Going Cold Turkey

We knew this day would come. We kept pushing it off, trying to delay the inevitable, but we finally realized we couldn’t wait any longer. It was time for the twins to give up their pacifiers.

Last week, at their eighteen month checkup, the doctor confirmed what we already suspected: They were at the age where pacifiers might start to hurt their dental development. We would need to begin the potentially agonizing process of taking away their pacifiers.

The forbidden fruit (Image source)

The forbidden fruit (Image source)

With the Cutlet, the de-pacification process was easy. Not too long after her first birthday, we eliminated the pacifier during waking hours, and a few months later, she stopped getting them during naps. Since she didn’t provide too much resistance, we soon took them away at night as well. There may have been a couple of extra cries, but for the most part, she handled it remarkably well.

We knew that it would likely be more difficult with the twins, and especially with Cujo. The boy loves his pacifier. Not only does he rely on it to calm himself down at night, but as soon as he sees a pacifier, he immediately tries to grab it, and will often become agitated when he is deprived of it.

We usually take the pacifiers away from them as soon as they wake up, but every so often, we’ll look over at him and find him sucking away on one. We’re convinced he has a secret stash of the things somewhere.

On Sunday afternoon, we resolved ourselves to beginning the process. I scoured their bedroom for any hidden pacifiers, and once I was content that the room was clear, we felt safe to proceed with the bedtime routine.

We put them in their cribs, read them a couple of stories, and then left the room. That’s when the crying began. The Cutlass cried, but we’re not entirely sure if she was upset about not getting her pacifier, or just upset because her brother was wailing so loudly.

Cujo was an unhappy boy. We resisted the urge to go in and soothe him, figuring that it would probably make things worse. It wasn’t pleasant listening to his cries. I kept imagining that he was calling out to me:

“Daddy, I love you! Please give me my pacifier!”

“Daddy, I promise I’ll be good! I’ll be a good boy! Please just give me what I want!”

“Daddy, why have you forsaken me????”

I know it’s for his own good, but it still made me feel a little guilty. It seemed somewhat appropriate when I heard this song when driving to work the next morning:

Fortunately, after about 45 minutes of crying, they both calmed down and went to sleep, and even slept through the night. We heard a small bit of crying at 6 AM, and I was concerned that the boy wasn’t going to go back to sleep, but he quieted down.

Both nap time and bedtime went poorly on Monday. Apparently they threw all of their blankets and stuffed animals out of their cribs as a form of protest, and it took them well over an hour to settle down and go to sleep. And then at around 11 PM last night, Cujo woke up, and had a hard time settling back down.

This is likely to continue for at least a few more days. Hopefully they’ll soon adjust and learn to soothe themselves without any plastic assistance. Or maybe they’ll become really desperate and attempt to pull off something like this:

I think we had better remove all the pacifiers from the house just to be safe.

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About The Cutter

I am the Cutter. I write some stuff. You might like it, you might not. Please decide for yourself.
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4 Responses to Going Cold Turkey

  1. When a friend was weaning his daughter from her pacifier, they “planted” it in a pot, telling her it would grow into a beautiful flower if she would give it up. They replaced her pot with a lovely pot of daffodils the next morning and she was so thrilled with the flowers, she never asked for it again. I thought that was a great idea (but then again, I don’t have kids!!)

  2. List of X says:

    As a healthy alternative, you could offer the twins a pacifier-shaped piece of broccoli.

  3. cherperz says:

    This is the kind of thing that leaves scars…not on the kids, though. On the parents. I have to hand it to you for your resolve. My first born LOVED her binkie. I can’t emphasize the word LOVE enough here. Think of it as her baby Crack.

    I tried several times to take it away and she wore me down. When she was 3 (yah, you read that correctly…three…don’t judge) I offered her the Sesame Street Playhouse in exchange for the binkies. She took the deal. She now is a national manager for a hospital device company so the uptick here is…I fostered some impressive negotiating skills into this child by being a woose of a parent. Yay for my horrible parenting skills.

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