Monday, July 18, 2011
It happened just like that. (Picture me snapping my fingers.)
On Friday night, as Nora was engaging in her new bedtime exercise of playing in her crib, she tossed her pacifier overboard, onto the floor. And Michael and I made the sudden decision NOT TO GO GET IT.
Well, let me back up a little bit. It wasn't THAT sudden. In fact, at Nora's doctor's appointment in June, we briefly discussed getting rid of the binky. Upon asking her about it, our pediatrician warned us that if we didn't make the move now, we would have to be OK with potentially having the binky in our lives until Nora is 2-3 years old. She explained that around 10-12 months of age, children develop attachment to objects, and that attachment can be difficult to break. While our pedi actually thinks that attachment objects are GOOD things, she said it was up to us whether we wanted to encourage Nora to form an attachment to a binky, or a blanket, a stuffed animal, etc.
Now, I want to take a minute here to say that I in no way judge parents who use pacifiers past the age of 1 year. This is one of those things that I think is totally dependent on the type of baby you have. But Michael and I discussed long ago that, if we could avoid it, we really didn't want Nora to be dependent on a pacifier once she was walking and talking. Hence our discussion with the doctor.
We kept putting it off, though. After Nora's well-baby visit, we told ourselves, "We'll let her have it through our trip to Mexico. After that, we'll get rid of it." And our Mexico trip came and went. We were back home, and still using that binky.
Nora was one of those newborns that just HAD to suck for comfort. Due to some mixed signals I was receiving from nurses and the lactation consultants at the hospital, I gave her one when she was less than 24 hours old, but took it away again when I was scared into believing it would make her have a difficult time breastfeeding. As a result, I spent our first two nights at home with my arm hanging over the side of our bed, with one of my fingers in Nora's mouth so we could actually get some sleep. NOT comfortable, by the way.
When we went in for Nora's first pediatrician's appointment two days later, I mentioned this, and because it appeared we had officially worked out any nursing issues, she gave me the green light to give her a pacifier. THANK GOODNESS. And in those early days, I think we used it quite a bit. It was a lifesaver. We have tons of pictures of teeny, newborn Nora with a binky.
As she grew older, though, we came to limit the use of the binky to naps and bedtime, and sometimes rides in the car. We would occasionally cave and give it to her during an especially fussy period, but luckily for us, those are few and far between for Nora.
But I'll tell you: This kid seemed really dependent on it for sleep. And I was giving the pacifier credit for keeping her happy/quiet in the mornings, too. Nora is usually content to hang out in her crib until we're ready to go get her (within reason, of course--we don't make her lie in there for hours!).
We were scared to give it up.
So when Nora tossed it over the side of the crib on Friday night, it was just one of those "a-ha" moments--and after a little "should we stay or should we go" debate, Michael and I both shrugged our shoulders and said, "Let's see if she can fall asleep without it." I guess you can say that in that moment, we decided to rip off the Band-Aid.
Sure enough, after a while longer of playing and babbling in the crib, Nora passed out. And we didn't hear much from her throughout the night, either. Saturday morning was a different story. We woke up at 6:15 to Nora crying. Very unusual way for us to wake up in our household, and about an hour earlier than normal, too. I will confess that in a moment of weakness, I went into her nursery and gave her the pacifier to try to get an extra 20-30 minutes of sleep.
The thing was--it didn't work. We got up bright and early and vowed to be stronger about getting that pacifier out of our lives. We were all over the place on Saturday--at friends' houses, at parties, in the car for long drives. We had the binky with us, but we did not give it to Nora--not once. Saturday night, she seemed to have a harder time going to sleep without it, which was sad, but we stuck it out and Sunday night was a breeze.
Now I am proud to say that it is Monday night, Nora's sleeping again, and she has not had a binky in her mouth since that early morning moment of weakness on Saturday. To step the celebration up a notch, I'm happy to report that Nora woke up fussing very briefly early Sunday morning, then put herself back to sleep and slept in! Slept in so late, in fact, that Michael and I actually got up before she did. And this morning? Totally normal Monday morning.
There's no turning back now. The binky is gone.
And I'll admit that there is a big part of me that is sad about it. To me, the pacifier was one of the tell-tale signs that she is still a baby. Watching her suckle it while she was sleeping. Seeing that smile behind the binky when we'd go in to get her up from a nap. Watching her pick it up and turn it into her own mouth, like an expert.
Knowing that it's gone for good makes my heart hurt a little.