I remember making the decision to start throwing away pacifiers that were falling apart or that he'd started to chew at about 20 months old. Each night as the dishes were being done, we'd look at each bink and see how water would get trapped in the nipple, or how bad the tear at the base was, and they'd go into the recycling bin.
I know that we got down to two right before his second birthday. And I think I started to take them away from him during the day, like they were only for naps and bedtime, and then maybe just for bedtime. I know my goal was to have him broken of them by two, because that sounding like a reasonable age to be done with things like pacifiers.
I suspect I just didn't give him one at bedtime one night, and he didn't fuss, so that was that. Which, in retrospect, is kind of weird because he has a deep tissue release issue in his jaw and he does kind of chew on everything. He has chew toys, for the love.
I do remember, about six months later, him having a COMPLETE meltdown, the largest out-of-control tantrum of his terrible two's at that point yet, and I caved and gave him a bink, because I hadn't been able to throw them away, I'd just hidden them in a different drawer in case of emergencies. I remember unceremoniously handing one to him and his tantrum stopping long enough for him to take it, put it in his mouth ... and then promptly spit it out and hand it back to me.
I threw them out after that.
But now, now I have this:
And suddenly, I'm at a loss for how to handle the situation.
She didn't even like pacifiers to begin with. She was a much better nurser than her brother, which meant I spent the first three months of her life constantly taking her thumb out of her mouth and putting her bink back in, under the premise that down the road you can take away a pacifier, but you can't take away a thumb or fingers.
That presumed a lot, now that I think about it.
We've managed to wean her away from her WubbaNubs ... and on to these GumDrop ones that are pretty much exactly like Soothies, but shaped different around the face part and don't have the weight of the WubbaNub animals pulling it down, creating weird angles in her mouth. She originally rejected the GumDrops, but then one day about four months ago she found one and was all IN MY MOUTH and yeah, it hasn't been awesome.
She's two and a half weeks past two years old, now, and every time I go to take the bink out of her mouth mostly because she's trying to talk to me and I can't understand what she's saying, she immediately stops whatever she's doing and yells NONONONO! and takes it back from me or tantrums wildly, throwing and hitting and kicking and the whole shebang until she gets it back.
And, as lovely as my little daughter is, she's a whiner. and EPIC whiner that knows no limit to the extent at which she will whine at length to get whatever it is she wants.
This is the child that if you correct her, she bursts into fake tears and immediately wants you to cuddle her, completely ignoring whatever behavior of hers incited the correction in the first place. Often, once she thinks you've forgotten why you corrected her, she goes back to exactly what she was doing that got her in trouble to begin with.
This child is just ... strong willed? Stubborn? Redheaded?
So right now, I just tell her that I can't understand her with the bink in her mouth or that big girls don't need binks and she's such a big girl, and on the rare occasions she takes it out of her mouth (usually because she's about to eat something) I put it up out of her reach.
She always looks for it though, desperately asking for her "pink" as if her world will end without it.
She's not making this easy, at all, for anyone.
I know I should just take it away from her and let her deal, but my god I have enough tantrums on my plate between the two of them and another reason for her to scream her head off is not really something I'm looking forward to providing her.
So everyday I beat myself up for not taking it away from her as well as for wanting to deny her something that obviously comforts her beyond anything else, including myself. And every day I end up feeling like I'm failing her, somehow, for not forcing her to give it up and for fostering such a crutch in the first place.
I'm at a loss over a stupid piece of medical grade silicon. And right now, I feel like this upcoming battle of wills will challenge the last bastion of my sanity and I'll just have to give up on feeling like a competent, nurturing parent ever again.