My Toddler’s Late Found Love of the Pacifier

pacifierPacifiers. It’s hard to live with them and it’s hard to live without them. The little suckers can bring so much peace to a stressed out parent—trust me, I know from firsthand experience—but they can also cause tremendous stress to already stressed out parents as well. Again, I know from firsthand experience.

Addie was a pacifier baby. She came out of the womb and into the world and within hours she had declared herself a pacifier baby. Back then it was a really easy decision for me since all my sisters used pacifiers, and it became an easy decision for Casey once she realized how difficult it was to listen to a relentlessly crying baby.

The pacifier remained in our lives until Addie turned about 3 years old and then the pacifiers were phased out of her life. It took a failed experiment that left both my wife and daughter scarred for life.  When it came time to get rid of the pacifiers, Casey turned to Google and found an article about snipping off the end of the pacifier in the middle of the night.  After Addie went to bed that night, Casey sneaked into her room and snipped off the ends of her pacifiers.  A few hours later Addie woke up sobbing.  When we entered her room the look on Addie’s face was as if her best friend in the world had betrayed her.  Her best friend had abandoned her in the middle of the night.  Casey rushed to the store and bought more pacifiers that night and they both remained scarred from that experience.

When Vivi was born, we made a conscious effort not to let her use pacifiers. We were going to try to skip that whole failed experiment stage and let Vivi learn to live life without one. Then the relentless crying began and it didn’t stop for several days. Casey’s inability to produce milk had a lot to do with that relentless crying, and we finally broke down and forced a pacifier into Vivi’s screaming mouth.

No go, however. Vivi herself had decided she wasn’t a pacifier baby. No matter how enticing we made those pacifiers look, Vivi didn’t want to have anything to do with them. There were many occasions in Vivi’s first year of life where a pacifier would have made life much easier, but the kid continually refused.

She refused and refused and refused right up until about a month ago. I don’t know where the kid found the pacifiers we bought for her when she was a baby, but she did and they went into her mouth and she has grown emotionally attached to them. However, she is only allowed to use the pacifiers while she is in her bed, and it has gotten to the point where Vivi will ask if she can take a nap or if she can go to bed early.  My lucky weekend? Turns out it was all about Vivi’s secret love of the pacifier.

Vivi doesn’t use the pacifiers while she’s asleep and I don’t know what benefit she’s getting from having one in her crib, but I do know that there’s a detriment to this newfound discovery. The kid is in that ripe age where pacifiers can mess up the alignment of her teeth. Additionally, she’s going to have to go through the stages of giving up her pacifier just like Addie had to do. And as Vivi’s parents, that really sucks for us. We’re going to get to experience all the negative emotional stuff that comes with taking a child’s pacifier away, but we didn’t get to enjoy any of the benefits that can come from pacifiers earlier on in a baby’s life.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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