The Pacifier Fairy Failed

Back in September, I wrote this breezy post on how easy it was to get rid of our son’s pacifier. I was feeling very smug right about then. 

Let’s recap. Son loves pacifier to sleep. Son gets mouth full of canker sores due to bad virus. Parents use this opportunity to take away his pacifier via the tried and true “Fairy” method. After first few days, son seems to be handling it okay. Son only asks about pacifier once. Parents are quietly struggling with new sleep issues from said  weaning, but figure like most transitions, this too shall pass.

What I didn’t realize then was that though he was okay with the transition mentally, physiologically he had a very tough time falling asleep without his pacifier.  Over the next two months, he would wake up crying at least two times a night. He couldn’t fall back asleep for almost an hour each time. He also started waking up at 5:30-6:00am. Though this left him (and us!) exhausted during the days, sans pacifier he couldn’t figure out how to take his naps anymore–so those left us too. Without his nights and naps he would often cry his way through his daily transitions.

It was incredibly difficult for us to see him struggle like this. After two months of this, we couldn’t take it any longer.

So what did we do?

We reintroduced the pacifier.

At first I felt like a total failure for doing this. In the infinite black hole that is online mom forums, I could find no precedent. Who reintroduces a pacifier to their child at 3 years old? Also, wasn’t I damning him to a life of messed up teeth through this prolonged use?

But you know what? Now I’m so happy we made that decision. The day the pacifier came back, we got our son back. And our good life back. He went from an exhausted mess of a toddler, to the wonderful little man we know and love so much. He’s back to sleeping through the night until at least 7:30-8am. And back to napping almost every day.

And all it took was that darn little piece of rubber. We’ll worry about weaning him from it again in a year when he’s a little more mature and he doesn’t nap anymore.

Why do I share this marvelous failure with you?

Too often, all I read on these types of blogs are the successes. And successes are great.

But in this failure, I learned to do what I think is right for my child. And not get super caught up in following the “right” way to parent. I learned that I don’t have to strictly adhere to any guidelines that tell me when I absolutely need to do things. I learned that development is not a race.  I learned to listen to my instincts and listen to my child.

I also learned that sometimes what feels like a failure initially, can actually be a big victory.

The other day I told my pediatrician a condensed version of this saga and she was great. She said something to the effect of “Don’t worry about it. If your kid couldn’t transition within two weeks that means he obviously wasn’t ready. Try again down the road. And by the way, there is no real evidence anyhow that pacifiers contribute to overbites.”

One thought on “The Pacifier Fairy Failed

  1. I’m glad you posted this blog. I find myself getting caught up in the ‘comparison’ game also. Quality parenting is about focusing on the needs of the individual child!

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