As my oldest approached her 2nd birthday, I started dreading the day that we’d have to take her precious pacifier away. I was due with #2 just a couple of months later, and we worried about the binky swapping and stealing that might happen after his arrival. That’s when our pediatrician gave me some great advice. Wait. She reminded us of the serious life changes that were coming our first born’s way, and how taking away her comfort item would possibly make the transition harder. So we waited, and things were going just fine after baby arrived. Well, she didn’t like her little brother one bit (that’s another story for another day)–but she was sleeping great with her pacifier and…momma needed sleep.
Fast forward about three months. When I picked my daughter up from Mother’s Day out one afternoon the teacher told me that she’d forgotten to give her her pacifier at nap time…and she still napped! She hadn’t even asked about her precious Boudreaux. (Please note: my husband is in charge of the WubbaNub naming at our house). The teacher suggested maybe just rolling with it and getting rid of her pacifier altogether.
I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant. I realized that I’d become almost as attached to Boudreaux as my daughter had. My growing toddler was losing baby rolls and talking more and more like a big kid every day…but when she had her binky, she seemed like a baby again. However, after talking it through with my husband, my mom, my sister, a few friends,
our dog, I decided to go for it. That afternoon, I came up with a little plan for getting rid of the pacifier.
Since Boudreaux was a monkey (with French heritage, I suppose), I asked my daughter if she was ready to send him back to the jungle to see his family and friends. She seemed intrigued but wasn’t sold just yet. We talked about how he would get there (in an envelope, which the mailman would deliver to a plane, which would then fly the envelope directly to his family’s tree in the jungle) and how excited he would be to to reunite with the other monkeys that he’d missed so much. We discussed how big she had gotten and how she didn’t need Boudreaux’s help to sleep anymore. Much to my surprise, she came to the conclusion that this was a great idea.
Right then and there she gave her most treasured possession a big kiss and stuffed it into a manilla envelope labeled “To: Jungle.”
A minute later she was placing that envelope into our mailbox and telling Boudreaux to “have a good trip.” Meanwhile I was texting my husband and asking him to get the mail on his way in…and to be sneaky about it.
Over the next few weeks we talked about Boudreaux and all of the fun monkey-things he was probably doing in the jungle. The transition that I had dreaded so much actually turned out to be a sweet memory. Just recently we were looking at the pictures from this day, and my daughter reminded me that her brother’s lamb pacifier, Boudreaux II (what can I say, we’re creative), would have to go back to see his family pretty soon… on the farm, of course.
I realize that this technique won’t work for every kind of pacifier or for every child, but what I learned is that creativity and imagination can go a long way in making the transition a positive experience.
What ways have you helped your kids to say goodbye to their pacifiers?