Binkie bunkem

4 Feb

Jade uses a soother.  She has since she was about three months old, when I forced her to take one because I realized that on long car trips a soother was safer than sitting with my finger in her mouth and leaning over the carseat with my boob out got old really fast.

I didn’t foresee her using a soother for this long but once her seizures started I refused to take them away.  Her sleep was bad enough as it was and I wasn’t about to remove something that was a source of comfort for her.

But now it’s time.  The seizures are pretty well under control.  And her two bottom front teeth appear to have  slight inward lean.  Yes, they’re just her baby teeth, but baby teeth are placeholders for the adult teeth.  And anyway, she’s four.  It’s time.  Right?

And so we have introduced the soother fairy.  On Jade’s birthday last Saturday, we made a big deal out of putting the first soother into a net bag and hanging it up somewhere conspicuous.  Jade chose the chandelier above our dining table.  In the morning — surprise! — there was a stuffed bear.  Jade was delighted and named him “Mine”.

Last night, we put in the second soother.  As we were climbing the stairs, Jade said, “The soother fairy will bring me a monkey, alright?”  That made me laugh.  (The soother fairy brought her a toy iron instead — thanks NaiNai! — but she was very pleased with that, too, and insisted on bringing it to her motor therapy class to show off.)

I didn’t laugh, though, at 5 a.m. when I returned to my bed after a Halia feed and saw on the video monitor that Jade had woken up.  Her hands were frantically raking back and forth along the bed rail, searching for the extra soother that is always — until last night — waiting there in case the first one gets lost in the sheets.  After a minute of searching she curled up in defeat and started crying for me.

“Swiper!  *sob sob* Swiperrrrrrrr!!!” she cried.  (She’s Boots and I’m Swiper these days.  Michael is Dora *snicker* and Halia is, for some unfathomable reason, “My”.)

Her last remaining soother was right next to her, but she’d missed it in the dark.  She took it gratefully, then wanted to come sleep in the big bed.  She never sleeps well there (and as a result, neither do I) so I offered to stay with her for a few minutes instead.

She was very relaxed and peaceful as she lay there snuggled up to me.  I could hear the “snck, snck, snck” sound as she sucked on the soother.  And I thought, “Oh man.  This sucks.  What is going to happen when the last soother goes?”

I am worried, my friends, very worried.  Honestly, if it weren’t for her teeth, I’d let her keep her damn soother until she was twelve.

22 Responses to “Binkie bunkem”

  1. Opa February 5, 2010 at 1:22 am #

    Just take solace in the fact that almost any non-addictive habit is easily broken. I bet in a few nights she’ll not even be looking for it. Any sticking needles into a kid to draw blood is not exactly an enjoyable act either and might result in a tear or two, but the knowledge of it being necessary for the overall benefit mitigates the discomfort about the act.

  2. Jenny February 5, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    I got rid of Naomi’s when she was 8 months old. I couldn’t take it anymore and she never knew the difference. I hated when she’d get a cold and wanted the stupid thing and would cry because she couldn’t suck on it and breath. So I pitched them. Isaiah never took one, he wouldn’t. He self soothed, sucked on his tongue for a little while exactly as if there was something in his mouth, eventually that stopped too. I’m not a fan of them. At all. Naomi’s speech therapist said you wouldn’t believe how many kids come in and their parents say “they don’t talk” and here they let them have their soother all day long. She says it has to go, of course they aren’t going to talk when they have a plug in their mouth all day long.
    I worried about it causing a need to keep something in their mouth and, irrationally, that they’d grow up and completely enjoy smoking!

  3. Nancy February 5, 2010 at 5:22 am #

    It has been many years since I went through what you are now. My “baby” will be 29 this month and I don’t even remember what it was like taking his away so it must not have been a big deal for “us”. The oldest, who is now 40, I do remember because like you I worried about taking it away and how he would sleep. So, we (my husband and I) decided on his 1st birthday it would be taken away. We walked to the garbage can and let him watch us throw it in and tell it bye. We couldn’t believe it because he didn’t cry and “never asked” for it again! So, maybe it was my fear more than his. I hope your experience will be as easy as ours was.

