My boys say goodbye to their comfort objects

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Categories Celebrations, Development, Preschoolers, RelationshipsTags ,

Just before Christmas, my boys had their dentist appointment. Their teeth looked great (despite our lackluster brushing schedule), but the dentist had one concern.

“How’s it going getting rid of the pacifiers?” he asked P.

A look of panic flashed across P’s face, and he turned away from the dentist.

He tried again. “Are you guys gonna give them to Santa this year?”

I seized the opportunity and asked follow-up questions about Santa’s policy on pacifier surrender. The boys were unimpressed, and hid their faces in my coat. As I gathered our mounds of paperwork and prepared to leave, P motioned me down to his level.

“I think I do want to give my babas to Santa,” he said. Then his giant blue eyes filled with tears and he wept silently as we paid and walked to the car.

In the minivan, G tearfully said that he, too, would give up his babas at Christmas, in return for an extra present from Santa. Then he burst into tears, accompanied by loud heart-wrenching sobs that continued about 20 minutes.

My boys are 5. You can find a full apology for their continued baba use here, but the shortened version is this:

“I don’t believe it will hurt his teeth, really. But even more than that, I know there are looming in his not-so-distant future so many goodbyes he won’t be able to put off. He sleeps tonight as he did before birth, curled against his brother, the two of them partners in a relationship beyond my understanding. There is no sparing him heartache, as these two will have to part eventually for their future lives to begin.”

August 07 017

In the weeks before Christmas, G wavered in his resolve but P stood firm. On the 23rd G tried to organize a coup but P was having none of it.

On Christmas Eve, with little fanfare, we tied the boys’ babas with twine and they hung them alongside their stockings. A few tears were shed at bedtime, but Jason and I held their hands and cuddled them, and they drifted off to sleep. In return for their trouble, Santa brought them shields sent by Captain America himself.
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The next few nights were more difficult, but overall the transition was very easy. Once they volunteered to surrender their beloved pacifiers, I knew they were ready despite the tears and misgivings. And so far, neither has started sucking his thumb (as their sister did when we took away her pacifier at age 3).

This past weekend we took an overnight trip to an indoor water park; a thank you/congratulations gift from us to the boys, in recognition of a major milestone. Not just that they’re finished with pacifiers, but that they gave them up willingly, on their own timetable, even though it was painful and scary. I’m so proud of them.

Jen is the married work-from-home mother of 7-year-old Miss A, 5-year-old boys G and P, and 3-year-old Haney Jane. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine.

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17 thoughts on “My boys say goodbye to their comfort objects”

  1. My girls were never big on pacifiers… they like their thumbs instead. At our last dentist visit he politely suggested we break them of the habit. So here we are preparing for our six month follow up and still avid thumb suckers.
    .-= Quadmama´s last blog ..I Need a Vacation =-.

  2. Good job on the pacifiers! My kids would, unfortunately, never take a paci all on their own–and OH, I TRIED! But we can relate to the breaking of other habits. Also, having boy/girl twins, their lives are already seperating as they discover different interests…but it did break my heart just a little to put them in different rooms with the siblings of the same gender!!!

  3. Jen, this is so timely!

    This past Friday, I cut the ends off of all G and L’s binkies. When they tried to suck on them, the realized that their binkies were broken. They told me they needed to throw them away. It took us a half an hour to go through every binky in the cupboard, but all were labeled “broken” and tossed.

    The first afternoon after we gave them up was rough, but things have gotten surprisingly easy quickly. I really believe that having G and L decide to throw their binkies away made the difference. There hasn’t been any fighting, a little sadness when they want comfort, but we’ve replaced this with a quick hug and an I love you and all is well.

    Congratulations on saying bye-bye to the binkies!
    .-= Jennifer U´s last blog ..Black Mail Picture for Lucas =-.

  4. That is awesome. Love the Captin America shields. I agree with you on letting them give them up on their own timetable. My hubby and I always say as long as they are not still doing by the time they leave for college, it’s all good.

  5. It’s so much easier to transition kids when they are ready! My four year old gave up her binky at age two but it was on her own time. One day she was screaming for a binkie at nap time and two days later when she again couldn’t find it decided, on her own, that Swiper the Fox must have swiped them and passed them on to “Baby Joe”. Who the heck knows where Baby Joe came from (or the fact that she insisted Joe was a girl) but because she was the ready it was such an easy transition. Our boys will be two in a couple of weeks and they still take a bottle at nap time and bedtime. When asked by friends/relatives/doctors/dentists when we plan to stop making them bottles I simply say “when they can start making it themselves”. I have NO intention to take away their comfort item until they’re good and ready. Expert advice be damned!
    .-= Cristal´s last blog ..When it’s a fight between my butt and my blog… =-.

  6. I love the picture of them curled up together. Breaks my heart when you write about their bond and how hard it will be for them to separate so that they can lead their own lives.

  7. I will never forget how hard it was for both me and L when I forced him to give up his binkie. As I told you, you are absolutely doing the right thing. You won’t regret it. Congrats on a big step!

  8. At Christmas, we needed new soothers for our almost one year olds. I discovered that they make soothers in different sizes. I suddenly thought, “oh my god, I never bought bigger soothers for my son. Only the smallest size.” But then my moment of guilt ended when I remembered he gave up his soother as soon as he got teeth. He didn’t use a soother long enough to need the next size.

    The girls are now on the second size of soother, but they only have them in their cribs and in their car seats – i.e. when they are hopefully sleeping. I think the new nanny is now on board with this routine, too.

    The nurse at our 1 year check up said they should be giving them up around 18 months, so we aren’t too concerned yet.

  9. How brave your boys are! We are talking about taking Madeline’s Bop-oos away, but I just got her to stay in bed at bedtime again… one thing at a time huh?

  10. My two are also addicted to their pacifiers but at only 10 months I have some time. What a great idea giving them to Santa. I must say that is the cutest picture of them sleeping together ~ adorable.

  11. Oh man, love that paragraph about the goodbyes and parting ways (and SO cute that they sleep together like that, wow!).

    You are a great mom (and your boys are both sweet and brave!).

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