The Pacifier

The Pacifier December 8, 2010

The Pacifier. Yes, I capitalized the P. Where do I begin? My son hated it the day he was born. On day two, while getting circumcised, the doctor was trying to force it to stay in his mouth. I guess other baby boys don’t scream during the procedure. I thought the doctor was going to tape it over his mouth. My son must’ve gotten the point, because he suddenly took it. And kept it. Nineteen months later, I’m trying to take it away now.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it’s always in his mouth. Since he’s learned its name (well actually, he called it “B”) he knows he only gets it during nap time and bed time. But like any new mother, I read some things online and got discouraged by it. From speech impairments to tooth decay, the article I was reading was making me want to be rid of it. But where do I begin? I read a “10 ways” list and only one seemed appropriate for my 19 month old.

Sabotage the Pacifier. Yup. Number 6 on the list said to take out a pair of scissors and cut the tip off. I did just that, and as soon as my son asked for his “B”, I gave it to him, hiding a smile. Poor guy. I instantly felt guilty. He has a habit of looking at whatever he has before putting it in his mouth. He knew something was wrong. He looked on the floor around him, expecting to find “the missing piece”. When he couldn’t find it, he put the pacifier in his mouth. Of course, it didn’t stay in. I had cut off too much so it just fell out. He had the biggest sad face I’ve ever seen on him, then broke out crying.

My husband and I distracted him for the rest of the morning. Nap time was not pleasant. He cried for an entire hour. I would walk in every 15 minutes to give him a hug and calm him down. That wasn’t enough for him. I looked all over for the sabotaged pacifier, but couldn’t find it. He must’ve hid it or thrown it in a place I wouldn’t think of. I looked for another pacifier, about to give in to his cries, but of course they all get lost together. Needless to say, he had no nap that day.

That night I was lucky, or unlucky, to find another pacifier of his. Our plan was to give him 15 minutes, and if he continued to cry we would give him the pacifier- losing the battle. My husband tried to grab the pacifier from my hand after only 2 minutes. He wanted to be the hero. After 5 minutes, I reluctantly gave my son the pacifier. He went right down.

This morning I hid it and took out his sabotaged pacifier that somehow showed up. Cruel, I know. He saw it and repeated “uh-oh” about 10 times, then walked away from it. He didn’t even touch it. He just woke up from a 3 hour nap, without any pacifier. Luck? We’ll see how bedtime goes tonight.

Trying to keep an open mind, my husband and I continue to remind each other that it’s not like he’ll be a 20 year old with a pacifier in his mouth. Oh the joys of parenthood.


Hoda is a wife and a mother to a stillborn daughter in heaven and a one year old son. She is an elementary public school teacher and lives in Virginia.

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