Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bye Bye Baby

After a lot of angst, we are finally a dummy free household. Well, almost. I kept one, and it's hidden away, for absolute, disaster-type emergencies only - which I know goes against all the recommendations for weaning, but we have some big things coming up and I want one handy. Josh loved his dummy, it was his lifeline, his safety net, his comfort zone, on so many occasions from when he was just a few months old. It saved my sanity more than once too. Once we managed to get it to a point where he only had it for nap-times and sleep, but then he grew up a bit and started asking for it more and more often, and we couldn't say no. It was a constant battle to keep it out of his mouth. Then there were tantrums when he wanted it and we didn't have one handy (usually in embarrassingly public situations), and at night he'd often lose it, wake up screaming, and we'd have a frantic late night search under the bed until it was retrieved and placed back in his tired little mouth.

I stopped buying them a long time ago, letting the old ones get ratty and disgusting, hoping he'd eventually give them up voluntarily. We had the best of intentions when it came to weaning, but we also had lots of excuses. A change in routine here, a new baby there, and it all went out the window, and the dummy became more and more an essential part of our day. Every photo from our trip to NZ recently features J sucking on a dummy and I hate it! His dependence on it, and our inability to fight it, did my head in, but I had no idea just how much life, and our little man, would change without it...
Cold turkey weaning was never part of the plan. We researched and read a lot about the kindest, gentlest ways to do it. It had to be a choice, or really we had to let the kid believe it was a choice. We kept telling J that once he turned three he would be a big boy and we talked constantly about giving the dummy to Santa, and getting a very special treat in return. Then my husband took him to visit family in Manila for a weekend and forgot to take one with him. I had removed one from J's mouth to brush his teeth before they walked out the door, and didn't put it back in, oops... I was convinced Dave would go straight to the nearest pharmacy and buy another one, but to his credit he weathered the weaning storm, solo. It wasn't an easy battle, and one I'm not sure I would've had the strength to fight, but he came home a different kid. He grew up that weekend.

Six weeks later he still asks for it, at least once a day, especially when he's tired and/or upset. He's also developed a bit of an oral fixation and sticks everything in his mouth. I read somewhere that that can happen when you wean them too late, which is a bit of a no brainer, but we're working on it. He doesn't stop talking either. He's always been a chatty kid, with a great vocabulary for his age, but now that there's nothing "silencing" him, he has come along verbally, in leaps and bounds, and we're astounded every day at the things he says.

His other "comfort item," is a scruffy dalmatian who goes by the name of Potts. Potts was once J's constant companion, and anytime he was tired he would ask for "a dummy and Potts," the two things being part of one whole comfort package. Sadly it seems they were a package deal, and poor Potts has been neglected since we lost the dummy. I always said it would break my heart the day that Potts was given up, and it has, because my little boy isn't my baby anymore. Watching him getting around on his own in the world, soothing himself when life gets him down, it makes me proud but still deeply sad. I was so determined to get rid of the damn dummy, but I had no idea what would unfold from that simple act of leaving the dummy behind. I guess I should be careful what I wish for... In the days when he still had a dummy, at bedtime Josh would lie in bed humming and twirling Potts' tail, it was a sweet little habit that instantly relaxed him. Now he just turns a few times and sighs, a little sadly, before surrendering to sleep. Some nights I listen to him and want to give the dummy back, just to keep him a baby for a little bit longer. Sad but true...


Through all of this I keep reminding myself that I still have "Baby Charlie," as he is known to his big brother. He never had a dummy, but he still drinks from a bottle and rocks a onesie like nobody's business, he sleeps in a cot and can't walk yet, and will be my baby for a little bit longer. I just have to ignore all the info I keep getting from Baby Centre, that refers to him as a "Toddler" and his absolute determination to grow up even faster than his sibling.


  1. HI,
    Just like the leaving dummy stage, soon you will be having the leave stroller stage, then the leaving diaper stage and it will go on till the leaving University stage!

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  2. It is so crazy how time flies, and how fast they grow right before your eyes. Each stage is such a joy and shock in so many ways. Toddler stage is long anticipated but soon you want it to be short lived. I have three children and my youngest is 3 so we are going through some interesting stages.