I woke up one day last week and decided, "Today is the day Parker gives up the paci." There was no reason why that was the day. It just seemed like the right time. He's 18 months old now, and that's around the time we took the pacifier away from Connar last year. He is a great sleeper and can put himself to sleep at nap and bed time. I know the paci was comforting, but I also knew that it would get harder to take from him as time went on. Some people don't give their children pacifiers at all for various reasons, but we're "pro paci" in this house. Even knowing what a pain it would be (for them and for us) to take it away one day, we still decided to give both of our boys pacifiers as infants.
So after sitting for a second and thinking whether this is something I was willing to tackle for the next few days, I called Talton at work, told him the news, and reminded him that while he would more than likely have to listen to Parker cry for it tonight, I would be taking the first brunt of Parker's unhappiness at nap time in a few hours.....all by myself. Well cry he did and unhappy he was. I did our regular routine of glasses off, sound machine on, bear in hand, give Mommy a kiss, and lay him down. All went well until that last part. He realized the pacifier was not clipped onto his shirt before Mommy walked out the door. Talk about unhappy. I let him cry it out for a bit, went back in and consoled him without picking him up, he cried it out a bit more (snot and all....poor baby), and then I decided that I would hold him and sing to him for a few minutes to calm him down, seeing as how this was his first time ever without his comforting paci. When he was just about asleep, I laid him down and he was out for his entire nap.
The closer it got to bed time, the more my tummy began to hurt in anticipation of the crying to come. It was like nap time all over again. Crying, snot, screaming, trying to climb out of the bed...the whole nine yards. The only difference here was that I had someone to share the heartache of allowing Parker to work through this with. We watched the monitor like a hawk (with tears filling my eyes....just like I did with Connar when we took the paci & when we sleep trained both of them as babies....it's soooo hard to listen to them cry when you know that they'll immediately be quiet if you just hold them), because he got so close to climbing right on out of that bed that Talton actually took off running to catch him one time, just to find that Parker had thrown himself back down on the bed. Better safe than sorry though. As much as I wanted to give in and pop a paci in his mouth, I knew that I had already made him go through one nap time without it, and if I gave in now, that was for nothing. At this point, it was a battle of wills, and I wasn't giving in. But this made me realize just how strong willed a toddler can be when they want something bad enough. After going in there after 5 minutes, then 6 minutes, then longer and longer each time, it seemed as though he would cry all night. He eventually wore himself out (and us too!) and gave in to the reality of no paci after an hour and a half. All three of us were exhausted, him from crying and us from enduring it and not rescuing him by giving in with a paci.
Thank goodness for sound machines, because Connar slept through every second of this for the 3 or 4 days that it went on. Each day was better than the last, and eventually it became a little fuss sound in a last attempt to get me to come in his room or bring him a paci before he'd just lay down and hang out silently before putting himself to sleep. He's good to go now. Today at nap time he smiled at me as I laid him down. It was rough on him, but he soldiered through and now seems a little older as I look at him while he sleeps without the paci. That makes me sad, but I'm so very proud of my handsome Bug.
Little by little, I have been ditching any pacifiers I come across like the one from his bed and the one in the diaper bag. Then I remembered I had yet to throw away this stash in the kitchen drawer. Say it with me, "Bye bye paci!" :)