Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just Say No

Before Eliot was born, I was convinced that we would not use pacifiers. Initially I was concerned that it would cause nipple confusion, which could complicate breastfeeding. I also didn't understand how a man-made device could soothe my child better than I could.

In his hospital bassinet was a post-it that said "No circ, no paci". I was really proud of that little sign. I felt like it was an announcement that we were making conscious choices from day one. We were parents who had done our research and knew what we were doing. We didn't need that little plastic tit - I was going to fulfill all of my child's needs and do it with a smile on my face.

Cut to 4 days later at home, Eliot permanently latched to my breast/pinkie finger; sucking, sucking, sucking. The sign wasn't there anymore, and I could do whatever I damn well pleased. I sent Justin into the towering stacks of unopened baby gifts to find some pacifiers. "Boil them up and bring them to me!"

Eliot was a great nurser from the get-go. He latched on right away. The problem was he never really wanted to latch off. This quieted my fears of possible nipple confusion. I was sure he would be so relieved to have a little something to suck on for as long as his little jaws could hold out.

No dice.

He wasn't having it. We tried various brands, sizes, tip shapes, the works. Nothing but mommy boob or somebody's (anybody's!) pinkie would do. We would try again every once in awhile to see if he'd changed his mind and occassionally he'd take a few sucks and that'd be the end of it. There were times that he would pop one in his mouth while he was teething, but he mostly chewed on it, and it would never last long. Unless my mom gave it to him. Then he would suck on it as if it was covered in sugar. Which is a little suspicious - grandmothers are notorious for their access to sweet treats.

That all changed in the last week. When we were at Luby and Anna's on Sunday meeting Samson, Eliot demanded that he be given a pacifier like Samson's, or more accurately, Samson's pacifier. Our hosts obliged, and he spent most of the visit with it plugged in, while he went about the important business of playing with Luby's vintage Sesame Street Little People. Then yesteday, we had a playdate with our friend Lucy, who's a fan of the Nuk, and he stole it and sucked on it in the fountain at Tower Grove Park, at the playground, and through most of our grocery shopping trip until it found it's way out of the car cart and onto the floor.

So last night at bedtime, he was really fussy, which we attributed to teething. He kept asking for Lola, but when I put her in his bed, he picked her up and wanted her out. Then I realized what he wanted. Lola has her own pacifier, which is just one of his infant cast-offs. I handed it to him, he slipped it between his lips, snuggled into his blanket, and didn't make a peep. He woke up at his usual earlier-than-should-be-legal time and called for me a couple times, but then he got quiet. Justin and I fell back to sleep and when I woke up, Justin was in the shower and Eliot was still asleep. It was 7:30 am. It was a Mams Miracle!

And he kept sleeping. Honestly, in the rare instances that he sleeps 'late' I am almost completely convinced that he must have died in his sleep. What other explanation could there possibly be? Our genetic mixing has produced a professional morning person. Seriously, Justin and I have not slept in together since Eliot was born. And it is not unusual for him to wake up before 6am. In the morning. O'clock.

When he finally woke up at nearly eight, I saw the pacifier lying in his crib and realized - holy shit, those things are magic!

What I don't understand is, why now? It reminds me of people who start smoking when they are older than like, high school. After high school, you should be a bit past peer pressure, more informed on the dangers of smoking, maybe your Uncle Larry has emphysema or some other horrific smoking-related disease. Before then, you were dumb and impressionable, and thought smoking was your ticket to the cool kids lunch table. Like the early days of life with a pacifier, a baby doesn't really know better. They don't know, hey, these things are for babies. And you might get addicted to its plastic nipply goodness. So it's understandable that they would give in to the deliciousness non-stop sucking provided by an artificial soother. But toddlers are usually a little more mature and their need to suck has declined. It's understandable that a toddler who used one from infancy would still be a user. But a toddler suddenly picking up the habit? Where's the logic?

But here he is. And folks, I'm not stopping it. In fact, there was a time when I actually considered asking our pediatrician if there were any legal sleeping pills for babies. I was also out of my gourd with torture-worthy levels of sleep deprivation. I will happily let him suck on a pacifier at bedtime if it means that once in awhile, I can actually get the recommended 8 hours of nightly rest. And now I can tell the scientists to stop their Unisom Junior research.


Lauren Snyder said...

Tyler is a "bink baby" but Jack wants absolutely NOTHING to do with it... Now you have me wondering if he will pick up the habit later on down the road. I'm going to attempt to blog now too.. I have been lurking long enough. ;)

Heather said...

Do it!

Lauren Snyder said...

I did it!

Emily said...

Hahahahaahhaahahaha! Oh yeah baby. Do whatever. If he sucks on it till he's twenty, so be it. He and Lew can hit the clubs in sucking tandem.