When I was pregnant with the Happy Buddy I SWORE up and down and left and right that my kid would NEVER take a pacifier.
I mean, hello?! I read all the baby books and I knew all about nipple confusion.
I planned on nursing this baby until he was at least 10 and nothing was going to get in the way of that.
Not to mention I didn’t want my precious child getting messed up teeth and have to spend thousands of dollars on dental work.
And besides, my baby wasn’t going to need a paci anyway because he was not going to fuss or cry like those other babies.
<<<<<<Insert lots of loud laughing here.>>>>>>
The Happy Buddy was not even alive a few hours before the Happy Hubby was marching himself down to the nurse’s station to fetch us a pacifier.
As soon as that funny little thing was popped into our baby’s mouth, there was no turning back.
Our boy love love looooooooved his pacis.
He needed at least 4 pacis in his bed at all times (apparently each pacifier brought a little something different to the table).
He loved sucking them and chewing them and throwing them out of his crib as a form of entertainment.
He needed them to calm down.
He needed them to sleep.
He needed them when he was bored.
He needed them to poop.
He needed them all. the. time.
Well, we eventually got him to a place where he was only allowed to have his paci during nap time or while sleeping at night.
When that happened, suddenly the Happy Buddy wanted to take a lot of ‘rests’ throughout the day. ;-)
As year 2 of his life drew to an end, the Happy Hubby and I decided that on his 3rd birthday, we’d ditch the pacifiers for good.
But then… the Happy Baby was born.
And the drama that ensued in our Happy Home after his birth put pacifier retirement at the bottom of our list of things to do. The Happy Baby ended up having his feeding tube surgery on the same day as the Happy Buddy’s 3rd birthday, so we just couldn’t justify ripping away his one physical comfort during such a painful and trying time.
All of a sudden another year went by and the Happy Hubby and I are looking at each other wondering if our kid is going to college with a MAM.
So over the last few months we have started to drop subtle hints that the Happy Buddy was a big boy and big boys did not need pacis.
We even mentioned a few times that his 4th birthday would be the perfect opportunity for him to put those little suckers to rest.
We even made the call that if his pacis fell behind his bed or got dropped on a dirty floor or in the toilet (yes, that happened), I would not replace or clean them. So once he was down to his last paci, that was it!
As his 4th birthday approached and we were down to that last paci, I started to get cold feet. I didn’t want to be remembered as the big ogre mommy who took away his precious paci. Couldn’t it be more organic? More natural? Couldn’t a bird just swoop down and pluck it out of his mouth and fly away with it to some far off country?
The birthday came and went and I did not take away the pacifier.
A few days later, however, the Happy Buddy came to us and announced (completely on his own volition) that next Saturday (not this Saturday, the next one) he wanted to take his final pacifier to the hospital where ‘we got the Happy Baby’ and give it away to one of the newborns.
The Happy Hubby and I nodded our heads and approved of this, but we did not think for one second that our addicted son would actually stick with his plan.
He surprised us again by saying one week later, “Saturday is when I am giving up my paci.”
We encouraged him but still did not think that he was going to follow through.
Well that Saturday arrived and, to be honest, I didn’t even remember the significance of the day, but the Happy Buddy got out of bed and reported to us first thing, “After my nap we are going to the hospital.”
The Happy Hubby pulled me aside later when we were making plans for the day, “We aren’t really going to do that, are we?”
And I was like, “You bet we are! I think we better jump out this open window before it closes forever!”
After the nap we put the paci in a small Ziploc bag (as I am sure that last pacifier was the host of 8.2 million different kinds of diseases and every letter of the alphabet Hepatitis) and drove to the hospital.
He took a few final sucks in the lobby.
Then we rode the elevator up to the postpartum wing.
We met the head nurse and he handed his last paci into her outstretched hand.
I made a big show of his courage and bravery and determination.
And the Happy Hubby had a Frosty from Wendy’s waiting for him in the car when we returned.
It all seemed too… easy.
The first night without the paci went surprisingly well. He woke up at 5:30 in the morning and simply couldn’t go back to sleep. I was okay with this, figuring it was a one time deal.
24 hours later and I am mass texting everyone in my address book for prayer because I am seriously wondering if I need to put the Happy Buddy in rehab.
It was an ugly couple of days.
For some reason the Happy Buddy turned to chewing on clean pairs of underwear as a sort of substitute for the loss of all that oral stimulation.
You’d think a rabid dog had gotten to his Thomas the Train big boys pants if you saw what he did to them!
At one point I even recited Psalm 23 over him focusing on “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” part and then changing the words to, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of no paci, I will fear no evil. For you are with me…” :-)
But today is the 4th day post-paci and we’re seeing a bit of shining light.
We’re going to make it.
Now why am I sharing all this with you?
Well, I faced a good bit of anxiety about the fact that my child was 4 and still using a paci. I also got some disapproving comments from other mommies who thought he was way too old to still be using one – which just piled on guilt.
In hindsight, though, I realize that it simply wasn’t as big of a deal as I (or others) made it out to be.
He eventually gave it up.
His teeth are fine (the fact that I constantly forget to brush them is more the issue at this point). :-)
He definitely did not have nipple confusion (I nursed him for 2 years!).
And he (and I, for that matter) learned a whole lot of great spiritual truths from the final paci surrender.
So, dear Mom who has a child with a
addiction Lovey obsession – don’t worry. I promise he won’t be climbing into bed with his new bride on their honeymoon and saying, “Hang on, babe. I need my paci.”
I promise she won’t be sitting in the middle of an important meeting at the Fortune 500 company where she works with her thumb in her mouth.
I promise he won’t be telling his friends in the middle of the football game that he needs to go grab his blankie from the car.
Try not to fret about it.
Just do what you can to help your child see the bigger picture – that God is really all they need.
Happy Buddy, I just want you to know that I am so proud of you!
The choice you made to give up something that was so important to you… oh, how instructive that is to the body of Christ!
What beautiful sacrifice in doing the right thing – even when it cost you something. That sounds like Jesus to me.
God helped you through the darkest hours, and you came out better and more seasoned (albeit with a few less pairs of undies) in the knowledge that you truly can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
But most of all you learned that He is enough.
Mommy loves you so much!
“But my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19