17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Trashy Paci

Its official. My DS who is rounding the corner on 2 yrs. is finally kicking the paci habit. We were doing well with his weening. I only allowed him one and only in his bed. Then we went on vacation for a month and he was left in the care of his well-meaning grandmother, who can't keep track of anything. Because of this she bought three more so she would have one in BOTH cars, one in his bed, and one in his backpack at all times. Ever since then, can we say JUNKY?!?! So I have tried to be patient considering it is a real shock to the system to be shuttled between three different states, 2 sides of the family and multiple caregivers. All in the absence of mom and dad. (bad parents!) When we got home it took a few weeks to get back into living our lives and the one thing that was still not normal was his paci habit. Until this week when my beloved son ground his teeth through the tip of the only, and last paci we will ever own.

He brought it too me, not in distress, just confused. I told him it was broken and "all gone" which he repeats as "AH" and holds up his empty hands with a sholder shrug. I cut the tip off and let him carry the rest around for a while. He tried it out and really knowing then that it was broken, never asked for it again and I finally threw it in the trash. The first 2 days were HEAVEN! no hunting for it, picking it up off the subway floors or feeling the panic when I realized I had forgotten it. And the best part was that DS had no problem sleeping....until, now.

All I can say is this must be what it is like for recovering crack addicts. And it is HELL. He is constantly screaming, high strung, and even twitchy at times. He now HATES his bed. He starts to wriggle in my arms when we get to the doorway of his room to sleep. He wants me to rub his belly, sing to him, hold him, rock him. Anything to help him soothe himself to sleep which for the last three days, has been taking hours. He is so tired from staying up screaming that he stares off during the day. His eyes are glossed over and red. This poor baby needs sleep and can't find out how to get it and even when he does fall asleep, that doesn't mean he stays asleep.

There have been countless times that I thought of getting another one, just to bring him relief. But I know it would only be temporary and he would have to do this all over again. So we continue on this path littered with blood curdling screams and tears shed by all. I curse the day I introduced him to a pacifier and will not with my next one. (I will go down fighting!)

I just hope I can stay strong and not replace this one soothing habit with so many others. How do I teach him to fall asleep (again!) without me, a pacifier or, heaven forbid, his thumb!? I am afraid the only answer is to let him cry, (yes, I know it is). But you will never know the pain and anquish of this mom until you come to my house and hear for yourself what it is like listening to the cries of an addict.


  • KSL, I'm so sorry for you right now! I feel your anguish in this post - captured beautifully.

    You are doing the right thing - let him cry it out and be a mess - it may take a week, two weeks and it will probably be hell. But then things will gradually improve and soon he won't remember it at all.

    I took DS binky away while Marian was visiting me in CA (I did it when she was there so that I'd have support). He LOVED that binky. It took 3 full days and another 2 of not much crying but still restlessness and no naps. After 1 full week it was over...for good. He was 18 months.

    DD LOVES her thumb and she is nearly 2. The thumb and blanket go hand in hand, so we are banning the blanket just to her bed (she's been good about keeping it there) and once she hits 2 we're going to take it away, then work on the thumb (if it lingers without the blanket). I DREAD her turning 2 but it must be done.

    Hang in there, be strong. Remember, you're doing the right thing. It will get better. He WILL sleep and function again just like the adorable little boy he is :)
    posted by Blogger chloe at 7/24/2006 01:07:00 PM  

  • Man, this post is killer. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this ksl. I am anxious to read all of the advice for the mommies out there who have been thru this.

    What I want to know is how can you win? Here I am just trying to get my little baby to fall asleep on his own and yes, he does so with help of his paci often. Now I'm worried that giving him the paci is creating a horrible habit. This is such a tough topic. Is there an easy (or easier) answer out there?
    posted by Blogger Beth at 7/24/2006 01:22:00 PM  

  • We took the paci away from our daughter and after major withdrawal, just when we thought we were in the clear - she went straight to the thumb. i say let him keep the paci until he goes to college - he'll ditch it way before then, and you wont' have the thumb weaning to deal with.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 7/24/2006 01:41:00 PM  

  • beth-

    i dont know if there is an easy answer. I get many (if not most) people saying its not a big deal. that no child ever ended up in kindergarten with one and very rarely does it ruin teeth if you keep it under control.
    I think if you can keep it only when hes in bed, then you can keep it for quite a while. I was struggling cause he wouldnt leave his bed without it. The final straw for me was when he took it to nursery. Yes he was still adjusting to being left alone, but it was hard to see him huddled in the corner with his paci and blanket while all the other children played together.
    He really can cope without it, and i feel its important for me to show him that. its just the sleeping thats been a problem, which does affect quite a few things in the end, but even today its getting better. I think kids are stronger than we give them credit for.

