There was a time when I thought Natalie would never be able to give up her binky. Parting ways with the beloved piece of plastic seemed like an impossibility. As most paci-suckers do, Natalie grew very attached to her binky. It was a source of comfort for her in times of need, boredom, and pain. At the first sign of a boo-boo, she calls out for her binky. When the toys, puzzles, and books just aren't enough, she goes searching for that binky. All is right in her world when that binky is in her mouth.
And for the past 1385 nights, she has relied on her binky to lull her to sleep each night. The same can be said for the countless naps Natalie took during her three and half years of napping.
I'll admit the thought of giving up her binky was stressful for me, and I didn't want it to be traumatic for her. I didn't want to take the binky or throw it away (as I did threaten on more than one occasion) or force her to give it to someone else or lie to her ... none of those things felt right. But I did think about "it" a lot. How would it finally happen? What could I do to make it the least painful for her? How many nights of sleep would we lose?
We've talked about getting older and not needing a binky anymore for a loooooong time. I was convinced we could get rid of it before Charlotte even arrived - that was almost a year and a half ago! Most recently, I helped her make the decision only to have her binky at nighttime - no more sucking during nap/rest.
Last night. It happened. At bedtime Natalie could not find her (one remaining) binky. Chad and I helped her look for it but had no luck locating it. At first, she panicked a little. She could not imagine sleeping without it, and she wasn't happy about the idea. Chad did an amazing job distracting her with stories and calming her down. After about 45 minutes of talking, I decided to go in and try to help.
I told Natalie the names of some of her friends who have recently given up their binkies. Figuring a) a little peer pressure never hurts and b) I always feel better when I know I am not alone - that others have gone before me. This seemed to boost her spirits some, and she even managed a few smiles. To seal the deal, I chanted/sang, "I don't need my binky.. I don't need my binky. I don't need my binky." and made up a little dance to go along with this new motto. Natalie had a good laugh at my silliness, and I convinced her to sing along with me ... she was very reluctant but did join in and smiled some more.
Chad and I made our exit, and I spent the next 45 minutes snuggling, patting, reassuring, calming, ... She never really cried, but she did whine and call me back to her room pretty much as soon as I left. She would say, "I can't fall asleep. I'm having a really hard time falling asleep without my binky." I told her that it wouldn't be easy this first night to fall asleep without it. She would have to be brave and try really hard, and that I knew she could do it.
My winning tactic was asking how many minutes - 3 or 4 - she wanted me to wait before coming back to check on her. I set my cell phone timer and came right back in three minutes. I didn't stay long; just popped in to give her kisses. The next time she said I could come back in 5 minutes. Guess what? She was sleeping before I even came back. Of course it was 10:45, and she was probably exhausted ... but she did it! I celebrated with a very quiet happy dance in the hallway and hoped it would last! Twice in the middle of the night, I heard her tossing and turning and probably searching for her binky. Both times she put herself back to sleep.
Chad and I felt so proud of her! To give her closure on the whole "lost" binky thing - after all, we did NOT want her looking for it all day - we left a little gift and a note from the Binky Fairy:
I just knew you didn't need your binky anymore.
I'm so proud of you! I hope you enjoy the Moon Sand.
Love, the Binky Fairy
She was thrilled that the Binky Fairy had visited our house last night. And she so was proud of herself, too. We called Mimi and Grammy to tell them the news. Natalie also told several random strangers and our neighbor ... with pure excitement in her voice, "I gave up my binky last night! I don't need my binky."
Chad and I gave lots of praise and hugs and kisses throughout the day. This is certainly a change worth celebrating!
Tonight's bedtime was similar to last night. Natalie needed some convincing that she could, indeed, fall asleep without her binky. But, again, she did it! It feels so good to be free of the binky burden!
Honestly, now that it finally happened, I can admit it was easier than I anticipated. Perfect example of the fact that children are so resilient. And testimony to waiting for children to be ready for change, empowering them to make the decision, and supporting them through it all!
1 day ago