You know that saying: “All good things must come to an end.” Well the time had arrived in our household – the soother had to go.
Abby’s start with a soother was precarious at best; we tried multiples shapes, sizes, and brands to no avail. Girl was picky from the start. Given that she seemed to cry round the clock those first few months, I was understandably disappointed that all my attempts to introduce a soother to the equation were thwarted.
I suppose I should have left well enough alone and even been pleased since no soother meant no soother habit to break. When she was two months old we moved to a new apartment, and I stowed her defunct batch of soothers – all adamantly rejected – into an obscure pocket in her stroller. It was a stressful, sleepless few days, and when I couldn’t get her soothed in the midst of boxes and boxes and feeling the overwhelming desperation for her to just be happy (I’d have settled for a grumpy quiet) for a few minutes, for some reason I thought of those rejected soothers…all inaccessible in her stroller.
Coincidentally, the previous evening we had been gifted a “gag” gift of sorts by our close friends who had just returned from the UK. Their purchase – a pair of soothers (which were a “gag” since one bore the Union Jack as a shout-out to their native land). They were in my purse; my accessible purse. I popped one in her mouth, not expecting much. My reward – utter peace and quiet for 30 long, glorious minutes.
She adored her soother and, after learning to talk, affectionately called it her “soggy.” We were quite firm about her soother being used only for bed/nap time, long car rides, or any distressing circumstances (like doctor visits). One day we had a long, long standoff when she refused to put her soother back into her bed after a nap. Our first real mother-daughter battle of wills – I won. And so for months she would toddle down to the bedroom and slip her soother back into bed when we requested it, but she would invariably have one stashed somewhere hidden in her room, and come out proudly with it firmly gripped in her mouth. We couldn’t help but smile. Who couldn’t…
If we slipped in to watch her sleep, she would invariably have one in her mouth, and one clutched in her hands. The soother was wonderful for travel purposes too, and she loved having access to one in the car, or on the airplane.
Unfortunately, her soother use was getting harder to control. She was asking, nay, whining, for her soother outside of bedtime. When we’d leave for a long walk, it was always a dilemma: do we take a soother for backup or not. And then there was the simple fact that she’s nearing two, and well, it wasn’t going to get easier with time. Let’s not forget the fact that I was convinced I’d have her off the soother by one year, and our family doctor recommended such a stance. We actually did try to break the habit once, in an ill-timed, poorly executed attempt. Within 24 hours we’d caved and she was happily sooking away on her soother.
This time I think part of the success has been the last-minute decision to attempt another take-away. I happened upon a blog post mentioning breaking the soother habit. So that afternoon, on our family walk, I broached the subject. We gave her a soother one last time, and decided then and there we were going to do this.
And we did.
It has been a remarkably smooth transition. For a few weeks we’d been watching a video by Elmo (Abby’s favourite), and she was already toddling around singing ‘Bye, bye binky, binky bye, bye.’ I’m still singing it!
So when we put her to bed the first night we explained she was a big girl, and just like Elmo said “bye, bye” to his binky, Abby needed to say “bye, bye” to her soggy. She waved and said bye, bye soogy, and seemed pretty thrilled by the idea. Until a thorough examination of her bed revealed no soother.
She cried and whimpered off and on for 30 minutes or so. She woke at 2:30 for another 30 minutes of whimpering, and woke up at 6 AM standing in her bed, waving, and saying “soother go bye, bye.” The first nap was a bit rough too. But really, that was about it. A few more tears along the way, but hardly a single mention of her beloved soggy.
They’re stored away for now, but once she’s past any potential relapse, my plan is to pull them out of hiding, whip on a coat of ORB spray paint, and add them to our Christmas decoration stash. She loved these hunks of plastic with all her wee heart, and so, in turn, I’m pretty attached to them myself. The soothers have crossed the Atlantic and visited three foreign counties, attended a wedding, and traveled 1000’s of kilometers by car. These soothers have comforted her through colds and teething and vaccines and long hikes. The designs are no longer distinguishable, but just like a well-worn pair of jeans, this is just a sign of a perfect fit.
But for now, we bid adieu to soothers in this house.
Bye, bye soggy.