I was never one of those mums, rightly or wrongly, who said "I will not use a dummy." Quite the opposite in fact. Before my first son was born, and along with a box of nappies, wipes and nappy rash cream, I bought dummies. Ready and waiting for when Bub (or probably more specifically, I) needed it.
When I was in hospital after my 7yr old was born, the midwives were quite insistent that I should wait to introduce the dummy, in case it messed with his breastfeeding. Wanting to do the right thing, I put the dummies on hold, forgoing sleep and my sanity in the process for the good of my newborn baby.
For the first two weeks anyway.
After a particularly long and stressful day filled with tears (most of them mine, many of them his), Hubby and I decided to give him one. I held it in for a few seconds, praying that he would take it. At first, he seemed to want to spit it back out. And then suddenly, he had it. Almost instantly, he fell asleep. At last. Sleep. Relief.
When my second son was born, I had Hubby bring the dummies in to hospital. I wasn't going to muck around that time. (And we had no problems with breastfeeding either.) And the same with the third.
But I've always had strict rules with the dummy. They are not for anything but bed time. Of course, this rule was slightly relaxed in that as long as they were physically on their bed, they could have the dummy, but once off it, the dummy came out and was left there.
My 2yr old, who will be 3 next month, has also followed this rule, but he has started to challenge it recently. I've noticed him straying from the confines of his bedroom, dummy in mouth, to watch tv or lie on the floor with his beach towel. (Yet another comfort item - he slept with this as an alternative to a pillow until he moved in to his "big boy bed" and we convinced him he needed a "big boy pillow" to go with it. Not that I can blame him; wanting to lie on a beach towel all the time. I'd like to feel permanently on holiday as well.)
Anyway, these recent turn of events have made me realise; it's time. Time to get rid of the dummy.
With my first son, it was something I knew we had to do, but I was reluctant. He loved the dummy too. I was afraid to remove it. Would he sleep without it? God forbid. He could keep it until he moved out of home if that was the case. I didn't want to go back 'there'.
We decided to offer him a bribe. A packet of toy cars for the dummy. He handed them over willingly, his eyes eyeing off the 6 pack of shiny new cars in front of him. And then when he lay down for his first afternoon sleep without his beloved dummy, he started to cave in.
He begged for it, pleaded for it, promised he'd be a "really, really good boy" if we gave it back to him. I likened it to a drug addict going cold turkey. I had to be tough. Strong. Willing to see him through it. And you know what? Within five minutes, he had gone off to sleep. He woke after an hour, calling out for the dummy. I repeated the mantra I had the first time, "You're a big boy. You don't need a dummy. Remember: you get six new toys cars to play with later." And it worked. He went back to sleep. And we never looked back.
It was that easy.
It was just as easy with our now 5yr old. But the 2yr old? Well, let's just say I'm bracing myself at the very thought of going through the same process with him.
My youngest is the most determined. He's also very vocal. And I'm worried I've left it just that little bit late. Many years ago, I read somewhere that the best time to give up the dummy is between the age of 2 1/2 to 3 years of age. The reason being that up until that age, they really don't understand why you are taking this comfort object away from them, and any later than 3, it becomes habit forming. Both the first two boys gave theirs up during this 6 month period, but a little closer to 2 1/2 than 3. I have precisely a smidgen over 1 month left to complete this task. Time is ticking away. And I just can't wait any longer.
And so, I am giving myself a deadline. No more dummy by the end of next week. Going, going, gone.
Now I just need to find an item to bribe him with. Wish me luck!
Until next time...