I can’t believe my sweet little baby is going to be an official, card-carrying two-year-old in a single month. Two years has flown by like an out-of-control, yet strangely happy, tornado…it feels like I just gave birth a month ago, and yet here we are. Every day when I shower and dress, I look down at my Cesarean scar and remember in vivid detail how Joshua’s birthday happened.
And now, two years and countless milestones later, Joshua Bear and I find ourselves holding hands at a crossroads.
See, over the last two years, I’ve done many things “wrong” (in some parents’ eyes, at least). I’ve always rocked my son to help him relax and, eventually, sleep; I’ve shared my bed when he’s had difficulty sleeping on his own, both in the crib and now his big-boy bed; and I’ve allowed him nearly free reign of our house, because we could never justify paying for one of those Superyard things to confine him to a single small space.
But my biggest mistake?
That would be these little beauties — the Binkies.
My kid is glued to these things like he would die without them. Seriously, sometimes I wonder if his life depends on them! Getting him to let go of the Binky is going to take a Herculean effort, I just know it. Frankly, I’m a little lost and a lot scared. I don’t know how we’re going to manage without them! Joshua Bear mainly uses them for nap and bedtime, and for stressful situations. I generally don’t let him have it all day, every day anymore like I did when he was an infant. Unfortunately, though, he’s had these pacifiers long enough that they work like a drug now: as soon as he gets a visual on one he freaks out; the second it’s in his hands, he’s excited; and the moment it enters his mouth, it’s like he’s on the fast track to Pleasantville. He has a few stuffed animals that he likes, but as far as he’s concerned, nothing comes close to the power of the Binky.
We’re one month away from two, and it’s time to let it go. I’ve done some research online and found a few ideas to help Joshua break up with the Binky (and please pardon my cynicism in advance):
1. Take it away, cold turkey, and offer a stuffed animal or blankie to replace it as his comfort item. (The last time we did something cold turkey, I nearly tore all my hair out.)
2. Snip off the tip of the silicone nipple so that when he puts it in his mouth, it doesn’t work correctly. He’s supposed to reject the Binky after this happens. (But he has teeth — couldn’t he just chew up what’s left of the nipple, making it a potential choking hazard?)
3. Put it under his pillow and tell him the Binky Fairy is coming to take it away for a child in need. (Is my not-yet-two-year-old seriously supposed to understand all that?)
4. Take Joshua to a toy store and let him pick out a new toy. Speak with the cashier in advance and let them know so that when Joshua walks up to the register to pay in Binkies, they won’t look at us like we’re completely insane. (It’s a cute idea, but I don’t think we can actually take a toy out of the store after paying for it with a used pacifier…and what toy store employee is going to willingly take a just-used Binky from my kid?)
5. When he’s not looking, throw it away. Then when he looks for it, tell him I can’t find it and try looking for it together. When it doesn’t turn up, offer a stuffed animal or blankie and hope he forgets about it. (We’ve tried this one in the past and it clearly didn’t work for us.)
6. Tell him about the Binky Fairy, then take him to Build-a-Bear, make an animal and call it Binky. That night, use the Binky Fairy takeaway idea.
7. Take him to the doctor for his well visit. While there, have the doctor explain to him that she takes pacifiers from big kids to give to babies in need. After giving up the Binky to the doctor, take him to the store to buy a new toy. (He knows he gets shots there, so she’s already the bad guy…so now she’s supposed to go from bad to worse in his eyes? No thanks!)
But even after reading all of these ideas, I still found several articles saying that it’s okay to keep the Binky until after potty training is completed. Joshua Bear is actually showing signs of potty-training readiness, but I don’t want to push it before he’s fully ready, and I don’t believe he will be within a month. Other articles have stated that as long as it’s not impeding his speech and/or oral development (not to make excuses, but I don’t believe that it is), he should be allowed to keep it until he’s ready to let go of it on his own. To be honest, though, I don’t really want my son going to pre-K or kindergarten and still asking for his Binky after school!
One month to two, and I have no idea what to do!