I’ve decided that my kid needs to go to rehab. He’s completely addicted to his pacifier and needs an intervention.
The freakin’ binky! Or paci, nubby, nuk… whatever you call it in your house- at ours, it’s the binky, bink or bink-bink, and this thing is like pure gold to my toddler. It’s to the point where I’m almost certain he is going to be the first kid to go to college with a pacifier adhered to his lips. This thing needs.to.go.
Like almost everything with my children, things have pretty much gone completely opposite of whatever I originally thought would happen in every aspect of their lives thus far. I never planned on using pacifiers, but both kids ended up in the NICU and they each had one in their mouth before I even entered their room to see them for the first time. When you’re looking at your tiny little miracle fighting for their life, the fact that they are sucking on a pacifier quickly becomes the least of your concerns. I gladly let them have it- anything to soothe them and make them feel more comfortable.
When the elevator doors open and you step onto the floor of a NICU, you’ll notice that there is no noise and it’s an odd realization. Beyond the constant beeps from all of the monitors, for a floor the houses 40 new babies, there isn’t any crying. It’s not like the maternity ward where you can hear newborn babies cries coming from every room. In the NICU some of them aren’t even able to- I didn’t hear Jack cry until he was a week and a half old- he had been intubated the entire time up until that point. The other babies on the floor, like Ben, simply just had a binky that was keeping them quiet in addition to round the clock care.
When we got home from the hospital, we realized the binky was a little piece of magic. The baby was fussing? Give him the binky and he calms right down. Oops! he woke up for a second! Stick the binky back in and he’ll go back to sleep… quick!! It was awesome. The nurses at the hospital may have been the first to introduce my kids to the pacifier, but my husband and I are 100% responsible for fueling their addiction.
We lied to ourselves for a long time- “Our child doesn’t really like the binky, it just helps him sleep”… “Our child will never be that kid with the stupid pacifier in his mouth in pictures.” Well, here we are- almost two years later and I struggle to get a picture of him without that damn thing in his mouth. Not only does Ben love his binky, he demands it. My cherub little boy, not even the ripe age of two years old, will morph into a little Tony Soprano and say in a saucy tone “My binky go?”, which is toddler speak for “Where the hell is my binky? I better have it in my hands within ten seconds…. or I will cut you.”
So, today, fed up with listening to my child talk with some ugly thing in his mouth, I took a stand… against all binkies everywhere and for every mom who is sick of their child’s addiction. Out of the blue, I had had enough and I hastily cut the tip off one of Ben’s favorite pacifiers when he was eating dinner (the only time I’ve seen it out of his mouth lately) and waited to see what would happen. He actually took it pretty well and very sweetly asked me what was wrong with it when he got it back. I claimed ignorance and said it must be broken. It wasn’t so much a lie as it was an omission of the truth… the binky was broken… but I didn’t need to tell him that I knew how it got that way. I tried to act just as surprised as he was when it wasn’t staying in his mouth anymore. He made it the rest of the evening without the binky in his mouth and at one point even threw it across the room, angrily declaring “binky broken!”. Could it be this easy? This is a piece of cake! I should have done this sooner.
It wasn’t until bedtime that I started to panic…how the hell was he supposed to sleep without his binky?!? My heart rate sped up as I started anticipating a long battle going to bed without his beloved binky. He had taken a late nap, causing him to stay up later and it was already an hour past his bedtime. I was tired and we wasn’t up for a huge fight. As I looked over to him playing quietly with his toys, it hit me… I was hooked on the binky as much as he was. The stupid binky which I despised seeing in my child’s mouth, was also a source of comfort for me… I knew he would sleep through the night with it and the thought of being woken up by him looking for it scared me so much that I caved.
When Ben began to protest bedtime, I bent down to him and quietly whispered, “I think there is a real binky on your pillow in your bed if you go in there.” His eyes lit up and he ran into his bedroom. As he laid down in his bed, peacefully sucking on his pacifier, I kissed him goodnight and closed my eyes. The epic battle with the binky wasn’t over yet… and I realized that I was battling more than just Ben’s desire for it. Ben wasn’t the sucker for being dependent on the binky… I was.