  4. MFA Mama February 5, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Ughhhh…the binkie wars! My younger two both voluntarily gave them up before a year. The baby, on the other hand (yes, he’s four, and no, I will not stop calling him the baby EVER) kept his until three and a half when his dentist told me it needed to go (his top gum was actually pushed up in the middle in addition to the baby teeth being tilted a bit–gah!). Until then, I refused to take it away because a) we MADE him an addict–since he didn’t eat by mouth the therapists had us putting that in his mouth whenever we tube-fed him to try to maintain the sucking/fullness connection in my mind–and I felt responsible as the “pusher” and b) nobody could tell me whether he’d live past five or not for the LONGEST time, and my attitude was pretty much one of “if it’s gotta be a short life, it’ll be one in which he doesn’t have to kick any habits that take nothing from the rest of our enjoyment of life.” And no, I was NOT above telling little old ladies that (out of the childrens’ hearing)! Only the really snide ones, though 🙂

    He used to keep the “bubba” in 24/7–he could speak in complete sentences around it, keep it in while laughing, sneezing…he slept with one in his mouth and one in each hand, stroking the nipple part with his thumbs, and I know the motion you described (the binkie-sweep) well…awww…when it had to go it was pretty painless. I just told him the dentist said no more bubbas and he was…totally fine with it! I just got rid of them all. A few months later he found one (they were all over the house) and sucked it happily for an afternoon, but handed it over without much protest. *shrugs*

    Now when we see a baby with a Soothie brand “bubba” he goes “that baby has a BUBBA Mommy, look, remember I had a bubba when I was a little baby?” Aww.

  5. MommyTime February 5, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    Oh, I feel your pain. We did this. The easiest is the cold turkey: even your slow weaning will eventually be cold turkey in the sense that she won’t be able to get the soother back once the fairy has taken it. In my experience, once they’re all gone, it is bad the first night. HORRIBLE the second night. Barely a blip on the third, and then fine. Good luck!!

  6. Megan February 5, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    I hated the binky and took it away when Michael was about six months old. I think the others are right: he wanted it for a few days and then it was over. But your experience may be different.

  7. laura morning February 5, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    I have no advice to offer. None of my 4 liked pacifiers – but 2 sucked their thumbs and one a forefinger. That was harder to break. Two actually needed dental appliances that made sucking painful. I think the soother fairy is a cute idea. Hope you can find a monkey for the last one!

  8. Kara February 5, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    I have zero advice; I tried to get my boys to take a soother, but they would have none of it. Just a funny story to share! A little girl here in town loved her soother, but at nearly three her parents were ready to be done with it. So the parents told the little girl that Hunter was sick and really needed a soother to make him better! That night they threw out all of her soothers. Whenever she asked for them, they told her Hunter had them so he could get better! It worked and really made us laugh, especially when she visited our house and was confused why Hunter was not using the soother!

    I love your idea with the toys replacing the soothers. Good luck!

  9. Lindsay February 5, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    Both my girls took soothers, and Hanna still does (and I am dreading the day we take it away…she will sit in her crib for an extra half an hour in the morning and refuse to come out because she know once she leaves the crib she has to give up her soother!!!). We took Paige’s away a couple of months after she turned 2, and we did it by giving her a new pillow and blanket (up until then she only slept with a sleepsack)…we would generally start out the night without the soothers and with her new blanket and pillow…but after a bit she would cry out for her soothers, and we would give them to her but she would have to give up the blanket and pillow to get them back…eventually she got tired of that and wanted to throw them out herself! So it really wasn’t too bad…but I tell you I dreaded it something awful! I really hope things go well for you!

  10. Tammy February 5, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    I feel your pain. The only advice I can give is to make sure the soothers are really truly out of the house, because it’s not a good moment when you find yourself digging through the garbage at 3 am, looking for that last one.
    The first 3 nights are brutal. But after that, things are fine. Give her a special snuggle toy that she can only have in bed, and when she wakes up looking for a soother, remind her that this new animal is there to keep her company.

    And….Swiper?!??!! TOO CUTE!

  11. Scientific Chick February 5, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    Hey Fawn,

    Obviously, I don’t have kids, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but this comes from my brother, who also had a soother-addicted toddler. He made up a story similar to your soother fairy, but it involved the soother rabbit instead, who needed old soothers to give baby rabbits because their teeth grow too fast and they need to chew on stuff to stay healthy (or something to that extent). Who wouldn’t want to make baby rabbits healthy? 🙂

    Anyway, what they did to ease the transition was to cut a tiny slit at the top of the soother: that way, it doesn’t “suck” as well, and the effect is partially lost. They left them like that for a couple of days, then the rabbit came. 🙂

    If that helps, his kid also threw a couple of crying fits, and my brother’s partner said it “broke her heart”, but it only took a few days and he (the kid) eventually came to the conclusion that the baby rabbits needed them more than he did. 🙂

    Good luck!

