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Monday, June 16th, 2014
Any parent who has an addict for a child knows the pacifier is like crack. With Fia the crack was also my crutch. It could silence her in crucial moments–like on a 5-hour airplane where no one wants to sit next to a wailing baby. Or occasionally at a restaurant if she was cranky. We didn’t make her get rid of it until she was 3. But she was a rule-follower and knew the only time she could use it was naptime or bedtime, unless I specified otherwise.
Until recently Emmett followed the same protocol. But I could tell he was more attached, or maybe just not as much of a rule follower as Fia. He started to periodically sneak into his room and grab it from the crib and go racing down the hall, looking behind him to see how fast we were on his heels. He laughed and treated it like a game. But the minute we would take it away, he would start to wail. Then hit and throw things.
Then he got a bad cold and I basically let him have it all the time, thinking it was soothing him. Little did I know it was turning him into a beast. When he got better and we went back to the old routine, he would constantly ask for it or try to sneak into his room to get it. When we wouldn’t give in, he began to throw anything he could get his hands on–trains, his sippy cup, a fork, you name it. His pacifier was creating a monster. Still, I was scared to give it up. Looking back, I was just as addicted as he was.
Last week we went on a family vacation to Colorado (crying picture while making a snow-ant). We took the paci on the plane and he was great. But once again, as soon as we landed, he began wailing for it. Every hike we went on or family adventure, he was begging for it, eventually crying and screaming. I know realize this is the point as a parent where you give in all the time because you think it will make your life saner–or, you decide to take charge and set boundaries. We literally watched our funny, sweet boy become a complete terror over the paci. We gave in, thinking it would make it easier. But instead, I think it just made him more headstrong. He became bratty–verging on a nightmare child who was constantly tantruming.
As soon as we landed back home, we put on the Sesame Street episode, Bye Bye Binky. We also cued up the song on YouTube and he watched it over and over. Then we explained that in 3 days we were sending the paci to TT (his grandma) so she could give it to another baby. That’s the same thing we did with Fia. This week, on day 3, we will have him help us wrap it up and take it to the post office to bid farewell. Leading up to day 3, we have only let him have it in his crib.
Just putting up these parameters has already made a huge difference in his personality. Literally in 36 hours I already feel–and can see–we are getting our boy back. It’s also been incredibly eye opening to realize what a difference it makes when you take back control and set boundaries for your kids. He doesn’t want to be fussy, but a 2 1/2-year old has no impulse control or emotional range to understand how to regulate his moods. The only person who can really regulate them is you: the parent. Basically everything I’ve read about this in regard to 2-year behavior is true: they want, and more importantly, NEED boundaries. Leaving them unregulated or with false threats not only makes your life incredibly difficult and frustrating, but theirs too.
Tomorrow we will happily say bye bye binky and at least until the next curve ball is thrown, have our good boy back.
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binky, bye bye binky, pacifier, parental boundaries, parental guidance, rule follower, Sesame Street, soothing, tantrum, terrible two's, toddler tantrum, travel | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Could it really be this easy? Or did I just get über-lucky? Did something that I have anticipated (and dreaded) having to do for 3 years just come and go without a fuss or protest? I was envisioning sleepless nights, Fia calling out to us, begging for her pacifier back. I pictured me begging Phil to just give in. I hate to see my baby sad. (Yeah, I know, get over it. At least when we are talking about a piece of plastic that has long worn out its welcome.)
None of my fears came to pass.
Maybe it’s because her lip rash gave us such a good out. “Honey, the doctor says you can’t use your pacifier anymore.” Maybe it’s because she’s going to be 3 on Sunday. “Fia, you’re about to be a really big girl. And only babies use pacifiers.” Or maybe she was just ready to let go.
On Sunday we watched the Elmo episode for the 103rd (and hopefully last) time, about Bye Bye Binky.
On Monday night, 6 days before her birthday, we packaged up her “Bagdee,” wrote a note saying that Fia hoped the baby on the receiving end would find comfort in it, and sent it off. To, well, my mother-in-law’s house. I didn’t know where else to address it. Knowing her, she’ll keep it and someday when Fia is really a big girl, we’ll show her the note and the pacifier that gave her parents such angst (and even made our former nanny pissed at me).
She came down with a stomach flu and fever on Wednesday. “She’s really uncomfortable,” I said to Phil. “Should we give it back to her?” I got an emphatic NO. And further pointing out that she hasn’t even asked for it. So why would we offer it up?? Um, right. Good point. I don’t know…because I’m a mom and want to do anything to make my child feel better???? Maybe I need a pacifier.
