The Pacifier War

When I pitched this post idea, I was hoping that by the time it was written, we’d already be over the pacifier problem. Yet, here we are … in the throes of addiction.

My daughter’s pacifier relationship began on the fourth day of her life, when our pediatrician shoved it in her mouth to help settle her down during a routine newborn check-up. My husband and I both shrugged our shoulders, having no idea what we were in for. Since then — about three years ago — my daughter’s pacifier has affectionately been named “Pluggie.” She has a preferred brand and color.

In the beginning, we were fine giving her Pluggie because she was less than a year old, and by medical standards, it was perfectly acceptable. Around 18 months, we were limiting her pacifier usage to bedtime and the car. Another 18 months have passed and so much has happened in our family during the last year (multiple deaths, illness, traveling, buying and selling a house, etc.) — and toiling over the pacifier addiction was tabled indefinitely.

But we are finally in a place where we can effectively take an all-hands-on-deck approach. Some parts of parenting are really easy and come naturally, while others are surprisingly hard. This obstacle has been difficult. Here are a few examples of our more anecdotal failures as of late.

  • Just snip the ends, they said. As it turns out, my daughter doesn’t give a flipping flip what the condition of her Pluggie is, as long as it’s within her reach. #FAIL
  • We’ll “give” it to a baby animal at the zoo. My daughter loves going to the zoo and talking about baby animals. So I thought maybe we could convince her to give it a member of the zoo staff who would then “give” it to one of the newest zoo babies. While this idea wouldn’t involved a lot of coordinating, planning and cooperation, it never came to fruition. “OK! Then when I visit the zoo, I’ll see the baby monkey with my Pluggie. And then he’ll give it back to me.” #FAIL.
  • Peer pressure. (This wasn’t our finest hour.) Our daughter really likes the idea of being a “big girl,” and we often talk about all the things big girls do — and don’t do, including having pacifiers. While the big girl pep talk worked wonders for potty training, it hasn’t done much with the pacifier. “Don’t you want to be a big kid, like so many of your friends?” we would ask her. “Nnnnnnope,” she would say. #FAIL.
  • Build-A-Bear. A trendy idea these days is to take your toddler to Build-A-Bear workshop (or something of that nature). Children can build a teddy bear by picking out its fur color and accessories, and they even can help fill it with stuffings. My idea was that we could place the pacifier inside the stuffed animal for “safe keeping” and then she would always “have” Pluggie — via a stuffed animal. After explaining this magical experience to my daughter, her only response was, “And then we cut the bear open to get Pluggie back?” I can see it now: my daughter standing over the a pile of teddy bear insides as she ravages through the pile of stuffing like a wild animal searching for her pacifier. FAIL.
  • Just get rid of it. The problem here is that if we were to hide, throw away or accidentally lose her pacifier, she’s old enough and smart enough to know pacifiers can be purchased online and at stores. When we’ve threatened to ditch the pacifier in the past, her response is always “Let’s go to Target to buy a new one” or “Just buy one on Amazon.” #FAIL

Clearly, the pacifier war isn’t over. We need to get more creative, have some more backbone and perhaps harbor less denial about the whole situation — as my daughter’s teeth alignment has been affected. If you have any tips, please let me know!

Alex lives in Midtown (born and raised in Westport), having only left Kansas City to attend Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. She lives with her husband; toddler daughter, Olive; and chocolate lab. She and her husband met in sixth grade and started dating in eighth grade. Alex works full time as a marketing director for a wealth management firm and sporadically as a freelance graphic designer. Outside of work, Alex spends most of her time chasing her daughter and volunteering in her community (she's a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters and is involved with Kansas City Women in Technology). Reading, soaking up all the hilarious aspects of living with a toddler, discovering great music, buying fancy pens and working out are among her favorite things to do. Alex is hell-bent on "having it all" -- minus sleep.