Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bye-Bye Binkey-- aka How to Torture Your Child

Instructions not included BooginHead pacifier
Back in August I mentioned that when Jordan was around seven months old, pacifiers basically saved our lives. Well, at least they allowed us to sleep through the nights. At twenty-five months, we no longer had them hanging from her shirts or bibs twenty-four-seven, so we had taken some steps in the right direction. She was fine with this. I guess that the world was interesting and entertaining enough for her to not need them all of the time. We did know that she was still very dependent upon them when going to sleep.

But now she was over two years old, and the books were telling us that it was time to take the pacifiers away. So that is what we did. We wrapped them up for “Baby Tara” a neighborhood baby who had just been born. Jordan was so cute, wanting to give them to the baby. I knew she didn't thoroughly understand what the actual plan was, but she was so cooperative and helpful.

That first night without them was not fun. Not at all. She cried hysterically from 9:30 pm to 11:30 pm. She seemed so upset and angry. It brought back flashbacks of the whole self-soothing before bed, time. We went into her room like the books instructed, and spoke to her calmly, reassuring her that we loved her and that it would be okay. She would stop crying when we went in, but when we left, she just lost it. Finally she did go to sleep, but woke up screaming again at 3:00, and then at 6:00 am.

I went in when she was sleeping, because I was feeling so horribly guilty, and I would see her scratching at her crib mattress, groping and searching for them. This was while she was asleep. It was heart wrenching to watch. We were the ones who gave her the pacifiers, and let her use them for over two years. But now for no apparent reason, except that this was what parents were supposed to do, we took them away. The next night she tried so hard to be brave. She looked at books to keep busy and said “Me no need my pasey (pacifier), Me wrap it up.” But then she screamed, flailed, and kicked for over an hour.

My thought patterns at this point were basically this: "What am I doing to her? Even at age two she is trying to please. Trying to understand, and do what is expected of her." I'm pretty sure that I even got angry at our pediatrician and the nurses from the hospital where she was born. They all made it very clear to new parents that sucking is important for a babies' ability to eat and ultimately, to survive. At least that's how I had interpreted it.

A month later she was still screaming frantically before bed. One night I got so angry that I went in and yelled about how tired we were of hearing her, and that she better close her eyes and go to sleep.

Then she stopped crying. Really? That's what was necessary to get her to stop?

It took two months for her to finally stop screaming and crying before bed. That was eight weeks. Fifty-six nights of hearing our child scream like someone was tearing off one of her limbs.

Again, we were doing what we thought was best for our daughter. Would it have been so detrimental if we waited for her to eventually give the pacifiers up on her own? Probably not. I doubt that she would have continued to suck on them throughout elementary school. Could these many hours of discomfort and stress have changed her brain chemistry? Probably.  Or, was her brain chemistry the reason why she had such difficulty coping with situations that appeared to be easier for other children?

So many questions. So few answers. Maybe we can get our answers by looking at our children's successes, because all kids have them- each and every day. All we need to do, is make sure that we take notice of them. :)

Thank you.
Us Too

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