Can we have a little chat about the pacifier? First, I'd like to say that I LOVE our pacifiers. They made car rides for those first 8-9 months miles easier, and had it not been for Cheech's chupóns, I'm not sure we would have been as successful at getting her to sleep through the night on her own. Well, kind of on her own. But, where does the line have to be drawn?
Joe and I were out to lunch a few weeks ago, and we saw a family walking with a child in a stroller and a pacifier in her mouth. The child was a GOOD 5 years old. I'm not going to start ranting about my feelings regarding children who have been walking for YEARS in strollers, but I have to admit I was a bit taken aback by the fact that she was sucking on a pacifier. Am I just being naive? Look, I'm well aware that parenting is often times more about survival than anything else, but when does it stop being about convenience and turn into downright destruction?
In no way, shape, or form do I want Cheech to be sucking on a pacifier when she's 5 years old. ESPECIALLY, in circumstances where she wouldn't need it. That being said, I'm not exactly in a rush to take it away from her now. We mainly use them currently for sleeping purposes, and still, in her car seat (although, she's recently been using it less and less in the latter situation). Although I carry one with me, I try to only give it to her if she seems to be in distress and I need to help soothe her before I get her home/change her diaper/do what needs to be done to snap her out of it. In other words, I don't let her have at it whenever she wants. And, once she does calm down, I gently take it out of her mouth and tell her that she doesn't need it anymore. She's also a thumb sucker, so I also try to see if she'll resort to that first.
Ok, so I'm definitely pro-pacifier, but I am anti-pacifier-forever. What I'm having trouble figuring out is when to know that their time is up... and when that time does come, what's the best approach to help kick the habit? P had her girls quit cold turkey at 9 months, but like I said, I'm not exactly feeling the pressure just yet. When I lived in LA, I nannied part-time for a 3 year old girl. Her mom had instructed me that she could use her pacifier for her naps, and ONLY for her naps. It was kept in her nightstand drawer and if she requested it at any other time, she simply was not allowed to have it. Right around the time she turned 3 1/2, her mom had a "talk" with her and told her that now that she was a "big girl" she had to hand her pacifier over to the Pacifier Fairy, who would then pass it along to one of the new babies in the world. She gave it up without a single problem. I kind of like the idea of "reasoning" with a slightly older child, but I can see how that plan might backfire.
What do you guys think? Do any of you get help from a handy pacifier? Have any of you taken them away with success? Or, has it been a total nightmare?