At any rate, I have written at least 11 blogs about the pacifier and posted many a picture with Fia and that thing. I’m happy to say, I think those days are over. (At least until Emmett has his turn. But so far, he doesn’t seem to be as attached.)
This is one milestone I’m not overly sentimental about. In fact, I’d much rather see her smile…and now I will. Even at night.
The picture above was when she was about 18 months old. I always wanted her to have one in reach.
This pic from Halloween. Such a pretty mouth.
Why cover it up?
Pacifier picture at top via Shutterstock
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binky, dentist, Elmo, fever, milestone, paci, pacifier, smile, stomach flu, teeth, travel | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read
Monday, November 26th, 2012
We have a new word added to our vocabulary. IMPETIGO. This is what it looks like (on chin):
Over the holidays we traveled to Idaho. With all the snow and cold, I noticed she was getting a rash around her mouth. I thought it was dry skin, at least on top, but the bottom was different. Today I took her to the doctor and we have not one, but two diagnoses. Lucky us. My girl is already an overachiever. Though in all seriousness, it is lucky because it’s nothing dire.
The top lip is “Lip Lickers Eczema.” Pretty self-explanatory. The bottom is Impetigo. Apparently the skin around the mouth gets so dry from the saliva, it can crack. Then the nose runs or she gets around other little petri dishes at preschool and bacteria seeps in and causes the Impetigo. It requires a prescription ointment. For the eczema we are doing a prescription hydrocortisone.
This is perhaps one of my most boring blogs yet (rough night of sleep last night and trying to get back into swing of things) but I do want to tell you one more thing: I think we’ll use this opportunity to cut the pacifier. It only seals in the bacteria. The doctor thought it was a good idea. Plus, on Sunday, she’ll be 3. Even though she only uses it at night, I think it’s time. We are gearing up on our strategy so I’ll write a post about that later, as I do have questions. Right now though, this is the best I can do. Happy Monday.
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Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
The pacifier remains my ace-in-the-hole and the thorn in my side. If Fia is whining or acting bratty, I can threaten “no more bagdee” and she immediately reverses her behavior. I’m an army drill sergeant using a pacifier instead of a bayonet to get the results I want.
But Cleo, having nannied for 30 kids thus far (Emmett being #30) told me it was time to get rid of Fia’s paci, at least for naps. She declared that when Fia turns 3, we will get rid of it entirely. Clearly, this is not a democracy.
In theory, I’m totally down with it. In reality, I cringe. I wanted to beg Cleo to reconsider, as that stupid sucking thing is my last remaining bargaining chip. But I know she’s right. She even pointed out that Fia’s teeth are starting to buck a little. Of course a small part of me is like, “So what? She’ll get braces and we’ll keep the paci until she’s 5.” But I know I’m being selfish. I have to remind myself this is in Fia’s best interest, not necessarily mine.
After our recent trip to Emmett’s baptism (where we gave Fia the paci for the flight and threatened to dispose of it every time she kicked the seat in front of her–which happened exactly once), we sadly said goodbye to bagdee during naptime. I wept.
Two weeks into pacifier sobriety, I had a shoot at my house. They wanted to see me in action with my kids. Fia came home from preschool, and without even thinking, I put her in her crib and stuck the pacifier in her mouth (it was in the crib from the night before). I even made a joke to the camera about how she still takes one. I was in such tunnel vision that I seriously forgot that she’d been without for two weeks.
Part of it was because I had been traveling for a family emergency, so I hadn’t been participating in naptime. And of course Fia didn’t volunteer it. Instead, she happily settled in without a peep and slept for almost 3 hours (another reason I love that thing. The naps are doubled in time).
Cleo was in the hallway and asked twice, “She went down without a fuss?”
“Yup” I said nonchalantly. I didn’t know why she seemed so surprised.
At 4:30 that afternoon I came in from an errand, and Fia is sitting at her highchair with the pacifier in.
“What is that thing doing in your mouth?” I asked sternly.
To which Cleo tersely replied, “Well, I guess since mommy doesn’t care if Fia takes the pacifier at naptime, she may as well have it all the time.” Then she stormed into the dining room.
It took me a second to put together the puzzle and then grasp the magnitude of crisis I was facing. Cleo was pppiissssseeeeeeddddd at me. Furious in fact.