    I know for a fact that the issues i had with his habit (all day long) was my embarrassment in public. I have always been prone to other peoples stares and such. reading them as judgement, not as what they really are.

    Also, i really hated him trying to talk through it. i felt like i was stunting his verbal development which is behind anyway cause hes a boy and the first child. man...i got to stop reading all these baby books. too much info can make you neurotic!

    Also, i noticed quite early on, when he was still an infant, that i would give him a paci even if he wasnt fussy. I think this can lead you down an excessive path. so keep it for when you absolutely need it, and limit it when you can and i guess, dont worry cause if its not this, it will be something else keeping them for sleep.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 7/24/2006 07:07:00 PM  

  • ksl - two things. yes, I agree that kids are stronger than we give them credit for. so often as parents we think they're not gonna be able to do something, or that they need our help to do it. I've noticed with DS (even at 4 1/2 months) that when I challenge him to do something on his own, most of the time he will do it. He wants to be a "big boy" already! It's my own neurotic stuff that gets in the way sometimes. Which leads me to my other point of agreement - reading too many books DEFINITELY makes you neurotic! We have to trust our instincts more I think. You're awesome! You'll have to post an update as things progress.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 7/24/2006 07:56:00 PM  

  • I took away the paci from ds at 2.5 yrs and it was a struggle until I read a tip in a magazine that suggested you wrap the paci (he called it a kinky) up and have the toddler give it to a baby and explain that the paci was a gift to the he baby and big boys do not use pacis. I was skeptical, but desperate, so on a trip to San Diego we wrapped up the paci and gave it to a baby friend. To my amazement it worked. DS talked about how he hoped the baby would love his paci as much as he did. After the trip home he never mentioned the paci.

    Both my boys have a comfort stuffed animal. At around nine months I give them an animal to cuddle as part of bedtime and they both are pretty attached. The only drawback is if you lose the animal in a parking lot in Pasadena and have to wait for the replacement to come in the mail.....
    posted by Blogger trimama at 7/24/2006 08:13:00 PM  

  • This won't help KSL, but maybe some others with younger kids:

    First off, I am a pacifier advocate because I think it is much better than a thumb, but I didn't want my daughter to be attached, so early on, at about 6 months, I started taking her pacifier out after she was asleep. She figured out that she could get back to sleep without it when she woke up. After a while, I never gave it to her, but if she found one around the house, she popped it in. Once she was getting to sleep without it, though, I started throwing them out and she has never missed them. I also never bought any bigger ones than the newborn size--I didn't want to feed the addiction.

    Maybe I was just lucky, but I think if you cut back early, it will help in the long run.

    Traumatic situations, like flying or babysitters, etc. though are something to consider. It would be nice for your child to have something comfortable at those times.
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 7/24/2006 08:40:00 PM  

  • My brother did something cute with his daughter to get rid of the pacifier. They gathered up the two or three she owned and took her to "buy a toy" with them. She picked out her toy, then gave the cashier the binkys as payment while her parents handed over the cash when she wasn't looking.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 7/25/2006 09:17:00 AM  

  • I am with the Wiz. We took all the pacis like Leann and bought a great backpack. Our girl lasted 2 weeks and started sucking her thumb, which can't be left in the bed. I know no one wants to have the kid who is 5 and still on the paci, but does it really matter. Are you such a bad parent to let your child sooth himself with a pacifier. To heck with the denist, my kids will need braces anyway. I say if it is only in his bed why torture him. He will not take it to highschool, and you will sleep through the night once again. I totally support you if you give it back to him. Trust me it is easier than the thumb, and in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter.
    posted by Blogger Abby at 7/25/2006 09:48:00 AM  

