On November 9 we made a big move in this household — it became NO MORE PACIFIER DAY!
We finally exhausted all the reasons to let Bean keep her pacifier — her eye teeth (aka canine teeth, aka cuspids) came in, she had her tear duct surgery, and she wasn’t sick.
I finally got Husband to agree to set a date. And we did. And we did it. And it was fine. (Husband had been more reluctant than me to ditch the paci mostly because it meant knowingly committing to more nightly interruptions and less sleep for him; which is totally valid because he regularly gets only 5 hours of sleep every night.)
And, let’s be honest, the nuk is a fast and easy way to calm your child. Even though Bean only got her nuk during naptime and bedtime, it also was a crutch in church, in the car, and when she was unusually belligerent.
We had tried to get Bean to give up the nuk in March when she was 13 months and it didn’t work very well. She just wasn’t ready, and since we had teething and surgery issues, I didn’t care enough to push it. In retrospect I’m glad we waited, if only for the surgery alone. I think it provided a great comfort to her, and helped quell her hunger.
BUT, as soon as she turned 21 months (3 months older than Monkey was when we got rid of her nuk), and her surgery was complete, I was anxious to ax it because I know the next major transitions are just around the corner: big girl bed and potty training.
I’m going to keep Bean in her crib as long as I can to cut down on the inevitable frustration of her having total and complete bedroom freedom — it was somewhat of a disaster with Monkey, probably because she was only 19 months old, but I can’t help it that she took a flying leap out of her crib. But, I know that moment could come at anytime, and I was going to be d@mned if I was going to be searching a big girl bed, and sheet, and comforter, for a dang nuk in the middle of the night. It was annoying enough to do it in her crib with no flat sheet or big comforter.
And sometime either before or after the big girl bed comes potty training. We were able to train Monkey in three days when she was 23.5 months and I have no idea if it will be that easy with Bean, but I’m sure we’ll give it a shot.
At any rate, I didn’t want Bean to be going through three major transitions in her life, so the nuk had to go!
I knew we would have to go a different route than just cutting off the tip. When we tried that in March it didn’t work AT ALL. As I’ve mentioned, Bean can sometimes be difficult to console. And she was P*SSED. In fact, she was downright furious.
I happened to be on Twitter about a week before we were planning to pull the plug when I stumbled across some Sesame Street You Tube videos about giving up the pacifier. Apparently, November 4 was NO MORE PACIFIER DAY, and Elmo had a series of cheeky videos about how kids could give up the binky in preparation for the big day (i.e. give it away, make an exchange, use a sticker chart, have a visit from the pacifier fairy, etc.) How fortuitous.
Since Bean was a little older, I thought she would understand the whole “give the nuk to a baby,” trick and settled on that as our main tactic. About a week before the big day, I started telling Bean that she wasn’t a baby anymore and that we were going to give her nuks to her baby cousin C. Every time I asked her if she was going to give her nuks to C she replied with “No.” 😉
We watched all NINE Sesame Street videos multiple times over the course of that week. On the morning of the big day I took Bean to the store and bought her a brand new baby doll in exchange for her nuks. That afternoon, before her nap, we gathered up her four remaining nuks, put them in a box and I again told her that I was going to mail them to her baby cousin. The next day, Bean’s Nana did the same thing.
We also stopped referring to her as a baby and really amped up the “big girl” praise. For MONTHS, Bean has referred to herself and any other child, larger or smaller than she, as a “baby.” Initially after giving up the nuk when we asked her if she was a baby she would respond enthusiastically, “Uh huh!” But it only took another week and she would respond, “Noooo, mama.” I think she loves that she’s a big girl now like her sister.
That first night Bean cried half heartedly on and off for about 30 minutes. We went in a couple of times and patted her back and eventually she fell asleep. She then proceeded to wake up about 5 times. I’m not gonna lie. It sucked. Husband and I were switching off going in and patting her back (but giving in was never an option). Finally, Husband fell asleep in the chair in her room.
Luckily for us, the next night went smoother with 15 minutes of half-hearted crying and only waking up once during the night.
And that was that! It’s been almost three weeks now and while it does take her longer to calm down at bedtime and fall asleep — meaning that she’s not crying, but that we’re having to go into her room a million times after we put her to bed, although this could have more to do with the fact that she’s had back-to-back illnesses — it’s really been easy breezy with minimal night wakings. I don’t know what was easier — cutting the tip for Monkey or doing an exchange for Bean. I guess it’s all a matter of finding the best method for your kid.
Check out who’s a big kid now!