Yep, My Toddler Still Has a Pacifier

I’ve heard all of the tips:

“Cut the end off, then he won’t want it anymore.”

“Let him throw it away himself. He will be fine!”

“Just tell him it got lost. He will forget about it.”

I’ve read the articles on how to get rid of it, talked to our pediatrician and other mamas who’ve lived it, and even graciously accepted (and repeatedly read) the cutesy children’s books my well-meaning mother has bought and sent home with him after a sleepover. Yet, it’s still around…every time he gets hurt, any time he’s in trouble, long car rides, short car rides, whatever. Y’all know what I’m referring to.

The dang pacifier.

If I had a penny for the amount of times I’ve searched our home for this misplaced token of obsession, I would be able to pay for, like, a month of daycare…at the very least. I’ve made so many trips to the store to replace it when I haven’t been able to find it, that I now have some sort of magical “paci magnet” instilled in my mama instincts. We’ve both cried so many tears over the last two years about the pacifier. But I’ve found one sure fire way to make us both happy: I let him have it.

I gave up trying to “lose” it, and accepted that the future orthodontia bills are currently worth it during this season of toddlerhood. Sorry y’all, but I have way bigger fish to fry than arguing about when/where/for how long he can have it–like literally fishing little brother out of the toilet 5 seconds ago. I know the tricks I’m “supposed” to be trying, the opinions of everyone who doesn’t have to deal with a hysterical 2-year-old when his beloved is withheld (funny how that works, right?) and even started to brace myself for the day it will cease to exist. Winter is coming, y’all. Sooner than any of us might be ready for.

You see, he has a big birthday coming up. On said birthday, “paci” will be gone for good…come hell or high water. It’s something we’ve been preparing him for ever since he started telling us about alllll of the things “big boys who are 3” do. This includes not having a pacifier.

You might be wondering why we don’t just get rid of it now; he obviously understands what the future holds, right? Mmmm, yeah, maybe. But if you’re currently in this predicament (or have been in the past), then you hear me when I say: it’s just not that easy.

In our home we believe in choices; we also negotiate and compromise on everything you can think of–from cookies for breakfast to screen time. You might be thinking to yourself, “um, lady, YOU’RE the mom. Just take it and get over it. Everyone will live!” While that may be true, that’s not how we roll around here. Let me tell you why…

Giving choices not only helps instill a sense of empowerment in my ridiculously stubborn first born, it also helps him to learn the importance of decision making and consequences. While some things are non-negotiable around here {what kind of zoo do you think we are running??}, something so important to my little guy should be presented as a choice in order for him to mentally and emotionally prepare for such a big step in his little life: dealing with loss.

Although the pacifier is obnoxious to me, it’s important to him. It gives him a sense of security when times get tough, and if you think for one second that having that ripped from his tiny little hands–without warning, rhyme, or reason–wouldn’t devastate him, well, I’d like to invite you to re-live the last 784 times we’ve tried to take it away without any preparation. Actually…let’s not and just pretend we did. It hasn’t been pleasurable.

Giving him time to prepare for the departure of his best friend might seem silly to some, but for us it represents two things:

1) light at the end of the tunnel for mom and dad, and

2) plenty of time for him to wrap his sweet little head around saying good bye to something he loves…forever.

I’ll be honest: I have no clue how it’s actually going to play out…and yep, I’m terrified. I don’t expect it to be an easy transition; there will still be lots of time spent talking about it, and most likely plenty of tears (from all parties in the line of fire, I’m sure), but it’s another shot at a teachable moment as parents. Not only that good can will come from losing something you love, but that we are a team and are here to help him through life’s “tough times”.

So, while I despise the stupid thing, to quote our pediatrician and grandmothers everywhere: “it’s not like he’s going to go to college with it!” I’ll admit–I absolutely love seeing pictures of my friend’s kiddos of about the same age with a binky in their mouths. Not only because I feel like we are all in this little club together, but because I KNOW the struggle and IT. IS. REAL.

Hang in there mamas, and keep ignoring unwanted opinions in order to fry those bigger fish until the time is right for your little one. Solidarity my sistas…here’s to paying for years of braces in return for those sweet, rare moments of silence. 

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