  12. Cristina February 5, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    I hope poor Jade acclimates to life without soother quickly!
    B never took one in spite of our best efforts to get him to take one. (He screamed 24/7 for the first 7 months of his life.) But, I started to suck my thumb after they took my soother away and the resulting orthodontics have cost my parents and now me a fortune. I’ve had an appliance in my mouth non-stop since age 6 and will continue needing them forever. I have a “tongue thrust” (a remnant of the sucking) that no amount of therapy or training device has been able to correct. So my tongue pushes my front teeth out if left on its own. I don’t mind the retainers (I actually can’t sleep without them), but it would be nicer not to need them in the first place.

  13. Marian February 5, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    At the office, we used to suggest stickers for a week to ten days in a row. When those stickers were earned they could be traded for a bigger gift. It meant the kids had to earn the toys. You can use a tree and put bird or leaf stickers, or perhaps Dora stickers at the moment!
    Good luck!

  14. Marian February 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Oops. Obviously, I meant make a paper tree…and my grammar was horrible, but you get the idea.

  15. Captain Momma February 5, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    I have hard core finger suckers, tell me what to do!!!!

    Good luck, it would be breaking my heart as well to have to watch that 😦



  16. Barbara February 6, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Well this may have all been resolved by now, but anyway…
    From my Mommy side:

    I would be open to not putting the last soother in the net if Jade resisted – confirming that she understood fully the meaning of the action.

    We transitioned our youngest away from ‘binkie’ when she was two. First to night time only, then gone after doing all we could to make sure she understood. She did. When a neighbor asked her about it she said clearly, “binkies are for babies.” (Causing one of our early parental happy dances.)

    If she wakes at 5am (or later) couldn’t you start the day then? – using distraction from her ‘need’.

    On my pro side – can you find real (good) research that soothers mangle teeth? An old OT told me last year that the original research that spawned that thought (urban legend?) was thin. (Like what has recently happened with the vaccine issue published in Lancet.)

    Waiting to find out what happened next.

  17. Tine February 7, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    I feel your (& Jade’s, of course !!) pain, too 😦 – I was sucking my thumb as a child, & I remember it as very comforting, so when I don’t feel good now, I wish I could just go back to sucking my thumb to feel better …

    Hope little Jade gets adjusted to NO soother soon, though 🙂 – good luck, & best wishes !!

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  18. Asheya February 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    I never had a soother that I can remember, but I sucked my thumb until I was waaaaaaay too old to be sucking my thumb. My grandma was concerned I needed braces on my top teeth, but I have a normal overbite and never had braces or any kind of orthodontic adjustments at all. My teeth are totally fine. A case study of one, which is not exactly scientifically rigorous, but just thought I’d throw my two cents in.

    In case Jade starts sucking her thumb when her soothers are gone.

  19. Kristi Lundgren February 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Oh man! I worry about this too. My boys (16 month old twins) are seriously addicted and will probably need a Binkie Anonymous class. And I may end up needing therapy too! Ha! I’m afraid there will be many tears.
    I told myself I’d try to get rid of them this year……we’ll see……

  20. Adventures In Babywearing February 13, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    Oh, it’s so hard, I know. I hope all gets easier!


  21. Erin March 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    hello, I too am a mom of a child who LOVES the souce! He will be turning 3 next month and I can hardly handle the idea of taking it away. We are trying to keep it to only bed, and in the car, but even that is hard sometimes. He is SO attached to it. Our daycare provider is taking it away for naps and he didn’t cry with her, but he’s been a mess for 2 weeks. When my husband or I pick him up after work, he is a mess for 2 hours.He needs me to hold him, he cries for his souce. It’s terrible.

    Please keep up this blog – I like this idea of the souce fairy… so I hope it works for you and that you can give me some strength to try it with my boy!




  1. Fawnahareo’s Place - December 31, 2010

    […] February: Jade uses a soother. […]

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