The Dummy Suckers

How we went from no dummies, to dummies by the dozen… 

The pacifier is the one baby item I love to hate. I love how it immediately silences a crying baby, I love how I can shove it into Liam’s mouth when his verbal diarrhea hits record breaking levels, I love how it sends an almost-awake baby back to la-la land early on a Saturday morning. I love the cute designs and shapes they come in, the glow-in-the-dark types (VERY handy at night!), and the fancy ones with lids. I love the adorable  dummy chains in an array of colours and designs and the nifty little dummy boxes or casings, in which you can store dummies on the move. I have every believe in a dummy for the first few weeks with a new born, especially if you have a particularly naggy (for want of a better word) baby who takes long to settle, or who likes to constantly have something in his/her mouth or is really just a little whiner. The dummy brings much relief to a tired, overwhelmed new mother. All that said…

The pacifier drives me insane! It’s become my greatest fear to lose a dummy, or forget to take it (not it, them, 100s of them!) when we leave the house. Don’t EVER, EVER think they’ll get over it and forget about it, because they don’t! Hannah cannot sleep without her beloved dummy, she will wail until we produce it. If she gets hurt, not all the kisses in the world can shut her up. She needs that dummy to pacify her (much to my sadness!).

Dummies are so unhygienic! I find Hannah prodding hers in the sand outside, using it as a lollipop to taste the earth. I’ve found her dangling it in the toilet in order to reach the water level. I’ve seen her pop it into complete stranger babies’ mouths and I’ve seen her ruffle it through Toto’s fur. And no matter how good I am at replacing the dirty dummy with a new one, every time I catch it being abused by Hannah, she thinks I am giving her a new one to test it in the dirt.

Dummies are a life sentence! I’m afraid I will have to wait until Hannah is cognitively able to make the decision for herself, to give the dummy up. I have never been a fan of the “crying it out” method for sleeping, and I certainly will not let my poor baby “cry it out” while I get her used to not having a dummy. For one, her crying will drive me insane, but more importantly, why would I deprive her of this life line on which she so depends?

The comment I hear the most often, is that my kids will need braces. So what? Braces aren’t forever and they most certainly haven’t killed anyone yet? Of course we want to avoid “blinging” our kids mouths, but if I don’t use the dummy NOW, I may not make it to their teenage years with all the crying I would have to endure. And besides I have firm faith in these expensive orthodontic dummies that promise not to hinder the development of your child’s jaw and teeth as they grow (fingers crossed behind my back).

Now let me enlighten you on the situation I am faced with. Liam was a baby who never took to a dummy. He was also a baby who never took to sleeping, unless there was something in his mouth, namely, my boob. I’d FORCE that dummy into his mouth, in an effort to make him think he was still suckling and hopefully sleep. Well that didn’t work and in the end, I was glad that he by-passed that dummy phase altogether. UNTIL..

Hannah was born when Liam was 15 months, she took to her dummy like a duck to water. And I firmly believe that this is why she slept so well from day one, but that’s just my opinion. Liam was fascinated with this big plastic thing that his sister was always sucking on. He didn’t know what it was, but it sure brought her lots of joy. I’d walk in on him trying to steal it from her. Sometimes I’d walk in and she’d be screaming while Liam would be sucking away on her dummy, without a care in the world. It got to the point where he used to cry for her dummy. Now a normal rational person would have explained that dummies are for babies and that he was a big boy and that he didn’t need it. But a crazy, sleep deprived mother would just give in and buy the darn dummy to keep the kid be quiet.

One year on.. I have two dummy sucking babies. Liam uses his mostly at night; since we took him off the bottle, it seems to give him some sense of security at bed time. Hannah basically uses hers like a life support machine. Oh, and they share and swap dummies throughout the day, as they feel fit, I can’t keep up with which dummy belongs to which kid. Presently I have about 12 dummies, which I’d say I replenish every four to five months because dummies go missing like socks in the wash. My husband is highly annoyed that Liam has started sucking a dummy at this age, more so because when that dummy is in his mouth, he thinks he can’t talk and uses sign language which is difficult for someone who only tells loooong stories – and he expects us to understand him. I personally enjoy the silence it brings.

I am in no hurry to wean them off their dummies, I know that there’ll come a day when they decide for themselves that dummies are for the birds. I just hope and pray that that day will come before they reach puberty. My husband almost fell off his chair when I made that comment. It was a joke, most children give up their dummies when they realize their friends don’t have dummies so dummies must be un-cool. Liam is already aware that dummies aren’t cool for school. If it doesn’t happen naturally, I guess I’ll have to fish up a story about how the “kitty” stole the dummies or something equally dumb enough for toddlers to believe, so that I can kiss our dummy days good bye.

One thought on “The Dummy Suckers”

  1. I love this piece… Especially the part where he expects you to understand his sign language!!! Hahaha!! Silly boy! Yes, let them have their dummies, they’ll let go when they are ready!!! Lovely babies! Xx

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