Archive for May, 2014

Samanthaism #: I want to sleep

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Before we made it out of the NICU, our kids had green Avent Soothies — aka binkies — in their mouths. Sucking is a powerful form of self-soothing and we spent a lot of time the first two years plugging and replugging binkies to soothe girls.

Sometime along the way, the girls got big enough, strong enough, and dexterous enough to work their own binkies and ask for them by name. Clever monkeys climb under sofas, scramble up on to shelves, rummage through bags, and even resort to demands: “I want a binkie RIGHT NOW, please.”

Slowly, binkies worked their way out of the bedroom and bedtime, and into reading time and riding in the car and… too many places too much of the time. I’m pretty sure Sam is still struggling to make molars. But if you ask Cate why she wants a binkie, she’ll say, “I just like the flavor in my mouth.”

I’m not worried that binkies will delay the girls’ speech: strangers routinely remark on how verbal they both are. However, I am concerned that sucking a binkie may be altering the structure of Cate’s mouth: her bite meets at her canines and her incisors don’t come close to each other.

The parenting books I’ve read recommend waiting no later than age 2-1/2 to start weaning off pacifiers. My intent was to get through teething first, but Sam still has several teeth yet to erupt.

We’ve warned the girls a few times that we’ll stop using binkies someday, but had made no specific plans. In a somewhat abrupt move, I decided Friday was the day to reel binkies back to bedtime.

In the morning, after potty time, I simply captured all the binkies. Cate complied readily, but Sam was not amused. She asked nicely several times, and then after I failed to yield, fussed and cried and stamped her feet. Very few things rouse Sam to tantrum, but my stealing her binkie really upset her.

A bit later, when I whisked us out to meet Auntie Em at Weir Climbing Park, Sam declared she wanted to sleep in the car. When I asked if she was tired, she said no, but she wanted a binkie right now, please.

As soon as we returned to the house before nap time, Sam asked again. I congratulated them on making a whole outing binkie-free and made them wait until we got to the bedroom. Both girls seemed pleased to have their binkies back.

Sam was worn out and fell asleep readily. But I missed Cate’s window and she was wired. She screwed around in bed for more than an hour, and rather than getting to sleep, she woke up Sam.

After the too-short nap time, I presented a doll bed repurposed as a “binkie bed,” and told the girls to deposit all of their binkies. I reiterated that binkies are for bedtime and they would stay “in bed” while we went off to do stuff.

Cate dutifully deposited hers, but Sam wanted no part of it. When I eventually took her binkie away, she wailed. She didn’t want a hug and she didn’t want a snack and she didn’t want to play. Sam plaintively wanted “a binkie right now, please?”

The only consolation I was able to foist on her was a small popsicle. Both girls love them, and Sam lit up at the prospect. But as soon as the final icy chunk of Gatorade was gone, she asked for a binkie and began sniveling again.

Sam was so very sad Friday afternoon and I felt so mean. She cried hard enough and long enough that before Nané went home for the weekend, she asked me to let her know how Sam fared.

Out of desperation, I gave Sam some Advil for her teeth, and she did cheer up after that.

The parenting books suggest several ways to transition off of pacifiers, but one observed that regardless of tactics, some kids experience the end of pacifiers as a real loss with meaningful grief. I hope neither of our girls suffers so thoroughly.

During the weekend, two or three times, I have seen Sam improvise and suck on a couple of fingers of her right hand. But mostly her efforts have been more literal:

  • At one point, Sam slipped in the bedroom to steal a binkie and flee back to the dining room where she flopped down on the bench of the girls’ table and said, “I’m a jaguar cat sleeping in a tree!”
  • I want to sleep on the sofa.
  • I want to sleep in the car.
  • I want to go back to bed.

As in, binkies are for bedtime, so I’m ready to sleep here now so that I can have a binkie. Clever and persistent kid!
* * *
Sunday evening, while the girls were “doing their jobs,” I paused mid-brushing to count Sam’s teeth. Eighteen are in and #19 — a top left molar — is mostly erupted. So she’s certainly been busy making teeth, which surely contributes to her wanting a binkie.

With another molar yet to come, I expect Sam to continue to want them, too. I’m not eager to fight for total binkie elimination until the teething is finally done.

That being said, I’m going to get the girls an appointment with a pediatric dentist. Partly, I’d like to make sure we’re keeping their teeth clean enough. And partly I’d appreciate guidance from a professional.

Postscript: By mid-June, Sam seems to be done making teeth. We’re all Advil-free, and nobody’s clamoring for binkies during the day anymore. Phew!