My cheeks are pink with embarrassment to even admit this. Jack’s almost 2.5 years old and he was still using a pacifier. Only to sleep, but still. He says sentences. Knows the difference between a crocodile and alligator. And still wants the plastic sucker to snooze.
Anyone with a not-so-good sleeper can understand why we’ve waited. In babyhood, Jack fussed every hour at night. We finally cried it out at seven months, but he’d still wake up once or twice a night. Even now, our three-month-old sleeps longer and better than Jack. So if a bed full of books, spiders, snakes and frogs and a mouth with a pacifier keeps him sleeping, then I’m in. I’d be dozing at my desk otherwise.
Babies don’t need pacifiers passed six months old. Ever since Jack could talk he’s called the his “baby” because we always said, “you don’t need that, pacifiers are for babies.”
Since his first birthday we’ve exhausted the typical excuses of why it wasn’t the appropriate time to cut it out.
“The baby is coming, he doesn’t need any more change.”
“He’s just getting over a cold.”
“He’s been scared of the dark.”
“Daddy’s going on a business trip.”
“He’s going to preschool.”
“He’s got an ear infection.”
Another fun fact of parenthood I’ve picked up is that there’s never a good time to brake habits.
And, we’re always breaking habits.
So, this week we decided it was time. The Binkie Fairy was coming. I pulled out a little box and told Jack the magical story of how the fairy will come to take his “babies,” leave presents and take the pacifier to other babies that need them.
“I don’t want presents,” his lip drops in a pout.
I should have known it wouldn’t be this simple. Jack’s not simple. Everything is very complex. Justin and I exchanged unsure looks. What now?
“Well you’re a big boy and big boys don’t need pacifiers. Mommy and Daddy are very proud of you for giving them away," I say.
“No, me want baby. No give away,” Jack almost starts crying.
Then it came out before I could stop it, “then Santa Claus will never come again.”
And that was that. Pacifiers in the box by the door. Ready for the fairy. I’m not proud of using Santa Claus against him, but I needed something dramatic.
That night Jack milked it for two hours until he finally fell asleep with me in our bed. Only a small sniffle the next night, but sleeping within minutes. No mention of babies. So I’m happy to finally say Jack no longer uses pacifiers. And I’m no longer making excuses.