The Pacifier Bowl

It has been reliably stocked for four years. Until this month. Then our house became a rehab center when two little pacifier-addicted boys confronted withdrawal.

Warren (soon-to-be two) and Trey (four) have been attached to a sucking a pacifier since their newborn days, especially while sleeping. I'm aware that a four year old is too old to sport a pacifier, but also believe that The Sucking Instinct innately needs to be satisfied and is important to cater in babies and toddlers under the age of two.

Since both li'l guys craved the "passie" at certain times of the day, especially at bedtime, it was neither a good nor successful attempt to remove pacifier privileges from one child but not the other. It was like putting someone you love who is trying to stop smoking in the face of a friend who chooses to take a drag whenever the craving hits. Trey (time to quit) couldn't handle it when Warren enjoyed a passie in his presence. Big bro got his fix by stealing the pacifier right outta li'l bro's mouth to plop it in his own.

The first two days of withdrawal were the pits, especially at bedtime.

I discreetly taperecorded their passie-pleading voices for future laughs. But these photos weren't even snapped 'til day two as their reaction to the loss was far beyond a typical moment of tears or tantrum for children this age.

It was a traumatic type of sad.

One night during a passie-craving low, Trey whimpered, "Momma you're a bad guy."

It's not the first time I've been perceived as the
bad guy by our kids and won't be my last. Problem is, my goal to become a good parent requires willingness to be interpreted as mean sometimes.

Kicking the habit and recovery was achieved with the help of a passie-intervention plan. Day one, I explained to the li'l guys that we all had to say bye-bye to the passies in The Pacifier Bowl. I dropped a handful in the trashcan while they watched; their distraught facial expressions were pitiful. The good news, I told them, was that in the morning when they awoke, there'd be a new surprise in The Pacifier Bowl!

They didn't even crack a smile.

For about a week, I got up early enough every morning to bake some sweets to be placed at the bottom of The Pacifier Bowl before the li'l guys woke up.

They'd still rather find pacifiers. But hey, they've been clean for a month now.

As for the Momma: I had a few jitters myself during the withdrawal. It has something to do with saying goodbye to the beloved babyhood days of raising children. The Sucking Instinct so defines babyhood. I've always adored watching their little pink tongues curve and latch on. I'd tug the bottle and pacifier out dozens of times a day just to watch that. After mothering five babies it's days worth of hours that I've spent savoring, snuggling and staring as their tiny jaws pulsed to the beat of their sucking rhythm.

reminiscing ~ July 2008

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