost every transitional milestone that marks the end of babydom has been later for Simon than for Tristan. Last child syndrome? Tristan nursed until he was nine months; Simon was closer to 19 months. Tristan was out of his crib at 20 months; Simon was 34 months. Tristan gave up his bedtime soother at three years old. Simon? We're well past his third birthday, and there's no end in sight.

I know, I know, it's time. We've been talking up the idea of giving up his soothers for months now, so he knows it's coming. He even slept right through Sunday night without one - he forgot to ask and we forgot to give it to him. But when Monday night came, and we tried to convince him he was a big boy and he was ready to give it up and three year olds simply don't use soothers anymore, he started to cry. I'm a sucker for tears. I've really got to work on that.

It wasn't even all that traumatic with Tristan, the original suck-junkie. We told him one day that we were going to go to the toy store and use his soothers to "buy" something he truly wanted, a Gordon tank engine. Aside from a rough first night, and a heartbreaking moment when I found Tristan late the first afternoon trying to cram Gordon back in his box so Tristan could take him back to the store and get the soothers back, it went well.

I don't think Simon's going to fall for that trick. First of all, there's nothing he covets as much as Tristan coveted that Gordon. But mostly, he's just a different kind of kid. I swear to god, this mothering thing is so frustrating - just when you've figured out how something works, the next kid comes along with his own personality and peccadilloes and all your hard-learned lessons from the first time around don't work anymore.

I've seen lots of ideas for giving up the binky, everything from cut off a bit every night until there's nothing but a stub left (can you spell choking hazzard?) to painting it with hot sauce before giving it to the child (somehow I think Simon might like the idea of flavoured pacifiers even more than plain ones.)

I like the idea of using the soothers to 'buy' something because there is an element of self-determination in it. Even though he's being strongly encouraged by us, in the end Simon is left with the idea that he relinquished the soothers for something else of his own accord. A trade was made, and he chose the new item over the soothers.

But the more I think about it, the more I'm tempted to just 'lose' the damn things. "Soothers? Oh, I don't know where they are," said in my best thespian styling. "Why don't you just go to sleep now, and maybe we'll find them tomorrow." I'd feel bad deceiving him, but at least we wouldn't be relying on him to make the choice.

We've got to get on this, though. It's time, I know. But when his little face crumbles into tears at the mere thought of giving up his oral fixation, he takes my resolve with it. I'm mostly assured he won't be packing it in his suitcase when he goes off to college, but with each passing week the possibility grows.

Got any "ditch the binky" stories to make me feel better?

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