Wednesday, July 14, 2010


My earliest memory has me standing in my parents' bedroom holding my white flannel bankie. I am leaning up against the black valet chair, the one my dad would sit in as he shined his shoes. I loved watching him do this ritual, reaching into the compartment in the seat where he kept all the shoe polish. The smell of the astringent polish, little bits of black getting on Dad's fingers as he worked. In this memory I am holding bankie and searching frantically for my pacifier--- an orangey rubber affair with a giant round handle on the end.

As the memory fades to an end, my thoughts of Bean roar into my mind's eye---- her Security Trifecta of Bo the Lovey (bankie), a stuffed buddy, and the ever-present paci. There isn't a question where she got this from, seeing as how Chip has no such memories of blankets and pacifiers (he was a thumb sucker).

I relate to Bean's love for these objects--- I get it. I understand that need to take a piece of comfort in your hands. I understand how encompassing a blanket can be, a friend to wrap around you when you're cold or sad or lonely or worried. I understand the way you can create an entire world of sweetness by putting the blanket on your head, surrounding yourself with the smell of home. I understand how its soft folds become softer the more you hold it in your hands and rub a corner of it on your face. And yes, I totally understand the paci.

The thing is... I'm finally ready to coach Bean out of the Paci Love. I've been fine with it for two+ years. But I just think it's time. Time to let it go, time to let it fade into memory.

But I'm not sure how.

I've talked to her about how it's soon going to be time to let go of the paci, that we will only use it for naps and bedtime (I'm willing to let a paci sleeptime routine continue for a while longer). And I've tried to get her to sort of forget about it for long stretches throughout the day. But.

Well, this is a stubborn child (wonder where she gets that from). A child with an iron will. A smart child who remembers things like hey mommy put my paci in her pocket and I know it's in there and maybe if I just sort of hang limp and boneless on her leg she'll relent and give it back to me. NOW.

So I'm turning to you. Whatcha got for advice about the Great Paci Phase Out? I'd love to hear your stories of what works and what doesn't, and the cautionary tales of things I should absolutely never try.


Rose said...

On the list of things to never try.... don't take them away at the same time as another major change or event (i.e., a business trip).

I probably can't offer much advice from personal experience. My first two kids weren't into pacifiers too much, and my third stopped using them around a year old.

I've heard of kids being bribed through an exchange... like making a trade with Santa or something. Like, it's planned out ahead of time... the pacifiers are left out for Santa... and Christmas morning, the pacifiers are gone and there's something awesome to replace it.

My sister-in-law worked out a trade with my niece who was still using pacifiers at 4. She put all the pacifiers in a jar, and told her that if she gave them up, then she'd make her a very nice blanket (and she did).

Shelly Overlook said...

I have no idea. I always wanted my kid to use a paci, but she never took a bottle and never showed interest in a paci. In retrospect I'm sure it's a good thing b/c she's so stubborn I have no idea how I would ever convince her to give it up.

I've heard of the paci fairy. Bean would put all her pacis into a bag next to her pillow at night for the paci fairy to come get to take to the babies who need them (because she is a big girl now), then a small special item is left in their place.

May the Force be with you on this journey.

Bethsix said...

Kieran used a pacifier at naps and nighttime until he was 3.5, but we stopped the daytime use at around 18 months (ish). It was basically cold turkey. He only really NEEDED them to go to sleep, so when he'd wake up, we'd take the pacifier away and just put it away in a special bowl (like maybe on top of the fridge) before he could have breakfast. And it didn't come back out until it was naptime. Repeat when he woke up from nap.

I was a thumbsucker, but I liked having a satiny blanket to rub my thumb on. Anneke used me as a pacifier. Griffon sucks his thumb (and ONLY when he has blankie bear... It is hilarious, like he doesn't know HOW to suck his thumb without blankie bear. He once didn't have a blankie bear to use at naptime, so I gave him this soft giraffe the same texture as blankie bear. I had to explain what to do with it. "Put your thumb in your mouth. Now, hold the giraffe's trunk..." He put the giraffe's trunk in his mouth and looked at me like I was insane. Totally confused.) Archer is a pacifier baby, but we're nowhere near reducing daytime use yet.

Sibley Saga .... said...

All awesome stories and I'm filing them away for my own future reference with my little one.

Amy said...

Ah - Mike just came down to tell me a funny paci story. Nate just now rolled over, whined a smidge, and put his hand to his mouth as if putting in a paci, and started sucking. With no actual paci. Haha - he tricked himself!

We've been trying to decide when to take it away completely but Nate, too, is a stubborn boy. He's been using it for naps and bedtime only for awhile now although sometimes when he flips out he goes to his room to work it out (read - suck his paci for a few). It's so hard to know how to do it...I'll be checking back here for more tips!

Spadoman said...

I'll try to keep this short as raising three daughters, then practically raising 4 Grandkids has given me loads of experiences about pacifiers and thumb sucking, (and none of them the same!)
Gracie, the 3 year old was to be weaned from her paci when she turned 3 in january. She still clings to it and needs it, along with a blanket. Yoody spit hers out on her own right after turning 2.
Their Mom, my middle girl, sucked her thumb until late teen years, her oldest, Anna, still uses her thumb and just turned 12.

Good luck!
But remember this: It is probably bnot going to hurt her to have it and use it past a certain day or date. Laugh and play instead of worry. Things will evolve and change when they need to, usually on their own.
Thanks for the visit to my place. I have also been terrib;e and not visiting my blog friends this Summer. Luckily, I have been doing some fun stuff and traveling.
Take care and be well.


Bird said...

So Fussbot gets a paci at nap time and at bed time. He used to have it whenever I'd give it to him which was mainly in the car/stroller if we were going somewhere and he was being a whiner. We stopped that cold turkey (can't remember when exactly) and are currently debating how to end the paci use entirely. Since we are also looking at switching to a bed and potty training in the fall I'm thinking of lumping it in with the bed move: pacis are for the crib, big boys in the bed don't need them anymore. This could totally backfire but we won't know until we try. If you want to start limiting use I'd say go cold turkey and be really firm so she knows that clinging/whining won't work. Good luck!

tearese said...

my three weren't ever that interested in a pacifier. Elora was the only one who used it, and it was just for when someone else was getting her to sleep, and before she turned a year old. THey don't suck thumbs either.
However, my mom always tells the story about how they tried to get rid of my pacifier, and I cried until 3AM so they went to the store and bought me another one.
Good luck!