layla turned two and a half on may 14th. we decided back around march to make this date the end of the paci era. we told her weeks ahead of time that this would be happening and that we would have a "bye bye paci party" to usher in the new big girl era.
before this, when she turned two, we had scaled back paci usage to only in the car and in bed. this was mostly because at 2 years old she wasnt speaking very much or very clearly and we figured getting the big plastic thing out of her mouth all the time might help.
boy did it.
between two and two point five, this little chick exploded with language. it was great. so we figured, this is a big, talking human child, she's ready to sleep and ride and live the rest of her life without a paci. thus the bye bye party.
on tuesday, may 14th, layla took one last hit off of her paci
that is a big kid.
then we lit the candles on her half bday cake
and just like that: a new era. (thanks for the assist, judah)
it was rough.
those first few nights were brutal, as we had expected (i hadnt expected the sentimental wave of "i'm losing my baby!" that crashed into me). she was in full-blown withdrawal and was a grump-monster terror. we searched for paci-methadone to help her come off the hard stuff more gradually. no blankey, binky (soft burp cloths that are judah's comfort objects and which she has always enjoyed as an accompaniment to the paci), stuffed animal, or doll could fill the paci void (figuratively in her heart and literally in her mouth). jesse and i both later confessed that, in our weaker moments during our turns on layla-re-tucking-in duty, we had each secretly tried to get her to try sucking her thumb. neither of us had luck.
2 days clean. the face of recovery. talk to your kids about paci addiction today.
we wanted to turn back and call it off SO many times. i would find a paci that had survived the throwing-out purge and hide it away...just in case. but we knew that we HAD to stand by this since we had given her our word about it. if we relented, that would just teach her that she just needed to pitch fits about it for 5 days and then we'd give in. we didnt want to be setting that precedent.
so we did it. yesterday was 3 weeks with no paci, and i havent heard her even ask for one in 2 weeks. i had completely forgotten about my contraband reserved pacis. she was fully functional and 100% detoxed. if she encountered a baby with a paci should wouldnt even try to take it or ask for one. she had fully come to understand that those werent for her anymore.
but you guys, the BEHAVIOR lately! oh man, the attitude, the ear-melting car shrieking, the losing her mind over nothing, the getting out of bed 6 times a night, a crazy decrease in coping skills, the REFUSAL to even allow us to put her to bed without a massive fight....oh how i've aged.
this kid used to be a championship level sleeper. i would go to rock her and sing to her and she would point to her crib and grunt, "bed" before i could even get to the first chorus. that child had disappeared. it wasnt just that we were annoyed by having to exert more effort, it was that she legitimately wasnt getting the rest she needed and it was snowballing into the next day.
i dont think we ever linked the new behavior stuff with the paci-pull. i'm still not even sure that this isnt just a 2 and a half phase she's going through.
but the last few nights i had been thinking about the paci again. thinking about awesome older kids i know who had pacis into age 3, 4, or even 5. being nostalgic about her losing all of her baby-ness, but not wanting to baby her. then i tried to put aside the idea of a "right" choice according to the world and started thinking about layla and what is best for her and us as her parents.
on one hand, i did NOT want her thinking we dont keep our word and that she can break us. but on the other side of that, i felt like we were past that on this issue. when she has been pitching fits and disobeying at bedtime, she isnt even asking for the paci, so i dont think she would even link the two the way she would have if we gave a paci back to her at the beginning of this when she was demanding one.
i begged jesse one night as we marched her back to bed for the 9th time, and he said no, that sticking with it was most important. but this was wearing on him too. then we asked my mother in law what she thought. she has kept the kids a bunch this summer and has noticed layla's much shorter fuse and ability to cope with really silly little things. she said she has seemed tired a lot of the time and refuses to take naps at their house (and even asking for pacis during attempted naps...long after i thought she had forgotten them).
jesse and i talked about it again and decided that it might be better for layla to have the paci at bedtime again. (GROWLSCREECH! even typing that makes me feel like a total pushover doormat parent). that with all the help we get with people watching the kids, maybe it wasnt fair to ask them to manage a sleep-deprived toddler if there was an easy solution. maybe it wasnt fair to US to deal with that. and that it certainly isnt fair to layla to let her repeatedly be without sufficient rest.
i reintroduced it to her yesterday at naptime. i told her she had done a great job being a big girl and telling her paci goodbye, but that mommy and daddy had decided that she should have it at bedtime so that she would hopefully get more rest. i tried not to say we changed our minds or attach it in any way to the previous decision. this was a NEW thing, not going back on a previous thing.
her eyes lit up like she had been dusted with disney magic or ecstasy or something. i gave her a paci and put her in bed. she burrowed into her pillow and snuggled up under her blanket like i hadnt seen in almost a month. it was like i had shot a tranquilizer dart at her. dont call it a relapse.
i'm not sure if we made the right decision. i get worried about what people will think, i worry that we're stunting her maturity, that we're taking the easy way out, that we're just setting up a bigger battle later. that we are enabling an attachment that is unhealthy and that we had already beaten! (thats a BIG fear).
those thoughts have been pinging around my brain nonstop since yesterday. i'm trying to find peace in the "she'll do it when she's ready" mindset, which potty training is also firmly plopped into (pun) right now.
so yeah. blerg. this parenting thing is hard. even first-world problems like this one--with no real "bad" outcome-- can really eat up your heart and your mind and get you so twisted.
so, advice: have you ever gone back on a boundary or rule that you had firmly set up for your kids? was it the right move? is it ever?!?!
what are your thoughts on comfort objects, pacis, bedtimes and the "too old for" thinking?