When Lakin was born she quickly latched on to a pacifier. The love affair began the night she was born when the night nurse gave a soothie to help her make it to her next meal. After some scolding from the morning nurse about nipple confusion (don't these nurses talk to one another before giving contradictory advice?) we were hesitant to offer the paci again anytime soon.
But Lakin proved able to decipher between a piece of plastic and milk-giving-flesh and alas, the pacifier was reintroduced into our lives. It was a game changer. I am convinced that the pacifier was the secret to a decent nap. It was instantly soothing when she was worked up. After my mom made a few "leashes" that we could use to clip the thing to her shirt, we were done scrambling under the couch looking for lost binkies.
As she got older the paci became a simple sleep aid. She used it for naps and nighttime and obediently pulled at the paci on her jammies each morning to indicate, all done sleeping, mommy. Occasionally we'd bust the thing out in a moment of weakness or if she was sick and not feeling well. We had a decent system going.
But our most recent weekend trip left us in a bit of a lurch. Since Lakin is now able to hunt for and give herself a paci, we found that she used it a lot more than just to sleep. And you know what, it seemed to buy us another 15 minutes without a restless toddler whining to leave so we were okay with the extra paci time.
That is, until we got home. Lakin began asking for the thing all the time. She'd move her stool in front of her dresser to be able to reach the drawer they are kept in. While I was proud of her ingenuity, I felt we might have an issue on our hands. Meltdowns were the result of paci denial. I had heard of parents and their battles to rid their child of the pacifier. I figured, now was a good a time as any to begin that battle in our home.
I could sense my own hesitation to cut loose from the sanity saver. It had been a comfort not only to our daughter but a golden ticket in my own back pocket. I knew it would do the trick when she needed a little fix. However, my hesitation was possibly an indication of my laziness and an excuse to not parent in those tough moments of mom hood. She'd old enough now that we should rightly deal with the tantrum rather than slap a band aid on. So with a bit of sadness I knew what we had to do.
I've heard all kinds of tactic and stories of how parents have successfully broken their children of the pacifier habit. Our plan was to cut the end off the paci bit by bit until there was nothing satisfying left to suck. Monday night I did just that and at bed time handed Lakin the pacifier. She stuck it in her mouth, began to suck and immediately removed it and began to examine her little friend. She put it back in her mouth and then pulled it out again, obviously puzzled that something was not quite right. She did take it to bed, she did attempt to suck on it until she fell asleep and I worried that cutting it had made no difference.
Tuesday night I offered her the same paci and she looked it over, saw that it was the same one from the night before and shoved it back at me, "I don't." This time she didn't even want it near her. I laid her down and the fit began. For 20 minutes she did an ugly, angry cry in her crib and then was out for the rest of the night. Wednesday and Thursday there were no tears at all. For something I'd built up in my head, this process has been pretty easy. We're not completely out of the woods. We still need to eliminate the nap paci but we hated asking our daycare to fight that battle until we knew we'd won it at home.
She still inquires about the paci. I simply remind her that we said goodbye to the paci earlier this week. She looks at me and waves a hand, "buh bye paci, buh bye."
Short version: We took away Lakin's paci and we're all surviving.
In memory of the pacifier. Rest in peace Nuk, rest in peace.