“Oh my god, Cleo,” I stammered, as I followed her around the table. “I am so sorry. I totally forgot. I was so distracted by the shoot. I seriously just spaced.” She was pretending to dust the table but in reality was hitting it angrily with the cloth.
“You are really mad at me, aren’t you?” I asked.
“Yes, I am,” she replied, practically in tears. “I’ve tried so hard for two weeks to break the habit and then when you come in and give it to her, all my efforts go to waste. Plus, then Fia doesn’t listen to me.”
She was absolutely right. I really did feel terrible, though I did chuckle later at how irate she got. When I told my Aunt the story, she said, “Good for her for doing so. I’m with Cleo. And I agree: you gotta get rid of that thing.”
I finally got Cleo to believe it was an honest mistake and we both had a good laugh at how pissed off she was. Meanwhile, Fia is sitting there in hog heaven sucking on that stupid thing. I took it out of her mouth and explained how mommy made a mistake. Fia continued to remind me of it all evening. “Mama was bad. And made Cleo mad.” Mea Culpa.
So now, every morning, we take her pacifiers out of the crib and put them on her light stand. That way bad mama won’t mess up again. Fia can gaze longingly at them during naptime and I can dream longingly of sticking them in her mouth, knowing I’m being carefully watched.
I’ll admit over the weekend, when I couldn’t get Fia to nap, I tried to conspire with Phil.
“Can’t we just give it to her this one time?”
“No, absolutely not,” he said. I think he actually glared at me. I am in enemy territory. My only ally is a 2 1/2 year old. And she is the reason I’m on lockdown. Sigh.
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army, binky, buck teeth, camera, crib, democracy, dentist, enemy, enemy territory, mouth, nanny, naps, naptime, on camera, paci, pacifier, sleep, sleep training, suck, sucking, teeth, toddler behavior | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
I’ve never bought into the whole nipple confusion thing. Maybe it’s because my babies latched on immediately to both bottle and boob (this, following a sea of drugs from labor and c-sections). And perhaps I’m bitter from the natural community scaring me senseless as I went into labor with Fia. Tales of drugs, pacifiers and bottles were all the ways your baby wouldn’t latch on, despite scientific evidence to the contrary (at least with labor drugs, like the epidural). This week I got a slight chuckle out of the latest study: pacifiers actually promote breastfeeding. Ha!
Before I get too smug, I will echo what my fellow blogger, Berit wrote in her post on this (click here to read her blog): Rules are forever changing–and yes, it is maddening! Each study seems to contradict another one, which contradicts another one, until it comes back full circle and negates them all. So I won’t smirk…yet. What I will say (and echoing Berit again) is to go with your mom gut. Here’s why:
If I had listened to the nipple confusion thing, Phil would have never given Emmett or Fia a bottle for the first 6 weeks. It would have been all me, all the time. I would have been frustrated and completely tethered. I have mom friends who have been tethered for the first year because they didn’t introduce a bottle those first few weeks. By the time it was “right” to introduce one, it was too late. The babies refused and only took the boob. I think that can lead to some of us moms (uh-em…myself…thus hypnotherapy) becoming martyrs about having to “do it all.” In this day and age, with dads pulling almost equal weight (ha!), let them into the world of feeding.
Phil and I decided he’d give a bottle because it would be good bonding time. It’s his ritual to give the last bottle before bedtime, as I slip away and get a jump start on my sleep. Neither of us would give that up for anything. He loves it. As do I. And I’m sure it helps the babies know their dad even more.
What’s funny about the no-pacifier-now-maybe-debunked-theory is that for both my births, the nurses passed them out like candy at a parade. It was like Flying Nurses–they’d breeze through, chucking them into cribs. Okay, not really. But the paci’s were everywhere. Then, inevitably, a lactation consultant would come in and give me the nipple confusion spiel. Since Fia’s birth left me feeling like I had been hit by a bus, I was too confused to care. With Emmett, I chose to ignore. We’ve all been better off for it. In fact, I am trying to get Emmett more addicted to his pacifier. Fia sucked on hers like a lollipop. Still does at nap time. She’ll go to PA (Pacifiers Anonymous) soon. Emmett on the other hand tends to suck for a bit, then spit it out. Come on baby, you got addictive genes in this family. Use them!
To put the entire feeding and soothing process (NO PACIFIERS!) on the mom not only becomes exhausting, but I think it can also rob a Dad or other loved ones of special moments they might not get otherwise. Not to mention the risk of the baby refusing everything but the boob.
So I take “observational” studies like this with a grain of salt. Like Berit, I am going with my instinct. It has served me well thus far.
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