Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Put a sock in it, will ya?

Our babysitter informed me recently that she was taking the binky away from Annabel during naps.

It was just a fact. There was no "do you want me to ... or what do you think ..." just that her own binky-addicted daughter was also three when she pulled the plug and the screaming frenzy began, making her wish she'd never introduced the thing to begin with.

She's apparently been waiting for me to tell her the time had come to return the offending device to the "binky fairy" or the "binky mommy," or to whatever corner of hell pacifiers originally hail. She's just been waiting for a "partner."

In other words: I've yet again dropped the ball.

My mother-in-law has been asking for more than a year (on and off, and sweetly) whether this was the year the binky was going to be sent to "Santa."

Remember me folks? The one who walks the path of least resistance? The one who looks around at her office mates and decides not to worry about such things?

After all, no one here in cubicle land is sucking away on a binky.

But it's true: She doesn't need it anymore. She doesn't have it in the car.
She doesn't take it to school. She doesn't even keep it in her mouth the whole night through.

To everyone's surprise, mine especially, the official report is that Ittybit showed only brief resistance to the news her beloved "oro (Ittybit for orange) binks" had returned to its mommy. She slept with her tiny lamb pressed against her cheek for the requisite two hours.

The babysitter next suggested it was time for the binks to leave our house, too. (It was mentioned in what I would say was a 'Now-I'm-Not-Telling-You-What-To-Do' speech.) So I thought I'd try it. (Out of the unspoken "But-This-Is-What-A-Good-Mom-Would-Do" gist of the speech.)

Last night at bedtime I told Annabel that now that she was a big girl, it was time to send the binky back home. That it was needed elsewhere.

Instant tears and sobs of desperation.

"But I'm NOT a big girl, mommy. I'm still a little girl," she wailed.

And. She. Didn't. Stop.

"Well I think you are a big girl, but how about if we hang on to 'purple binks' until Santa comes? Then he can take it home."

She agreed, but I'm sure it was the kind of hollow agreement that means she's appeasing the one who can be manipulated. She's biding her time, hoping I'll forget the whole mission.

Really, though, I don't know how to react. I don't know how to feel.

This is a stress I don't need right now either: Christmas, a cold and cough that's been hanging on for weeks, guests, parties, presents ... I feel as if everyone is telling me what to do, how to raise her and I am genuflecting in guilt and shame.

A part of me is angry. Part of me is feeling guilty about being a wimp. But a part of me is tired, too.

When I reach down into the core of my beliefs. I always come up with the same thing: I don't think a pacifier is the worst thing in the world, and I don't particularly care if it helps her get to sleep. I am reminded about Jed and his need for "white noise," and how I've had to adapt my own sleep habits to compensate for the whirring of humidifiers and fans that he needs to get some shut-eye.

We all need something right? Perhaps I'd feel better if I could just put a sock in it.

Maybe I'll ask Santa to bring me earplugs this year.


kimmyk said...

When reading this the first person that popped in my head was MARY P over at It's Not All Mary Poppins. I don't know if you read her or not, but she is soooo ensightful. Here's a post for you to read. Maybe it will help.


kimmyk said...

Oh, and here's a follow up.


Andrea said...

I can only comment on what I'd do. If my babysitter were to tell me Gabe needed to give up a binky I didn't have a problem with him having, I'd consider the end result. Number 1, I know they care about Gabe and wouldn't overstep boundaries if they didn't feel it was in his best interests. Number 2, if taking away the binky wouldn't hurt Gabe and would probably help him (mostly in terms of his teeth, but also in keeping him from being so dependant on something like a binky), then I'd most likely just take their advice and take away the binky. Number 3, if saying something to them about the boundaries of their care of my child would preclude future disclosures of the goings on in their care, then I probably wouldn't say anything about feeling overstepped as a parent. But if I thought their advice might then become an epidemic of assvice all the time, then I might say something about them letting me and Mike decide what and when Gabe's best interests needed to be addressed.

It's tough. But maybe Annabel will learn that she can't manipulate you as easily as she thought if Santa does in fact keep the binky when he comes.

Whatever you decide, like you said, your coworkers aren't sucking on binkies. Just like I joke about Gabe getting a Pampers allowance in college. It'll end up okay in the long run.

Melissa R. Garrett said...

My son and daughter both had pacifiers up until the day they turned four. It was only at night and never in public, but it was obvious they needed something of comfort to help them fall asleep. It took A LOT of just talking about being "big" and throwing it in the garbage before they had the confidence to do so. Oh, and a trip to the dentist and having her tell my kids that the pacifier was hurting their teeth really helped to speed things along.

BlogWhore said...

We are weaning our six-month old daughter presently. It's hard and I bet it is harder when they are older.

I do your photos. I would pay you to take our daughter's.

BlogWhore said...

I meant to say love yout photos.

toyfoto said...

Melissa, do you really think their teeth were hurt by pacifiers, though?

I've just been online reading some scholarly report on the
dangers/benefits of pacifyers based on various studies and I'm still
wondering if they really do hurt teeth? I mean this seriously. I'm not sure I'm totally convinced of anything that I've been told about binkies - from nipple confusion on up.

The studies seem to indicate that children with binkies may nurse less, that may be the mother's intention and not the actual appliance. I know in my case, I fully believe the binky allowed us to nurse at all (since I was
in such pain initially and it seemed like she really needed
non-nutritive sucking for comfort). Had I not gotten the relief of NOT
being used as a pacifier I might not have continued to nurse in those early weeks. And she did nurse until she was 20 months, when she spontaneously weaned.

I just wonder about these things because my experience seems vastly
different from the studies. For whatever reason, Annabel didn't have any ear infections and she didn't have nipple confusion.

From what I'm gathering from the study, at least from a dental
perspective, it's better on teeth that pacifiers are used as opposed to thumbsucking; the former may be spontaneously shed between the ages of 2 and 4, whereas the latter may last for years longer and require more aggressive forms of behavior modification to erradicate.

I really don't know what to think.

Thanks - everyone - for adding your perspective. It's all helping.

Xdm said...


We have told Dude that Santa brings prezzies and the reindeer take the "doo-doos" to give to babies around the world. We are going to leave them out with cookies and milk and in the morning there will be train toys. (Piece of cake, right?)

Wish us luck. It could be a long night and I know we can.not.cave.

Karen said...

If you don't know what to think, I wouldn't think at all . . . my daughter was a world-class binky and (afterwards) thumb sucker. It bothered me far more than it bothered her or anyone else, including her dentist (the dentist couldn't see any impact - said she must not have a hard suck.) Anyway, I found that neither binky nor thumbsucking went away by itself, but a day will come when something other than your hounding will inspire Annabel to let go. Your hounding will only inspire her to hang on. In each case, my daughter was motivated by something at Target, as we all are! You'll know the right time--it will present itself. Three is not 23. It is not even three and a-half. There's plenty of time still to come.

toyfoto said...

You folks are the best. You are making my holidays brighter for sure.

Mom101 said...

I'm with you, it's just not a big deal. At first I was sort of put off that your babysitter "told you" this was going to happen. But on further reflection...eh. It's sort of tough love on her part. If nothing else, once you've told her it's time, you need to stick with it so she knows you mean it.

I say let it go. It's a good test for both of you. In the end, she'll be fine, you'll be fine, and it's one less thing to worry about in life.