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Giving Up the Pacifier? Pray for Strength!

I had to laugh when I realized what the topic at JuiceBox Jungle was this week — giving up the pacifier.

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It was almost exactly a year ago that we went through this very battle in our own household and wrote a post on our private family site. I honestly didn’t think we were going to get through this part of childhood, so for your amusement, I’m sharing my angst-ridden post of a year ago to our family:

Pray for us all. Last night we threw away every last pacifier we could find (“foo-foo” in JavaGirl-speak). It’s going to be a hard week. The devil-voice already came out of our sweet girl, demanding, “I WANT FOO-FOO NOW!” while we were at the 4H Fair. It was not a pretty sight. Heads turned as people looked for the growly voice and couldn’t believe it came from the cute pony-tailed girl dressed in pink.

After trying the “only for naps and bedtime” technique and the “snip a little bit off the end each day” technique it became apparent that our daughter is a foo-foo addict. And despite the fact I have straight teeth even thought I was a hard-core thumbsucker, our little girl is not so genetically lucky. So the foo-foos have to go. It’s a hard parenting decision to make. Last night I had a nightmare that we came home from a friend’s house only to find our daughter had stolen all of their younger daughter’s pacifiers. Are we sentencing our daughter to a life of pacifier crime in the name of straight teeth? I’m half afraid that in a few days she’ll start snatching them out of the mouths of poor, unsuspecting infants when we go out in public, like some crazed detoxing drug addict looking for a fix.

And there’s the toe-sucking thing to worry about. JavaGirl is still capable of sticking her big toe in her mouth. Not something to brag about on the playground, let me tell you. Just a couple of weeks ago I found her sitting on the family room sofa, just sucking on her big toe. Oy. Please tell me this is not what she’ll start doing with no foo-foos around.

I’m wracked with parenting guilt. It’s worse than the usual parenting guilt b/c it was such a big thing GETTING her to suck on her pacifier b/c of her suck/swallow and failure to thrive issue — it was actually part of her feeding therapy. So whereas JavaBoy wasn’t really overly dependent on his pacifier and just sort of dropped it on his own so easily that I’m not exactly sure when he did it — I just know he did it somewhere between ages 9 months and 10 months b/c that’s when they disappeared in photos, it was a HUGE thing when JavaGirl could manage to keep hers in her mouth and it provided her great relief from her acid reflux and still provides her a lot of sensory relief so I feel like a horrible mother taking it from her, but then when I look at her gappy smile, I feel like a horrible mother not taking it from her.

I may have to become a thumb-sucker again until this whole pacifier weaning thing is over. I can’t take the stress.

A year later, I can assure you that JavaGirl neither sucks on a foo-foo nor her big toe and she does not lead a life of crime. Her dentist is thrilled with her teeth and I have found many other reasons for feeling like a horrible mother, but do not regret throwing out her pacifiers last year. It was so worth it. The week was hard, yes, but I had forgotten about it until JBJ reminded me! So if you are going through this now, all I can say is — pray for strength! You can — and will — get through it!

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