Back Home Again in Indiana
I wasn’t even going to do a pacifier (and Lord knows I was not going to call it a paci). Everything I read while I was knocked up talked about how pacifiers make breastfeeding that much harder so we weren’t even going to think about it. And then at some point while we were in the hospital, someone gave Boogs a pacifier and it became his best friend for life. Not even out of the hospital and my parenting plans had gone awry.
I quickly became the mom who never left the house without at least two pacifiers and who had a stash of at least four in the dresser drawer for the middle of the night. It wasn’t at all what I had envisioned, but it was okay because it meant he was sleeping. And really, it wasn’t going to last forever. . .until it lasted forever.
I’d read about parents who took the pacifier away from their kid when they turned one, but I can only assume those parents had children who actually slept. When you have a child who firmly believes sleep is for the weak, you do whatever it takes to get that child to sleep, and sometimes that’s letting your kid and his paci maintain BFF status for almost 3 ½ years (and also eventually calling it a paci because you’ve given up on everything else in life, why not this, too?).
For about 2 ½ of those years I endured comments and looks because trust me – everyone has an opinion about a kid over the age of one who’s still living his best paci life. And I get it because before we welcomed a paci into our lives, I was the one with the opinions. I’d see kids walking through the world with a paci hanging out of their mouth and think, “Don’t these parents have any control?” Now I know that yes, those parents do have control; they’re just choosing their battles. And honestly, I don’t know why there’s so much judgment for a 3 year old using a paci but no judgment for a 3 year old sucking their thumb when it’s the same damn thing (except that the dentist actually prefers the paci because it’s easier to throw a paci away than it is to throw a thumb away).
But now, for the first time in his life, Boogs is free of his paci addiction which leaves me free of the paci judgement. So how did we do it? We soaked it in kerosene – turns out it doesn’t taste great. I’m kidding. We waited until he had chewed it to the point that the tip was hanging on by a thread and then cut the tip off before he could choke on it in his sleep. He was immediately unimpressed it now fell out of his mouth and told us he didn’t need it anymore and wanted to put it in the trash. The first night I had him leave it on the kitchen counter in case things got really bad, but the next morning he told us again he wanted to put it in the trash so we did. That was Sunday and we haven’t really heard about his beloved paci since.
By no means is letting the paci turn into an actual life hazard the only way to get your kid off of it, but it’s the method that worked for us. We’d tried poking holes in it and brought up the idea of the paci fairy more than a few times, but he was not on board. While I say life hazard was the method that worked for us, it was really waiting until Boogs decided he was ready to toss it. It’s the same method we’re using with potty training right now, and not unlike the paci, I’m pretty sure pull ups are going to last forever. But at least I’m no longer paranoid he’s going to drop the paci in the potty.