  • I'm about to embark on the same path you are at this time and I'm scared and nervous. We are going on a long car ride in about week and I don't want to deal with the withdrawals in the car and in new surroundings. So I've told myself when we get back we are going to wean her of it along with breastfeeding. My first baby was a breeze we weaned him from the breast and the pacifier cold turkey at the same time and it wasn't a big deal. For my little DD on the other hand she is the same age as her brother when we did this and she is a lot more attached and I think we are going to have quiet the fight. Good luck!
    posted by Blogger Erin at 7/25/2006 10:20:00 AM  

  • Ok, I usually only read on this site (which I thoroughly enjoy), but I had to throw my two cents in.

    I am the mother of 4. My oldest daughter is being sealed in the Timpanogas Temple on Friday, I have a 17 year old daughter, 14 year old son and 12 year old daugher.

    The oldest sucked her thumb. She did so until she was in second grade. I tried to persuade her to stop many times but it was her "comfort" thing. She decided on her own to stop and that was the end of it. Yes, she's had braces but not because of the thumb sucking.

    Number 2 daughter started out on a pacifier but stopped after a few months because I accidently heated her bottle too warm and burned her mouth. (I know bad mom) But she couldn't suck for about a day and a half and that was the end of the pacifier.

    Number 3 son loved his pacifier. At two years of age, I restricted it to his bed only for naps and bedtime. I would go in after he'd fallen asleep and pull it out and put it on his nightstand. If he woke up and really looked for it, he could find it. One day, he got up from his nap, took his pacifer and threw it in the garbage and told me it was "yukky" I of course dug it out and cleaned it for fear of needing it that night, but he never asked for it again.

    Number 4 daughter was a thumb sucker and did so until probably 1st grade. Her top teeth were pushed out and when she smiled there was actually a gap. A round circle where her thumb normally sat. Within 6 months of her stopping the thumb sucking, the teeth went back to their normal position.

    I guess my point is that kids are all different but most tend to have something that brings them comfort. Sometimes it's a blanket, pacifier, thumb, a certain animal. In the grand scheme, I don't think it's a big deal. They'll stop when they're ready and as they get older and become more aware of their peers, they become very aware that others their age are not sucking their thumbs or using pacifiers.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/25/2006 04:19:00 PM  

  • It's so crazy, but I had such an easy, easy time getting my girls off of the "binky". I did it slowly, too --by 18 months, it was crib only and only for nap/bedtime. Then by the time they were 2 (give or take a few months), it was gone for good. But I also had another baby that had a binky and they learned that the binky was for babies.

    Now I'm in the same boat you are, ksl.

    My son is almost 2, and although we have gotten it down to crib only, we always give in when he's sick --or if we're traveling --etc. etc. and so it's been murder trying to let him know that he doesn't need it during the day. But we're being firm, and so it's working again (crib only).

    I'm so afraid that it's going to be like your experience when we try to wean him. There is no baby this time to "give" the binky to. He's also our first boy. And quite spoiled because of it (sort of). I'm thinking of either letting him have it a little bit longer until the next baby is born (yes, this is sort of an announcement), but then won't all of that change be to traumatic for him? Should I do it now? In a few months? Basically, I guess all I'm saying is that I feel your pain, ksl. And I'm not sure how I'm going to do it. Everyone has great ideas that I think I might have to try...

    p.s. ksl --don't give up. You'll figure out how to calm him down or how to help him to understand. And I doubt he'll remember any of the trauma of crying...so, hang in there! :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 7/25/2006 08:08:00 PM  

  • Ok. so after a week, things are A LOT better. As long as I give DS time to wind down and know that he is going to bed he is now only crying for a few minutes and then yells out NIGHT NIGHT for the next hour or so. He's still sleeping through the night, so i really cant complain. Once again my DS has shown more resilience than I though he was capable.

    I do agree with the statements that each child is different. we will see what happens next time.
    Really i can' t help but think that these are just the things we go through as moms. nothing can prevent them and if its not one thing, its another. so take each day at a time and try not to stress out. You are the creator of your own experience here (within reason) I choose to enjoy it or get strung out. so far this experience doesnt have me too strung. so im grateful for that.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 7/28/2006 12:32:00 PM  

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