Wesley has long been addicted to his pacifier.  Even as a very small baby he slept with many in his crib.  He could only self sooth so long as he could find one of his pacifiers.  During the early months I would often find myself in his room, in the pitch dark on hands and knees sweeping my hands across the floor trying to find a lost pacifier.  I’d give him the first one and he’d calm down pretty quickly.  Then I’d keep looking for the rest of them and place at least one in each hand.

It was only a few months ago that we got down to just one pacifier.  He calls them “wawas”.  I’m not sure where he got that name, I think he came up with it all on his own.  I always tried very hard to always call them pacifiers, not binkies or lovies or any other pet name.  I had a plan you see.  We hooked small stuffed keychains (a dog, Poochy; a pink bunny, Pinky, and a cat, Kitty) to his pacifiers.  We referred to them that way as in “Where is Poochy”.  My thinking was that he would grow attached to the toys, not the pacifier.  Then when it was time to transition we would remove the pacifiers and he’d still have his security objects, Poochie, Pinky and Kitty to help him get to sleep.  No such luck.

So being the resourceful parent I am, and not at all above bribery I hatched another plan.  A few weeks ago I told Wesley that when he was ready he could take his pacifiers to the store and use them to buy a new toy.  He of course wanted to leave immediately, but he still wasn’t really ready to give up the wawas.  After a few false starts he managed to go two full nights and one full day (naptime) without needing his pacifier.  So off to the toystore we went.  First we went to TerraToys which is really cool, but not if you are two.  This store has lots of nice toys, but most are meant for an older crowd, maybe five and up.  He really just wanted the fishtank which fortunately wasn’t for sale.  Toys R Us it was.  After a few close calls with Diego toys we ended up with a nice sealife playset with a boat, submarine and numerous, not-to-scale sea critters.

The first night was pretty rough.  He woke up a number of times (some due to thunder) and needed to be loved.  Last night was better.  Hopefully this will stick.

It was a very hard decision to take away his pacifiers.  They are so important to him and clearly the most soothing thing in his life aside from Amber or I.  We didn’t do it to be mean, but really for his good, I hope.  He did seem very proud of himself that he was a “big boy” and that he didn’t need pacifiers any more.  But mostly we were worried about his teeth.  He has a hard time getting his front teeth to touch and this can be caused by using a pacifier too much.  We really notice when he tries to bite the end off of things like a piece of licorice which he can only do by using his back teeth.  The pacifier isn’t his only problem, he also has huge canines like I do, but it wasn’t helping.  And I hope it will help him sleep better.  When he can’t find his pacifier he can’t get back to sleep and will moan until we help him locate it.  Those are the rationalizations I use to help me assuage my guilt.  It is always hard to do anything that doesn’t make your child feel immediately happy and this is definitely stressful for him and for us.


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