|Jack at 5 months. Photo by Erin Manfredi.|
For a while I was in denial about Jack's dependency on his "sucky"(my mom called our pacifiers "suckies" when we were little, and what can I say? It stuck), but eventually I had to face the truth. I knew that the day would come when I would have to take the sucky away, and I knew that day would not be pretty. In the meantime, I did what any sensible mother would do: I found ways to justify his addiction: It's just for now, while he's little; Once he's sleeping through the night on his own, then it will be time to take the pacifier away; Hey, it's better than thumb sucking! You can't throw that away! I promised myself that by the time Jack was a year old the sucky would be gone. But a year came and went in the blink of an eye. Eighteen months, I said, that's when we'll ditch the sucky. But eighteen months flew past, and still, Jack was using his sucky. Now, one week before Jack's second birthday, the decision looms once more: take the sucky, or put it off for another six months (or, let's be honest, quite possibly another year)?
A friend told me that her pediatric dentist said pacifiers are okay until three, which was music to my ears. After all, what harm IS the sucky, really, if it's not going to permanently damage Jack's teeth? Braces are inevitable in this kid's future anyhow, since I had mine for four painful years; of course, I also used a pacifier until I was four... Jack only uses his sucky at nap time and bed time, and when we're traveling. (Sure, sure, he's a little old to have one in public, but as far as I'm concerned all's fair in air travel with a toddler. I'm sure countless fellow passengers would agree.)
Of course, the sucky isn't just beneficial to Jack. I'm terrified that if I take the sucky away, the three hour naps will disappear with it. Jack sleeps eleven hours most nights - I shudder to think what might happen sans sucky. And on a deeper level, I think there's a part of me that doesn't want to say goodbye to the pacifier because it means Jack isn't a baby anymore. Sometimes when I go into his room to wake him up from his three-hour naps (the kid can SLEEP), he snuggles into his blankie and sucks a little harder on his pacifier, like he's willing me not to wake him up. It melts my heart. But with his second birthday looming, I'm afraid I have to face the truth: Jack is growing up. And yet...
|Can you blame me?|
Fortunately, I know that when the time does come (confession: I'm probably not going to take the sucky away just yet), Sesame Street will be there to help me, as always. There are several clips about Elmo giving up his binky, including the adorable Bye Bye Binky. And there's always the Pacifier Fairy if things get desperate.
Or I could just make Jack throw his sucky away on his fourth birthday, like my mom did to me. I still have the scars. (Just kidding Mom.) In the meantime, I'll just keep praying that Jack gives his sucky up on his own. Because if there's one thing that never fails to work for this mom, it's denial.