(This post started as a little blurb on how we got rid of Lou's binky. And then it turned into, well, this. Count on me to turn ditching the binky into an emotional essay. I know. For anyone not interested in my sappiness, there are some pretty fabulous pictures of Lou and her bink for the last two years. I think my favorite thing is the way she so often smiles behind the bink. :) )
Some of you may recall that Lou's first weeks were a little...stressful. I was breastfeeding for the first time, coping with yo-yoing hormones (thanks to the bouncing thyroid), and adjusting to having two babies. After a few weeks, Lou started crying. Kind of all the time. The only thing that soothed her was food (me). Of course, we finally figured out that my thyroid hormones were fighting with my other hormones, and my milk was drying up. She was basically just starving. (Having a thyroid disease is kind of like a life time party. Good times.)
In the mean time, we tried out every binky on the market. No lie. The MAM brand was our last chance. And miraculously, she took it. I actually cried the day she took it. It was that big of a relief to have something - besides me - to soothe her. We spent the next few weeks switching over to a bottle (the MAM brand) and formula, and soon things started looking up for us.
Of course, this led to a binky addiction for our girl. She didn't suck on it all day, but man did we use it to plug up her screams. From her tininess, she's had a temper. When she's happy, she's literally the most happy ball of joy you'll ever know, but if she's angry - screaming, yelling, kicking, gnashing of teeth, the whole bit. Thankfully, the happy far outweighs her rage, but that binky was a lifesaver in keeping her calm. We also took a dozen vacations this year, making the binky a must. On top of the vacations, I had a myriad of excuses for needing the binky, for putting off the Binky Extraction Program. At the top of the list was my sleep. And my sanity. And my total fear of her rage.
|Remember how bald she was? Squeeee!|
But there was one more thing. I try to be a sensitive mom. I know I'm "the boss," but I really do try to see things from my girls' perspectives. And here's how I see it.
I gave her the binky. I developed a dependency on it to keep her quiet. In turn, she learned to rely on it. I read dozens of methods for getting rid of the binky - ranging from a Binky Fairy to floating them away on a balloon to snipping them to a dozen more. And I know I take an extremely sensitive view on this, but in the end, I decided I wanted to get rid of the binky on her terms. I facilitated her reliance on the thing, and I felt so bad tricking her or just taking it away.
I didn't really have a plan of attack. I was waiting to see that she was ready and hoped some sort of brilliant plan would materialize. Then one day, the two remaining binkies we had went missing. I was sure if I looked with my magic mom eyes, I could find them (and I did, hours later). But I asked Lou to look. She couldn't turn one up, and so for several hours, the binkies were literally missing. And then it struck me - it's time.
I knew she understood that the binkies were literally missing. I also knew that she understood when I said she'd be okay. I also spent the day distracting her with fairy tales, her very favorite type of story. If she requested a bink, I asked if she'd like to hear a story. She always took the bait. It's hard to resist The Three Little Pigs and Their Candy Houses. Or Little Red Riding Hood and the Friendly Preschool Wolf. (I know. I should write children's literature.)
Then she took a nap without a binky. No problem. I expected rage, but she was tired and curled up with her blanket. At night, there was some of the anger I anticipated, but not nearly what I dreaded. I could see that it wasn't really anger; she was sad. She missed her binky. The thing she'd relied on for so long was gone. For that, I felt sad for her.
The next day, when she asked for her binky, I reminded her they were gone, but I told her I had something special for her. I have two stuffed Lalaloopsy dolls that I got for Christmas last year but never gave the girls as they got way too much. So I went and retrieved one. I gave it to her and told her that when she missed bink, she could hug Peanut. For the rest of the day, I didn't hear any more requests for the bink, but Peanut was always under her arm.
And then each nap and bed time got easier. By the third day, we didn't have any real problems. Occasionally, she'd ask for her bink, but then she'd usually giggle because she knew it was gone.
I can't say this method is sane or normal or would even work with another baby. In fact, I know I'm borderline nutty. But for this baby, it worked. In many ways, it's a relief. But in others, I'm sad. My baby is leaving yet another bit of her babyhood behind. The really amazing thing though? Each time my babies "grow up" a bit, each time they take a step into the unknown - whether it be ditching a binky or marching into preschool alone, head high - I'm reminded how truly astounding these girls are. I'm reminded that they have inside them a giant well of bravery and accomplishment and goodness.
And even though their growing up hurts my heart just a bit, it also does it so much good. To see the good that they are growing up into.
Bye bye bink. :)