May 2, 2012

Saying Goodbye to the Pacifier

At Gywneth’ s last checkup her hot pediatrician broke the news to me.

Pacifiers and bottles must be done with at once.

The room began to close in on me as I asked if he had any advice.

You see, Gwyneth has a recessed palette (read: inevitable buck teeth) thanks to my beautiful grandmother’s genes. While a pacifier and bottles are frowned upon past 15 months, any damage done by them would only make those teeth worse, he said.

So we put it off, just like we’d been putting off getting rid of the bottles. It was totally for our sake more than Gwen’s. We knew what awaited us: sleepless nights with a crying baby. Can you blame us? We waited until we were sure the side effects from her vaccinations didn’t make her uncomfortable and after her grandparents babysat.

And then we did it.

On Monday I made it a game to gather up all her pacifiers. We put them in an envelope and took it to the mailbox. After we dropped it in the mailbox she was sad which caught me off guard since I assumed she wasn’t really capable of these emotions. {I originally saw this idea from The Macs. I totally forgot to put something cute in the mailbox for her to find, oops} I had written off any idea of creating an elaborate story to go with the disappearance of them because I assumed she wouldn’t understand. She’s 15 months old for crying out loud. But there she was, sad little Gwyneth who moped around after naptime for a few days after we put the pacifiers in the mailbox. Goes to show how much she's capable of that I clearly wasn't aware of.

The next week weighed heavy on our hearts as we had to listen to her struggle during the times she’d typically suck on her pacifier for comfort. In the middle of the night I’d make up some elaborate story of how she needed comfort and we were surely torturing her. We’d go in and comfort her and get her to calm down with an episode of Curious George. By the third night she had caught on to the fact that she got to watch tv after screaming bloody murder. That’s when we had to let her work it out herself, following Ferber’s Progressive Waiting Approach (page 74, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems).

After that frightful night she learned how to put herself to sleep without the aid of the almighty pacifier. She’s now doing well and has decided to sleep in until 8 am every morning. I know, right?! My husband is totally jealous. I can feel his resentment as he kisses me goodbye while I’m still asleep every morning.

And here we are. Another milestone we’ll have to mark off the list. This one we were dreading and putting off for as long as possible, which seems to be a similarity between most difficult milestones. But like all hard things we needed the push to get started and apparently there’s nothing like the threat of making your child’s teeth any more worse than they are already predicted to be.


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