All three of my kids have sucked on a pacifier. I’m a fan of pacifiers. They made my babies happy… and I used them! We’re not sure how it happened, but somewhere in the course of things Gracie began to call her pacifier her “nay” – yes, like what the horse says. Gracie had a big orange one that for some reason she called her “Boo Nay”.
Gracie and her Boo Nay had some good times… she became quite attached to it. As she was approaching two, I was pondering how to take it away from her when she woke up one morning and had bitten a hole through the tip. She brought it in to me, very distraught, and thinking fast I told her she had “broken” the nay (a tip I had gotten from a friend). She was very sad. It was pitiful. I cut the remainder of the pacifier’s tip off and she carried the plastic base around and slept with it for about a week… that was it. No big deal.
Tessa has been another story. Tessa came out screaming and was less than an hour old when she became so upset that her heart rate got high enough that the nurse was afraid they were going to have to take her to the NICU. Finally the nurse asked Travis if we had brought a pacifier. We had. The nurse popped that thing in her mouth, and soon she was fine.
Tessa’s love for her “nay" has never wavered. We were more focused on other issues at the time, and missed the ideal “two year old window” to take it from her, and so now, at age 3 (and counting) she still had it.
All parents know that pacifiers can stir quite the debate… especially as children get older. Opinions about how old is “too old” and when and/or how to go about taking it away are plentiful (especially from unsolicited sources). But in Tessa’s case, it wasn’t just about whether or not she was too old to have the pacifier. The speech therapist told us it was most certainly a factor in her articulation issues and she’d benefit more from therapy if she didn’t have it.
So, I knew this summer I would have to get this accomplished. I’ve been dreading it… and putting it off. Running out of time, I finally settled on using an idea a friend gave me and had decided that this past Sunday night the “Nay Fairy” would come. I had explained to Tessa that now that she was a big girl, the “Nay Fairy” would come and take her nay to a new baby that needed it. And because she was such a good girl, she would get a new toy to replace her nay.
Yes… it’s a stretch, I know… but I was desperate. Tessa was skeptical, but seemed to grasp the concept to some degree, and so I was sticking with the plan. Then last Saturday we were driving home from a birthday party and had to stop at Wal-Mart. Tessa had fallen asleep in the car after our busy morning - and she never wakes up pleasant.
So, with her being already grumpy as we headed into the store, she ultimately landed a major fit in the checkout line. There were princess hair bows, she wanted them, couldn’t have them… it was ugly. And somewhere in the process of her meltdown, Tessa lost her nay. We were already in the car when I realized neither one of us had it. Oh, the agony.
She cried the whole way home. She’d scream at me that she needed her nay. I’d say, “No. You lost it. No new nays.” Gracie would chime in about the importance of keeping up with our stuff. Tessa would scream at her. They both would cry. I wanted to cry. It was quite painful.
Upon arriving home, Tessa snatched her blanket up and plopped down in her bean bag to pout. She was asleep before I even had the groceries put away. Two hours later she awoke, and she didn’t ask about her nay the rest of the afternoon. Could this be possible?? As bedtime approached, she still had not asked about her nay again. She climbed into bed and as she began to get settled….
Tessa: “Oh, no! I need my nay!”
I’m thinking, oh, crap… here we go.
Me: “Remember, Tessa, you lost your nay.”
Tessa: “But I really need my nay. Could Daddy get me a new one?”
Me: “No. No new nays, Tessa. I’m sorry.”
And then, in what can only be described as God’s great mercy on me… Tessa slept… without her nay. It's been a whole week - no nay. WOO HOO! I'd been dreading this for months, and you cannot imagine my relief that this is done - and with minimal drama. The car ride home from Wal-Mart was the worst of it. She has asked for it a few times and shows the saddest face when reminded that she lost it.
Tanner is only getting his pacifier at nap and bedtime now – which he is quite bitter about. He had already started diving under his bed to search for it first thing in the morning, and so to avoid a repeat issue, (plus avoiding reminding Tessa of hers) we’re trying to limit his “nay time” already.
And just as a side note… I cannot begin to tell you how many random strangers we have encoutered over the last year that have felt compelled to comment on Tessa's pacifier. So, should you fall on the “take it away” side of the pacifier argument, you should know that if you see a child out somewhere (especially one you do not know), in the store, a restaurant, or wherever, and you feel they are too old to have the pacifier in their mouth – you might just keep that to yourself.
Speaking from experience, I can assure you that your opinion on the issue (on any issue really) is irrelevant to the child's mother, and random comments expressing that opinion (especially in front of her children) is, shall we say, frowned upon. And in doing so, depending on how tired and/or irritated that mother may already be… you might end up on the receiving end of a smack down!! HA! Just a thought…