Breaking Up is Hard to Do

MeToo is two and a half now, which means it’s time for her to give up her most favoritest thing in the world: pacifiers.

Please don’t tell her, but her big sister got to have pacifiers until she was three, and didn’t entirely give them up for six months after that. RU’s teeth, however, were not being adversely affected by them whereas MeToo’s are. She clamps down on those things hard and chews them around in her mouth even while sleeping. And as much as RU liked her passies, MeToo likes to have them in all the time. Ever see someone who smoked so much they would even eat and drink with a cigarette in hand so they could have a puff between bites? Subtract the burning nicotine and that’s MeToo.

When RU had to kick the habit, she was older. She also had a baby sister to contrast herself with. Baby MeToo still had pacifiers but RU was a Big Girl (which officially happens when you turn three and a half, don’t you know) and needed them no longer. Explaining it that way to her was nearly all it took when coupled with making a little deal about it being her half-birthday (we usually give new pajamas to mark the occasion).

MeToo, on the other hand, is less invested in being mature and far more attached to her habit.

We timed MeToo’s de-pacification to coincide with a weekend we spent away from home. We didn’t take any pacifiers on the trip. We didn’t have any of hers around when we came back, aside from a few stragglers that keep turning up. It was close enough to her half-birthday that we could hang the transition on that, but the real trick that made it work was changing her environment for a few days. We’d mentioned to her a few weeks prior that she’d be giving up her cherished pacifiers so that she’d have some advanced warning but we didn’t say anything at all about them during the transition period itself.

It’s worked pretty well. During the trip, she asked about her passies a couple of times and we responded with a simple, “We didn’t bring any” or “You don’t have them now that you’re two and a half.” Since we’ve been back, she’s only brought them up a few times, usually when she’s hurt herself or is very upset over something.

I will admit that I’d been expecting a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth over this, and possibly even DTs. I’m still surprised with how easy it was to remove them from her lifestyle, especially as we still have plenty of pacifiers in the house for Z. I mean, this is a girl who got pacifiers for Christmas last year from her grandmother — and I’m pretty sure they were her favorite present.

So, that’s my advice for any of you with children who need to kick the habit: Give them a change of scenery and a new routine for a couple of days.

Now, what am I going to do when I decide she can’t have cold turkey for lunch anymore?