I keep meaning to tell you that we are done with dummies. Soothers. Pacifiers. Whatever you call them.
Until recently, Tau was still using one when he went to sleep at night. A comfort thing, more for the parents’ sake because we knew it allowed him fall asleep more easily.
And then a couple of months ago, we reached a stage where we realized that we could take it away, cold turkey, without him noticing too much. But if we waited much longer he’d reach the stage where having the dummy would become a battle of wills. That and we’d have to come up with an elaborate but toddler-credible reason to eventually get rid of the thing (clever Mel).
Already he was insisting that three blankies and various lions and books be with him in the bed before he went to sleep. And certain rituals were becoming entrenched: “More water?!” every time we went in to check if he was asleep, along with absolutely having to say goodnight to the moon through all three windows in Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom (thinly disguised way to get picked up and cuddled a bit more). Give it another couple of weeks and the dummy would likely have become an absolute must. Toddlers are fickle that way.
So we hid them and doled out extra hugs and lions and books and kisses for a few nights. There was a bit of wailing and clinging and lots of literal throwing of toys out of the cot, more so than usual. And it was hard for me, having nursed him with my own body, not to go in and pop a dummy in his mouth, not to give in to his basic need to self soothe. He couldn’t articulate what was missing because he’d never really had a name for his dummy and we’d never developed any ritual around using it. We casually called it his “soother” but for some reason, this was a concept or word that never really interested him, apart from the fact that it was there and he could stuff it in his mouth.
Tau is now at the age where he is happy to go to bed most nights. He asks for books and blankets and soft animals and will sit and “read” and play quite happily for twenty, thirty, sometimes forty minutes. Eventually, when he is tired, he starts burrowing into his pile of blankets and kicking at the mattress. When we hear the kicking, we come in and tuck him in and eventually he just drifts off to sleep.
The post-soother fussing lasted a couple of nights, and for a week or two he took longer to go to sleep, but we are now back in our regular going-to-bed routine and all thoughts of dummies are gone. We consider this one of the easier transitions we’ve made with Tau. And trust me, we are grateful for easy whenever it comes our way!