To Binky or Not to Binky?

Actually, I know the answer to this question.

I know I should wean Bun from the binky (what I call the pacifier– also known as a paci, nuk, etc.). I know I should.

She only gets it at nap time and bedtime, so actually we are doing pretty good. Oh, and on long car trips.

When she is awake, when/if she sees it, she freaks out when I don’t give it to her. But I don’t. So I’ve been dealing with those tantrums. (Not always well, but dealing.)

Given her history of ear infections, she especially should be weaned, because sucking on a pacifier at this age seems to add to the risk.

I’ve had two doctors tell me to wean her immediately, one who encouraged me to wean her when she was feeling better (one of our sick visits), one doctor (on her 1-year-old well visit) tell me that a binky at bedtime was fine until about 4 years of age, and a chiropractor who told me the binky was just fine because the sucking helped the cranial adjustment (or something like that).

The unvarnished truth is: I don’t want to wean her. I don’t want to deal with the crying and the loss of sleep. I don’t want the fight.

I’m a tired mama.

Here’s the thing about being a mother in your late-30s to young children: It is physically harder, because you don’t just bounce back from stuff the way you did in your 20s. I would contend that it’s emotionally harder, too, because you’re a little more selfish. Up until you had kids in your 30s, it was mostly about you (and depending on when you partnered up, about your partner) and your needs.

My best friend N made the same point on the phone the other day. She has a very active 2-year-old boy (which may be the most redundant phrase I have ever typed on this blog), and she said playing with him is exhausting. She would rather he just play by himself.

I, personally, find playing with very young children boring. How many times can we do that puzzle? How long do I have to blow bubbles? Well, okay, I actually like bubbles because they look adorable while they are chasing them. But I get lightheaded after 10-15 minutes! How much longer are we going to play with that ball popper? Can’t you just play by yourselves while Mommy reads on the couch? See? Selfish!

And we haven’t even started with board games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, which N referred to as “Just Shoot Me” and Ladders.

This “tired” excuse is also why I don’t fight with Monkey about going to sleep in her own bed. I would be up and down those stairs at least five times if I put Monkey in her own bed at bedtime. She would need to go potty, she would try to climb out of her room, she would cry and wake up Bun, she would do pretty much anything to stall bedtime. Whereas, I read her a book and sing her lullabies to her in my bed, and I don’t have to run upstairs once after kissing her goodnight and turning off the light. I can clean my kitchen, fold clothes, and/or read a book until I go to bed. (A little selfish.)

It takes her between 10 and 30 minutes to fall asleep, and when I go to bed, I just move her into her own bed.

If I’m running up and down stairs after my children go to bed, it’s to perform BRT (Binky Replacement Therapy) for Bun. Usually, BRT needs to be done at least once a night. We seldom make it through a night without BRT, although she is usually well-settled by the time I hit the hay. This is what makes me so hesitant to complete binky weaning. I would be up late and/or often with a crying Bun.

Here’s a couple other things I found on the ‘net:

Moxie sez, Wait until the child is 2 or 3. (Full disclosure: Like Moxie, I sucked my thumb for a long time, so clearly I had oral fixation issues as a child, too.)

This site agrees with Moxie: Actually, most of what I read was along these lines. A lot of the strategies they propose are for older toddlers.

And then there is this fun fact: Pacifier use is linked to a 50% increase in ear infections as compared to babies that don’t use pacifiers.

On the plus side, Bun does not have the binky all the time (she did this weekend though — I had to stop the insanity). Obviously, I will have to talk over strategies with DearDR. Part of me thinks we should wean in September, before cold/ear infection season starts again. The other part of me thinks that maybe we can hold off until January, when Bun turns 2.

It has to be done. Now or later? Anyone else dealing with this or know anyone who is?

Countdown to Girlie Weekend: 7 days