By Renee Arbia
We have been celebrating June as a healthy month; a month for running and playing outside, a month for starting new things, planting new seeds and starting the summer fun off on the right foot. Right before our eyes without any effort at all our little family just conquered a huge hurtle. For us that meant so much more because it was instantaneous and completely natural. Xavier stopped using his pacifier all on his own.
It is funny we have accomplished a lot this year. We have affectionately since new years named this year “Our Year”. We had a lot we wanted to do this year and we decided that we were going to buckle down and get what we wanted done. We have had to prove ourselves many times this year. There were times when “Our Year” seemed like “Our Year of Struggle”. Yet we have climbed and helped each other through each step and been there side by side. We have made each other a better person. By sharing our goals with each other, we have helped accomplish them together.
Even though my son Xavier is only three he has goals. Goals he makes for himself and goals we make for him. Xavier is a big part of “Our Year” because much of our lives revolve around him and he is going through a lot of changes this year. Three is a tough age. They are too old for toddlers and too young for preschoolers. Most four and five year olds do not care to converse with him, as they cannot understand why he is so small and not as coordinated as them. Most toddlers are not enough stimulation for him. Adults actually help him a lot. We have made a point to really be there for Xavier this year. He is going to change beds a couple times, potties a few times, go through favorite toys, and find a lot of disappointments this year.
As a parent you know you get tons of advice. One advice both my husband and myself never bothered to listen to was about the pacifier. Quite frankly we both could care less about the pacifier issue and I am not even sure why it is even an issue? Here is the way we see it, if your child does better, and is happier with a pacifier let them have a pacifier. If your child is not happy with the pacifier, do not give them a pacifier. To prepare for my son we received two pacifiers as gifts. One was a red Elmo pacifier meant for very young babies. The second was a green dental type for older children with teeth. I kept them, just in case. We never intended to introduce our child to a pacifier unless they seemed like they would want one.
I did not give my son a pacifier in the hospital, as he seemed fine to me with out it. It was not until the fourth day when my milk had still not come in, and he was very upset, and hungry that I got out the pacifier to soothe him. I then, let him have it every time he was sleeping. Next, it stayed in his cradle, crib and finally toddler bed. He only ever had his pacifier in his bed. He never asked or seemed like he cared to have it anywhere else.
He did like it to sleep with it, so we did bring it places with us, and it was super helpful on long car rides. However, for the most part, we let our son do whatever he wanted to with his pacifier. Honestly, I did not care if he still slept with it in his dorm room in college. It would be his problem, not mine. Meaning of course, that eventually he will realize how ridiculous it is and move on.
Just when we were wrapped up in the many things of “Our Year” that we are trying to make happen, Xavier had bitten through the first red pacifier, so much in one night that I would not let him put it in his mouth, for fear he might choke on a piece. I told him he had to throw it away. He was pretty upset, and he was also battling a stomach bug at that time. He knew we had the second pacifier and he asked for it. I gave it to him.
For the next month Xavier slept with the second pacifier. Second pacifier drove me nuts as he had a specific way of sucking on it that drove me nuts, because it made a lot of noise. However, I never said a thing about it. One day when we were busy in the potty business mode, I went to wash his pacifier for the night and noticed that he had chewed right threw it again at naptime. A little nervous this time, knowing there was no back up pacifier and it was bedtime I decided to break the news to him before his nighttime shower. He loves his shower so I figured if it was horrible news perhaps the shower will help him feel better. I told him his pacifier was ruined and broken, because he chewed it and that he was not able to use it anymore, and it must be thrown away. I said it in a kind and matter of fact manner. I tried to feel bad, but not make a big “thing” out of it. He threw it away and then said “we can go buy another one”. My husband and I informed him that we do not need to because he is a big boy now and he does not have to have one. He said okay and got in the shower.
After reading a book for bedtime, I sang him a lullaby while he finished his milk and he went right to sleep without any problems. I cannot believe that right before our eyes our little man is growing and making milestones all on his own. We never made him take a pacifier, we never rejected it when he wanted it, and he ended up being okay when he realized he had ruined it. It is an amazing thing to witness. Plus, it is the best reminder that milestones simply cannot be pushed, they must happen when the time is right. We must remember to stop rushing through our lives and rushing our children through theirs and start living ours and doing things when the time feels right.
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