pacifier blues

by humanmama on August 4, 2010


We are slaves to the pacifier.

We began just like any other family. Trying to get the babies to sleep, giving them blankies, rocking them (and rocking them) (and rocking them) (and rocking them)… We tried singing, baths, “nighttime rituals,”–you name it, we’ve tried it. Suddenly when Helena was being babysat at about 7 weeks old (when I went back to work for–get this–two days before I was laid off), my friend stuck in a pacifier and that’s pretty much the beginning of the end. Welcome, pacifier: we are at your mercy.

We call it “the nukkie” actually, which is fine for phrases like “ooh, hon, can you go plug the nukkie back in?” but does get a little tricky when you’re shouting at the mall, “OOOH, DOES SOMEONE NEED NUKKIE??” I get the looks, I tell ya.

And so it went, this miraculous plug which both soothes and relaxes, helps aching gums during teething, is part chew-toy and part sleep aid. But as much as we have loved the Nukkie, it has not loved us. Hardly a day goes by without the phrase “Have you seen the nukkie?” or “Are there any nukkies up here?” I tried to buy 10 or 20 and leave one in every possible place–one in the bouncy seat, one in the swing, one in thecarseat. But inevitably we are racing around, crying child in hand, yelling “WHO’S GOT THE NUKKIE??!”

Anyway, when Helena was about 18 months old she was without it at night AND at naptime for about a week. And then she had a very minor eye surgery to correct a blocked tear duct. We brought nukkie to the hospital and it was like magic, but we were stuck to it from then on. Once Helena turned 2 and 1/2 we said Santa was looking for some nukkies to give to the other babies, and she (willingly! it was amazing) put them in a little bag and hug it on the tree, and the next day they were gone. But she never napped the same again, and to this day if you go in her room in the middle of the night you’ll find her sucking her teeth as if she had the nuk in.

Now on to Lilly. She’s going on 16 months in a couple of weeks (!!!!) (!!) (note: for 2nd child this time really flew), and she is beginning her obsession. She even has begun to say it: “night-night,” (more like, “niii-niiii”) interchangeably, with “Nuu-nuuu” my favorite Nuk. And although something in me wants to stop it, to get rid of it now, part of my has also learned.

There is some part of a mom (I only know moms, so if you think this applies to dads too, let me know) that isn’t ever satisfied with being satiated. What I mean is that when we have one child out of diapers who is sleeping through the night and says “I love you” at the right times, I believe many a dad would say “FINALLY!” and pass out on the nearest couch. Moms, though, say “let’s have another!” And when you maybe are pregnant and have one whiny 2-and-1/2-year old, maybe a Mom would say “we need a dog” and go get one. (Or, maybe just this mom….)

A Mom would say “let’s get rid of the Nuk before it_____.” (Begins to ruin her teeth/becomes a crutch, etc.) A dad would say “Hey, if it ain’t broke…!” Or at least, as I mentioned before, that might be what happens around here.

So we continue or nukkie obsession. It’s soothing, it’s fun, it’s around in good times and in bad. Why would I take that away from her? I know, she’ll do it when she’s ready. Nuk: The Ultimate Soother.

Geez, I’m beginning to wonder if I need one.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica {Team Rasler} August 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm

We are pacifier slaves, too, and yet still gave one to the newborn… why didn't we learn?? Guess it was better than my being a human pacifier – ugh. We like the MAMS kind, though, because of the clips you can buy to attach them to pajamas or sleep sacks. Life (and sleep) savers!!

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Maria August 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I can't tell you how many times I TRIED to get Eartha to take a pacifier. She refuses all but my nipple, the "magic bullet" as Jason calls it. On the other hand, I will never lose my nipple and have to run around the house trying to find it, I suppose.

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Sara August 30, 2010 at 8:00 pm

AJ – I can relate as my mom was fearful my sister was going to head to kindergarten with the pacifier in her mouth. (She literally wore holes in the rubber). There are no pictures of her before the age of five without one in her mouth – Lily's picture made me smile.

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Suzy Puglia April 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Adore this article. Where did you uncover these details?

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