My boys say goodbye to their comfort objects

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Categories Celebrations, Development, Preschoolers, RelationshipsTags , 17 Comments

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.”

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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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