Binky, paci, nuk, plug… mute button… whatever nickname your child’s pacifier has come to be called, it is most certainly a beloved piece of plastic that will inevitably be hard to give up.
Both of my kids used a “binky.” When we were nursing, it helped to give me (and my nipples) a much-needed break from the baby’s constant need to suck on something. I was ok with the binky as long as it didn’t hinder speech or threaten to cost me millions in orthodontia down the line, but there comes a time when you know it is time to say “bye bye” to the “bubba.” For me, I was beginning to become fluent in “binky-nese” the language that happens from behind the plug, and the darn things were being misplaced ALL the time and causing for frantic searches around the house at bedtime.
With Miles, he kind of just gave it up one day and decided he didn’t need it anymore. There was a new baby coming, and he decided he wasn’t going to be one of them. Ava, well we know she is the spunky one, and frankly, if I had let her, she would probably be taking prom pictures with the thing.
We tried the fairies, the stories of tiny-babies-who-need-them-more, and several bribes, ahem, tools for positive reinforcement, but to no avail. Then one day she started talking about needing a new teddy bear. Capitalizing on the moment I though maybe she would like to MAKE her own bear at Build-A-Bear? Her little eyes lit up and I knew I was on to something. We talked it up about how we could “turn in” her binkies to the person at the store and then she could make a bear of her own to keep forever. After about a week she warmed up to the idea, and we picked a day to go.
Ava hesitantly walked into the store and started looking for a bear she wanted to stuff. As she was doing so I noticed all of the things you can put into the bear- sounds, hearts, etc. It was then that I had (what I thought was an original) GENIUS IDEA!
We could put the binky INSIDE the BEAR! That way she could keep the binky with her always, just not in her mouth!
Apparently this is a thing, and people go to Build-A-Bear for this all the time… is it still genius if you had no clue that someone did it before you? I digress…
We picked the bear, started the stuffing process, and came to the moment we had all been waiting for- putting the binky into the bear.
She gave it a quick squeeze, a little kiss, and into the bear it went!
We went through the rest of the ritual of cleaning it, naming it, and filling out the birth certificate (all while trying to divert, divert, divert from the lovely, yet incredibly over-priced bear accessories). We left the store with Binky Bear in tow, and a happy little girl.
So, we all lived happily ever after, right?
Well, I would like to tell you that Ava had no issues that night, and peacefully went to sleep with her Binky Bear tucked lovingly under her arm.
But I would be lying.
Once we started the bedtime routine, that happy little girl devolved into what I can only imagine a heroin-addict beginning withdrawals might look like. She was sweaty, and a bit fidgety, and started spewing irrational hate at the bear, literally requesting scissors to tear the soft, fluffy creature apart in hopes of one more glorious suck of the plastic teat. It was a bit scary- and kind of funny- and soothed only by the promise of a Swedish Fish (ie. Methadone) that she could eat “right now if she calmed down and went to sleep”. She acquiesced and fell fast asleep.
The next morning she was back to happy, and proudly brought her Binky Bear in to school to show her friends. She has asked for her binky a few times since, and I have had to quickly dispose of any rogues that we missed in the cleanout process, but for the most part she has kicked the habit.
So good luck to you mamas trying to help your toddlers kick the binky, and to those who have a thumb-sucker… godspeed.