We just celebrated a 2nd birthday in our house. We have officially made the transition from baby to big boy – a big boy who can actually have a full blown conversation, who can count to 10, who insists on feeding himself with appropriate utensils, who has a sudden curiosity in the potty (and actually tries using it), and a big boy who is about to ditch the pacifier for good!!
Yup, we are weaning off the pacifier – my son’s first love. I am preparing myself for some epic sized meltdowns as a result because breakups are tough – and if he handles them in any way like me, I figure I’m in for a couple weeks of hell.
To say I’m stressing out about this rite of passage is an understatement. I know that he is NOT giving up this pacifier without a fight – so I am literally preparing for battle!!
My husband doesn’t think it’s worth the fight…yet. Two years old is still pretty little and taking something away from someone who cant fully understand his emotions and communicate them effectively is going to be rough, sure, but I have my reasons for biting the bullet now.
1. Pressure from grandparents –
Both sets have started to make comments like, “you don’t need a pacifier, you’re a big boy” or “what’s with that baby paci, you’re not a baby” so much so that I just threw a date out (his second birthday) so they would stop asking – now that date is actually here!
2. Dental problems –
Everyone knows that extended use of a pacifier can cause all kinds of dental and speech problems for children. At the age two these issues can still correct themselves – or so they say.
3. Mommy judgment –
It’s a real thing. The judgment is real! Anyone who says it isn’t is a liar or trying not to scare you.
My son is only two but could easily pass for three – he’s 35lbs. wears a size 3T in clothes and a size 8 shoe. So I get “looks” from other mothers as we walk the isles of the grocery store. I get it – he looks like a much older kid with a pacifier and people have their judgments. The thing is he isn’t an older kid; he’s only two, that’s only 24 months of life experience, which isn’t very much.
I’m not proud that the mommy judging has gotten to me. That it is, in fact, a small reason for starting this weaning process, but it’s the truth and I’m one for being real.
If anything, it reminds me to keep a lid on my own judgments – because you never know what its like to walk in someone else’s shoes…or in this case binky’s.
4. He doesn’t need it –
At age two he doesn’t “need” a paci anymore it’s just an effective soothing mechanism, one that can easily be substituted with a lovie or a blankie or one of the dozen stuffed animals we own.
5. The longer we wait, the harder it will be –
Probably one of the biggest reasons – the longer you are attached to something, the more difficult it is to give up. That’s just human nature. So my theory is lets just rip off the Band-Aid and ditch this bad boy!!
Are these good reasons to kick the habit? I don’t know. Maybe? Maybe not. Is there really any way to be sure? All I know is that we are going to have to make the transition eventually so now is as good a time as any, right? Carpe diem and all that.
My issue is more with the execution of it all. I have to choose my strategy wisely. I have brainstormed a few possible game plans…
Most people I have talked to suggest cutting the tips off all the paci’s so that it disables the sucking function. Besides that fact that I’m pretty sure it creates a choking hazard, it would royally piss my kid off – not being able to successfully use our beloved paci = seriously pissed off toddler. Since the goal here is to not make this transition any harder than it’s already destined to be, I’m going to call this one as a big, fat negative.
I have also heard of putting the treasured paci into a Build A Bear, so that your child can still keep it close to them at all times. So they have it without actually “having” it. Which poses the question, does this actually work? Is there really a two year old that gets this concept? Any parents out there that have actually mastered this successfully needs to explain to me how they did it, because I don’t get how it would work.
I mean, if you took away my favorite thing and put it inside something else as a way to make me “feel better” I would 1) make you prove my love was actually in there and not some cruel trick to get me to give it up 2) I’d probably rip that object out through the teddy bear’s armpit and then chuck the whole thing at your face, but that’s just me. I get emotionally attached to things and can be a little irrational in the heat of the moment (just ask my husband). So considering that my son is made up of half of those very same tendencies – I’m going to have to pass on the bear option.
Since we have a newfound obsession with being a “big boy” I thought maybe we declare a Big Kid Day and send all our paci’s off to babies who actually need them. I quickly realized this is seriously pushing it since my kid would easily be able to argue (even with his limited vocabulary) that he also “actually needs them” too. #fail
Load up all the binkys and pacis and bring them to the fire station – stay with me – and give them to the firemen who collect them from all the big kids. Keep in mind my son loves firemen and fire engines so this could actually work. Maybe, if I’m lucky.
Then I got to thinking about how to even go about preparing for that? Do I make a call first? Do we just knock on the station door? How do you explain that this object is so unbelievably important to this kid, that the fact he even trusts you with it shows how much he admires you, and that the simple act of “giving” it to you means he walked in as my baby and is leaving as a big kid.
Ugh, no thank you.
That not only makes me feel all the feels, but it’s a lot of planning and a little too involved for simply weaning a toddler off a pacifier, dontcha think? I mean I plan on him crying over the experience, we can go without me crying right along with him.
Frustrated at this point, I thought about just throw them all away – well not me, both of us together. You know, explain that we are a big two-year-old now and we don’t need paci’s. So I tell him its time to throw them all away and say buy-bye to them all for good.
This plan would actually work. Plus I wont have any pacifiers lying around to give him in a moment of weakness. The only issue is 1) getting him to actually throw his paci’s into the garbage 2) As the hubby pointed out, going cold turkey like this will make for a very difficult transition for everybody (he and I included).
Which leads us to…
The phase it out method is our winner, winner, chicken dinner!!
We decided that slowly weaning the pacifier in stages vs. all at once was the best plan for pretty much everyone in the family – including the dog!!
First stage, only using them for naptime and bedtime – basically they live in the crib and do not leave that space from here on out. No more using them during tantrums, or during idle time watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, or in the car – those days are over!!
Once we get comfortable with that we will cut back to only using it for bedtime – or altogether, I don’t know exactly yet. The last thing I want is to be so stressed out about him still using it, that I transfer that stress onto him. I mean, I doubt he will be taking his pacifier with him to prom – and considering he’s only two right now, we can afford to ease into the transition.
My goals are just to be consistent in the whole process – no giving in once we set these new boundaries. It’s important to be firm and stand my ground because he can smell my fear!! Help him find comfort in other ways – like with a lovie or singing a song to distract him from wanting the pacifier. Most importantly, make this as smooth a transition as I can for him.
It is his first break up after all.