Goodbye, Paci!

I apologize for my absence last week. We got hit hard with the blizzard, and things just didn't go as planned. You'd think with my hubby home I'd be able to get more done, but such was not the case. I plan to blog about our preschool decision soon. I really appreciated all of your insight! Until then . . . my victory over the paci!

This is my second baby sporting her paci on day two of her life . . . she has since lost interest, and I have no desire to introduce it to her again. I'll let you know if that changes ;-)

When I found out I was pregnant and my second child would be twenty-eight months younger than my first, I immediately began a list of milestones I wanted my eldest to accomplish before this baby came along.

1. Get rid of the paci.
3. Potty train. (Read about my attempts here, here, here, here, and when I decided to stop here.) (I'll blog about my actual success soon.)

When the baby came, I had attempted 2 & 3, but only accomplished to change to a toddler bed. Having been so unsuccessful in accomplishing my list, I gave up trying and just waited for baby #2 to come.

Baby #2 came, and many things changed with my eldest. She had spectacular public meltdowns. She couldn't seem to keep her finger out of the newborn's eye. And she started owning the term "big sister."

Lesson 1: Talk is not cheap--it's invaluable. Both getting rid of the paci and potty training were possible because of incessant talk. Any opportunity my hubby and I had, we talked about getting rid of the paci. We told her babies use pacis, not big girls. We encouraged her to throw her paci away. We called it yucky and made a big deal of every time it fell on the floor. We went overboard stressing that Baby M used a paci because she was a baby, and now it was time for A to be a big girl and throw hers away.

Lesson 2: Sugar works. I swore I would never be that mom. You know, the one who uses candy and treats laden with the evil HFCS to motivate my children to do anything. But (and I'll talk about this more with potty training), when my daughter expressed an interest in chewing gum, we added it on to the growing list of incentives of things she could do after she threw away her paci (for a while we could put off any and every thing by just saying, "If you throw away your paci, you can do that . . . and for a long time, the paci was more important). So we told her only big girls who throw away their pacis can chew gum, and that's the one that made the difference. Every time she saw gum she'd say, "I can chew that when I throw away my paci?" And, one night she said she wanted gum. We told her she'd have to throw away her paci first.

So, she went to her bed, grabbed the paci, and threw it in the bathroom trash. I made sure we made a big deal of it and said goodbye to the paci. Then I had her watch as my hubby bagged the trash and took it outside (no dumpster diving for my toddler). Then we celebrated, rejoiced, made a huge deal out of it, and let her chew a piece of gum, which she promptly chewed twice and swallowed.

She asked for it a few times after that, but since she had seen us take the trash out, we'd just ask her, "Where's your paci?" and she'd answer,
"In the trash."
And we'd explain that we couldn't get it back after it was in the trash. There was little resistance after that.

Lesson 3: Maturity is a factor. For my daughter, she needed to be able to comprehend a few key points:

1. The difference (and importance) of a big girl versus a baby
2. The concept of throwing something away
3. The concept of a reward she's never had

If she didn't understand these points, reasoning with her afterward would've been impossible.

So, goodbye, paci. I will not miss searching for you in a sea of blankets and stuffed animals. I will not miss midnight searches for you because you bounced out of bed and were hiding camoflauged on my dark concrete floors. I will not miss the shame I felt when my two year old still needed you to go to sleep. And I will not miss your high price tag (since we opted for the natural rubber kind).

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