It is late Wednesday evening as I write this. I am listening to Alice over the room monitor. Her first night without a pacifier.
So far we have gone in there for trips to the bathroom (notice the plural), to find specific buddies (little Elmo, Grover), to answer questions, to take clothes off a buddie (it is unacceptable that Elmo go to bed in corduroy pants and flannel shirt), and to deliver a tiny book about cats that Alice is convinced she cannot sleep without.
During the last Alice pit stop, Chip decided to stay. He is now hunkered down on her bedroom floor, hoping that his presence will soothe her into dreamland.
I don't think that Alice is the only one who really misses that paci.
- - -
We've been working toward this for months. She hasn't been allowed to use one for more than actual sleep in a year. And in the last six months, we've tapered off her even holding more than one at a time. Meanwhile, I have been thinking hard about what motivates this girl, and after some serious deep thinking, I came up with FISH. Which sounds weird, I know. But she wants a pet, has wanted a pet to call her own for a long while. And she's allergic to anything with hair. So we have fish. And you know, with enough build up and visits to the pet store: fish are EXCITING.
It turns out, according to Alice's parents, fish are also EXPENSIVE. So expensive, in fact, that they can't be bought with money. The pet store will only take paci's as payment.
Two days ago we bought a small fish tank and several fish tank accoutrements to Alice's liking.
And today, we walked into Petsmart, picked out three little colorful fish, and Alice paid for them with a bag full of pacifiers.
- - -
She named them Spoonjab (phonetic spelling), Annie, and Miss Hannigan.
- - -
After getting the trio set up in their new digs, we had a family picnic in Alice's room because she couldn't bear to be away from her new fish.
- - -
The reality of Life Without Paci hit dear Bean as soon as I was done reading her bedtime story. When she asked for a paci, and I reminded her that they'd been left at the store, she sort of just looked. Blinked. And then said, "But I need something for my mouth!"
- - -
I usually resist writing anything when I'm still in the middle of it --- it's like trying to describe the ocean while swimming neck-deep in it. The view obscured to a straight blue line, small bobbing things far off in the distance.
And it's just as true in this instance as in any: I can't tell you what it's like on the other side, only tell you that her pain and frustration and worry is real.
Here's hoping for better nights to come.
How have you handled transitions at your house? How long does it take you or your kids to get used to the change? Have you ever gone back to an old way of doing things because the transition was too hard?