It’s time for the dummies to go. Forever. And ever.
Last night I was woken up four times by crying children. Sophie (two and a half years old) was screaming because her brother George (four years old) had stolen her dummy while she slept. I took it from George and gave it back to Sophie which then made him scream. This scenario continued throughout the night and I realised it’s all my doing. I have been way too soft as far as the dummies go and I should have taken them away ages ago. We took them away from George when he was around two and a half but since Sophie has had them, he has become obsessed with them again. He just loves them! I have been a lazy parent and just put off taking them away because I know it won’t be easy.
There is lots of advice out there about the best way to remove the dummy, it can be a bit overwhelming. You can go cold turkey and just take it away without much explanation other than ‘you’re old enough not to have it any more.’ I feel like that’s a bit harsh. Before I had kids, I would have said I would definitely go for that because I’m the parent and I’m in charge. I never imagined, though, that children can become so emotionally attached to the dummy. It becomes a real comfort to them and is something that’s been constant to them for as long as they can remember.
Another technique I heard about is snipping bits off the teat of the dummy so that the child doesn’t like it any more. I did try this with Sophie a while back and she was so distressed that it was different that she just went insane. I could have stuck to it but I’m weak, so I didn’t.
Another idea, which is what we are going for, is the dummy fairy. The dummy fairy comes and takes the dummies and leaves a little gift in return. I’ve been really bigging it up to the kids and trying to get them excited about it. I’ve explained it a few times so they know what’s coming. I also had the idea that we could make a house to put the dummies in so that the fairies can collect them. We spent the afternoon constructing our Lego house for the fairies to come and play in.
They really enjoyed building it and making it nice a cosy for the fairies. It’s nice to make it fun for them and get them involved. They put it by the front door before bed and the final step was to put the dummies inside. It was kind of a sad moment for all of us, which I know sounds weird. I suddenly had this pang of sadness that my babies are growing up and leaving behind things that they won’t ever need again. They were both saying a fond goodbye and having a last suck before placing them carefully inside the house.
George hopped off to bed, excited to see what would be waiting for him in the morning. Little Sophie was crying and crying, she really wanted a dummy so badly. I managed to settle her but she kept periodically shouting out for me. I heard George telling her in such a sweet way that she needed to go to sleep or the dummies fairies wouldn’t be able to come. I love hearing him take care of her. I got them each a little present that I hope they’ll like and I’m excited to see their little faces in the morning.
Fingers crossed we make it through the night and from this day on, my kids are dummy free zones.
I’d love to hear other people’s tips and experiences with saying bye bye to baby’s best friend!