Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Paci, Two Paci, Green Paci, Blue Paci

  I had always assumed that we would help Liam say goodbye to his pacifiers somewhere close to his 2nd birthday. Then, we found out that Cora would be born close to his second birthday ... about 7 weeks later. I knew we needed to either get rid of the paci a bit earlier than I had planned, to give him enough time to move on before the baby sister adjustment came along, or I needed to let him keep it a little longer. Since he loved his pacis and we weren't sure how much a crying newborn might disrupt his sleep, we decided to let him keep them a while.

   We started limiting his access - pacis only allowed at naptime and bedtime - but we stopped there. I thought that when Cora was a couple months old we'd get rid of them. Then, when that time rolled around I was still feeling like I could barely keep my head above water, so dealing with paci separation anxiety did not sound like my cup of tea. The next thing I knew the holidays were bearing down on us and I didn't want to make him transition when he was already going to be spending more nights in other places and having a discombobulated sleep schedule.  So, "after the holidays" became my mantra. After the holidays I would begin to tackle the BIG 3: pacifier, potty-training, big boy bed.

 At the beginning of December when a few of my mommy friends and I were together for a playdate, we shared strategies for conquering these 3 potential battlegrounds, and I decided that I'd go after the paci, first. One mom mentioned that she new someone who had let her son give his pacis to the trash truck drivers so they could "give them to some babies." Since we have spent the last year of our lives grabbing Liam and racing outside every Friday when we hear the trash & recycling trucks rumbling on our street, this seemed like a potentially useful tactic. I mentioned it to Liam a few times, but he always seemed a little confused and completely disinterested ... until three days ago.

  Sunday morning at breakfast I casually mentioned to Liam that pacis really are just for babies and again mentioned soon we'd need to give his to the trash guys so they could take them to some babies. "Okay," he said, as he ate his oatmeal. Josh jumped in and told him that once he gave his pacis away he could pick out a new racetrack, and Liam's enthusiasm sky-rocketed. I explained to him how it would work, that we would put them in a bag and they would be taken away. "And then I'll get new pacis?" he wondered. "No," I told him. He wouldn't get new pacis. "And blue puppy?" he asked. "No!" I told him. He does not need to give the trash guys blue puppy. He can sleep with his sweet lovie until he's 20, for all I care. We talked about all of his favorite grown-up guys - Daddy, Uncle Mike, Uncle Zach, Uncle Kyle - and how none of them use pacis. He thought that was funny and still seemed on board. Since trash day was nearly a week away I was afraid we'd lose momentum, so I suggested that he write a letter to the trash guys that we could leave in the mailbox with the pacis, and then they would come and pick them up while we were getting a racetrack at Target.  After writing his letter he spent a few last moments with his beloved blue & green pacis, and then stuck them in the envelope I held open for him.

  That first day he asked about them a few times and didn't fall asleep at nap time, but he didn't cry either, so that was promising. At bedtime he saw one of Cora's pacifiers and said, "I need that paci, Mommy," but I reminded him that they are for babies and he went to bed and fell right to sleep without a complaint.  And that was it. He has asked about them once a day, each day since then, but when we remind him where they are he just moves on.

  I know he's a super compliant kid, and I'm thankful that somehow the timing was just right. I'm so proud of my big, grown-up boy. Now ... on to potty-training and crib transitions. I have a feeling those won't be quite as effortless.

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