I have found few childhood items that conjure such an an emotional reaction.
If you are for their use, you might think that it is the only sure way to soothe a child. If you are against, then there is the possibility that you think paci babies will never tell a real nipple from a synthetic one.
With four children I have had two children who were staunchly for and two who were staunchly against — and a mom and dad who vote for peace at whatever the cost.
I never have had a strong opinion on whether or not to give the kids a paci; however, breaking the two paci lovers of its use created its own special headache.
Not long ago it became time to ween my youngest son off of his latex mute switch. We were ready, his siblings were ready… he was most definitely not ready.
Kicking and screaming would be an understatement of his resolve to keep the pacifier. We rationalized with him, we hid it, we poked holes in it, we did everything. But he still wanted it.
The thing was like crack. It controlled his thoughts. He was cranky without it. He even tried to become a pusher for his baby sister. Of course, he wanted a quick hit off of it first, but he was OK with her following his lead. I can only assume that he thought if the baby had one too then he might get a reprieve for a little while longer. He was hiding in the entry way holding it in her mouth coaxing her to suck on it.
By taking away his paci, we had reduced him to drug dealer behavior. If he could form full sentences I’m sure the discussion between the two would have been something like this:
“Come on, try it. You know you want to.”
“But mom and dad said pacies are bad.”
“All the cool babies do it. Come on. Just give it a go.”
Despite the tears and resistance, as well as the pusher-like behavior, we finally broke him of his paci habit.
And, for the most part, I don’t regret letting him have it.
There are days when the high-pitched tone of his tantrum wail makes me sorry we ever took it away, but that’s another story.
Chris Donnelly is a working dad with four children.
You can read him every Thursday on momaha.com
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