Wednesday, August 05, 2009

LA unplugged: depacifying a toddler

LA was about 5 days old and wailing in the middle of the night (infants actually do that, make a note of it) we discovered the beautiful glorious allow-mama-and-dadda-to-sleep-for-just-a-bit wonders of the pacifier. We got one out of the package, plopped it in his mouth...and, wait for it...shhh...hear that...SILENCE!

And, so began the age of the paci. Jump ahead two years (this time last year) and you have a happy little boy who's eloquent in every feasible way except for one thing. The addiction we gave him. The dreaded paci!

"I'm tired I need my paci."

"I need my paci so I can calm down."

"I need my paci so I can relax."

Back when we were first thinking toward depacification, you had a few pieces of advice for us. We were most amused by what designHER Momma did when PK was at this stage. "oh, we were mean over here. We just started cutting the tip of the paci little by little over the course of a month or two until there was nothing to suck on but the plastic part. but it worked..."

We tried that a year ago and it wasn't working out too well with LA having recently adjusted to his toddler bed at age 18 months and getting used to his brother being around when he was 21 months. So, we gave up. Shortly after that he showed interest in potty training. We rolled with that and got that notched off the list. But, still needing omission...the paci.

In the middle of last winter, Mr. Blonde spontaneously told LA when he asked for his paci that we were going to give Baby Matthew (a friend's then infant) LA's paci when he turned 3. Much to our surprise, LA was into it and thought a baby SHOULD have a paci. Big boys don't need pacis. Ah hah! We had a plan.

Jump ahead to yesterday. August 4, 2009. As a prelude to going cold turkey at his birthday party this weekend, Mrs. Blonde cut a very very tiny slit in the end of the paci. Simple physics really. Kid sucks on paci, it goes in and out of mouth as desired. Kid sucks on paci with slit in it, it stays put. No in. No out. Nothing. LA didn't say anything about it until bedtime last night...

"Dadda, my paci has air in it. I don't want it. Get me a new one."

"It's the only one we have (outright lie), buddy. How about I just sit it here on the floor next to your bed and you can get it if you want it?"

"Uh huh."

He wasn't upset in any way whatsoever. Until about an hour later and he still hadn't fallen asleep. Now, in our house, we have a schedule. That schedule has been in plan since the dawn of time (dawn of time = when we had kids). It dictates a fairly strict eating and sleeping schedule. The boys like it. We like it. Don't screw with it. It works. So, when LA comes strolling out of his bedroom at 9PM, it's unusual to say the least. That's when the byproduct of a lack of ability to self-soothe took over.

"Dadda, I have to go poo poo."

"I'm thirsty. Please can I have some milk?"

"My belly hurts."

"I'm hungry"

"I have to go pee."

Oh, did we mention we had dinner guests over last night too? Yeah. We did. Ryan & Stephanie, we love your patience. Thank you.

Anyway, by 9:45, Mr. Blonde just went in there and laid with the little man. There isn't that much space in a toddler bed for a 200 pound 31-year-old and a soon-to-be-3-year-old. But, evidentally, there is enough. Because for the first time since we has a newborn in the hospital, LA fell asleep without a paci!

Did you hear that? WITHOUT A PACI! We're not out of the woods just yet. He has an overnight trip to Grandpa and Grandma's tonight and a couple nights until his birthday party at a local fire station this weekend where we'll give the paci to Baby Matthew. But, we've never been closer. We need a strong finish. Ready...Break! Go team! Wish us luck.


Kristin said...

Stick with it! It will be over soon!

Anonymous said...

You will soon be paci free! Hang in there! In our house, we're still trying to force the paci, our little one found her thumb around 2 months of age...and you can't really take that away. Hmmm, very humbling for 2 parents in the dental profession.
Kim F.

designHER Momma said...

my method might have been an exercise in bad parenting - but it was effective!