Tuesday, December 15, 2015

won't you guide my sleigh tonight?

It happened yesterday morning.

When Rowan woke up, I scooped her out of her crib, snuggled her (i.e. gratuitous neck-sniffing, because she smells so delicious in the mornings) and plucked her pacifier out of her mouth. I noticed it right away: This paci, the Last Ba-Ba Standing out of five originals, had two huge rips in it. 

"Uh-oh," I muttered.

"Dat ba-ba is broken now, Mama. I chewed it," Rowan confessed. "Now you cut it?"

I had cut the tips off of her other pacifiers once they had torn; that way, she could hold them in her hands if she wanted, but there wasn't a risk of her biting the tip off and choking on it. J.J. walked into Rowan's room, and I showed him the broken ba-ba. He grimaced. I said, "Yep, I have to cut it, Rowie. We'll do it after nap today, okay?"

"Okay!" she chirped, already wiggling out of my arms. Huh. Maybe it would be no big deal, ending the reign of the pacifier?



I was actually against using pacifiers, back before Rowan was born. Then, sometime in those first few weeks, when I was having so much trouble breastfeeding AND my very oral daughter wanted to use my scabbed nipples (shudder) as constant soothing devices, J.J. unceremoniously offered her a pacifier. She took to it immediately, and I compromised (ahem gave myself the illusion of control) by saying she could only use them during sleep times, not while she was awake. Somehow, that seemed a reasonable concession to my pre-parenting "I'll never give my baby a pacifier" assertion.

Somewhere along the way, we acquired more pacifiers, and eventually she had five in her possession, all of which had to snuggle with her at night. I usually tiptoed into her nursery right before I went to bed to find her asleep, one ba-ba in her mouth, the rest scattered on the floor around her crib. I'd replace all of them and sneak back out, and we'd be golden until morning.

We never traded her newborn-sized pacifiers for bigger ones - maybe remnants of paci-denial on my part? - and, one by one, they wore out. A few months ago, I noticed that each of them had tiny tears, and I watched closely for the tears to get bigger. And they did. I threw the first one away when the tears got too big to safely use any longer, but I regretted it. Shouldn't I save these, her comfort objects from her teeny-tiny baby days? So when the next ones bit the dust, I cut off the tips and gave them back to her. She had never asked for them back once they were cut, which pretty much showcased who was more attached to the pacis of the two of us: me.


So when Rowan seemed totally blasé yesterday morning about the prospect of no ba-ba that night, I assumed she was really ready to be done with them and totally understood what was about to happen. Which also meant I didn't prepare for it at all. Minus our quick flirtation with the Ba-Ba Fairy about six weeks ago, we hadn't discussed or even thought about any incentives for giving up the pacifier. 

Minor oversight on our part.

Bathtime, books, and tooth-brushing were uneventful. But then I turned the lights off - usually our cue to sing a few songs together and then hit the sack. When the lights went off, Rowan lost it, sobbing that she wanted "a ba-ba for my mouth!" She was inconsolable for awhile, but I was able to get her snuggled into her crib after rocking and singing. Then I was back and forth between the couch downstairs and soothing her upstairs...for two hours. Poor little muffin. She told me she was "scared and sad," which broke my heart. I promised her cookies, stickers, and a special movie in the morning, none of which really seemed to matter to her. All she wanted was a ba-ba for her mouth.

I actually started crying at one point, listening to her wail through the monitor. "Maybe we jumped the gun," I said to J.J. "I have a spare paci in the diaper bag that she doesn't even know exists. I could just give it to her." Clearly, I thought, she wasn't ready for this transition, and as far as I was concerned, she could use the secret paci until she left for college.

J.J. talked me off of that ill-fated ledge, and I continued to move between listening to Rowan cry and going in to comfort her. She wasn't screeching or hysterical; she was just sad, which was somehow even more upsetting. 

Gradually, she quieted down. She woke up again at 11 and 3 needing comfort, and she woke up about an hour and a half earlier than usual (6 instead of 7:30, so still a relatively acceptable time), but she did it. She slept without her ba-ba.


We made a big deal out of it this morning. We threw a cookie party in our bed before breakfast, which delightfully broke all sorts of rules. Rowan loved it, gleefully munching on her cookie and singing her favorite songs.

I was happy that she was happy again, but I dreaded nap time today. Specifically, I was terrified that the end of the ba-ba meant the end of her naps. Not. Acceptable. At. All. 

So, I bribed her.

Sorry, not sorry. Not even a little.

I told her that if she went to sleep without crying at nap time (which bends an important rule of mine - not telling her to "stop crying"), then we could go to the toy store and buy a special toy for her to snuggle with in her crib.

And whaddya know? Bribery freakin' WORKS. Or, at least, it did today. Rowan went down without a fuss, slept as long as usual, and happily accompanied me to the store after she woke up. We went to the dollar store first, since I had other stuff to get there and since (real talk) I'm cheap. But she rifled through their paltry stuffed animal selection unenthusiastically, not able to settle on any of their meager choices. I wanted her to LOVVVVE whatever toy she chose so she'd be excited to snuggle it in her crib in place of her ba-bas, so I decided to take her to Toys 'R' Us instead.

Which is how we ended up with a ginormous replica of her current hero: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. She adores Rudolph, memorized his song after just a few listens, has a conniption whenever it comes on the radio, and spots him everywhere we go. We haven't been able to catch the movie on TV yet, but I know she'll lose her damn mind when we do. Well, the second we walked into Toys 'R' Us, there was Giant Rudolph, just waiting for us.

The rest will go down in history, much like Rudy himself.

Rudolph began his life with us by scaring the crap out of me on the drive home...


...moved on to supervising bathtime...

...received plenty of post-bath snuggles...

...and settled into bed with Rowan for the night.

My poor girl is still having a bit of a tough time tonight (it's 9:00 and she's still alternating between playing and fussing in her crib), but at least she's not as unbearably sad as last night. Here's hoping it gets better and better. With Rudolph's help.

Rudolph, if you know the secret to making
this less painful, please. Let me know.

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  1. Laws! That picture of Rudy in the backseat is TERRIFYING.

  2. Also, it's a damn shame that you didn't have the foresight to purchase a sleigh-style crib before Rowie was born because that would have just tied this whole thing up quite nicely.

    1. I actually WANTED a sleigh-style crib for awhile, but her room is too small to accommodate one. Maybe I need to rent one for these purposes. Let's look into that.



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