I had a plan. It was a masterful plan months in the making. Seeds were planted; subliminal messages thrown. My mission: Come hell or high water, my daughter and her binky would soon be parted.
I have no regrets that we went the way of the pacifier very early on for both of my kids. It helped them sleep, it gave them comfort, and it gave the parental units some peace and much needed rest. It has served its purpose well; however, there is truth to the age old saying that all good things must come to an end.
In my mind I had set about a time-line:
By the age of three: Binky only when sleeping.
By the age of four: Bye-bye binky!
When Sofia turned three it was a smidge difficult banning the binky during the day. She was actually little conniving, sneaking it in here and there. I knew when things got a little too quiet there was either crayon markings all over the couch, or a good chance she found a binky. Still, unless I’m blocking it out I really do not recall there being too much drama about it. For the most part she was agreeable.
I had some serious concern, however, as I watched her fourth birthday creep closer and closer, over how she would fair dropping the binky for good. Could she do it cold turkey or would a weaning process be required? From about the time she was two she always napped at daycare without it, so I knew she was quite capable of doing so. Still, at night? All night? I had a strong feeling I was going to be quite tired from many a mid-night waking over the first few weeks of her binky-free lifestyle.
I started dropping off the hints slowly, mentioning it as if in passing before bed:
“Wow, you’re going to be four soon! What a big girl you’ll be. Pretty soon you’re not going to need that binky.”
Amazingly, after a few times (and this was spread out over a period of many weeks) she started mentioning it herself.
“When I turn four I wont need the binky. But right now I need it because I’m three and I’m only little. But when I turn four, I’ll be big and I wont need it anymore”.
I was only slightly optimistic that I may have actually pulled off my own personal Jedi Mind Trick, but hey, I went with it. I reinforced her statement and moved on. In the back of my mind I never believed come the first night when she did turn four, and it was time to kiss that binky good-bye, that she would actually follow through with it.
She was so excited for her birthday. As the countdown began to the actual day discussions surrounding giving up the binky (or as the hubby and I privately referred to it, “giving up the sauce”) were in full force. She was game. She talked about it with enthusiasm. I still didn’t believe it would really happen but I continued to answer with support.
She had a great birthday, filled with fun and presents and sugar. When the day was done we went through our nighttime routine and all the while I kept an eye on her, waiting for her to crack. I never once mentioned the binky. In truth, if she asked me for it I was going to give it to her. When teeth were brushed and I announced it was time to climb into bed she said, “Oh wait, I forgot something….” She then paused, smiled, and said, “Oh, never mind.”
She went to sleep that night binky free and stayed asleep all night without it. The next morning she was met with cheers and congratulations, and exclamations over what a great job she did making it through the night without a binky. She smiled with pride. That was three weeks ago, and she has not once asked for it back. I had some concern that she would become jealous when she saw her brother with his, but if she finds one he’s dropped she hands it over to him without a moment’s hesitation.
Do I take credit for this masterful feat? Not an ounce. She was ready, and she made the decision on her own terms. Like so many times before (the bottle, potty training, etc) she decided when it was time, and then she never looked back.
What an amazing little girl I have; so independent, so decisive, so sure of herself. I hope she always stays this way.