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

Random News & Notes: Progress

What the girls are up to:

Bun says new words every day. Her first sentence? “I want that.” Rendered phonetically: “Eyeontdat.” Picture the little pudgy hand reaching out in a grasping motion as well.

Cute — adorable, actually — but probably spells trouble for the future.

DearDR asserts that she hasn’t actually said a sentence because she doesn’t yet understand conjugation: She wants that; you want that. I understand his point, but I’m still calling it her first sentence.

Monkey’s first sentence was a question: “What is that?” Phonetically: “Wot dat?”

Bun doesn’t seem to care, she just wants “dat”. Especially if her sister has it, of course.

Holy cow, I did not realize the “must do everything older sibling is doing” phase would start at 17 months.

And who knew girls wrestled?? I’ll try to post video. As long as I don’t have to intervene to keep someone from suffocating her sister. And that can go either way.

Monkey is dressing herself. She usually does a good job, although she occasionally puts things on backwards. She has not yet insisted on picking out her own clothing. Once in a while, she will insist on wearing her rain boots, but she seems content to leave sartorial decisions to me. For now.

We went to the pediatrician and he proclaimed all ears are clear of fluid and infection. This is a relief, but I wonder how long it will last.

We have an appointment with an ENT doctor at the end of the month.

The chiropractor suggested going dairy free. I am dubious, and my pediatrician was downright nonplussed. I give him credit for not blurting out, “What crazy person told you that??” Because I saw it flit across his face before he became composed and simply said, “I have never heard of dairy affecting ear infections.”

The chiropractic literature is full of the suggestion that dairy allergies lead to ear infections. I have doubts. The pediatric literature doesn’t mention it. So… yeah.

I would like to avoid tubes for the girls as I know they will outgrow this problem. (Thanks for the comments, everyone — online and off.) At the same time, I would like to stop treating them with antibiotics, because I think we may be creating a problem down the line. I have my doubts about going non-dairy because the girls don’t really seem to have a problem with dairy — no lactose intolerance, no runny noses, etc. Plus, they usually get organic dairy, and their exposure to cow’s milk (as a beverage) is minimal. They drink fortified soy or rice “milk”.

Also, quite frankly, going completely dairy-free is next to impossible. I am a label-reader because of the vegetarian thing anyway. I challenge you to find food without some kind of dairy (casein, whey, non-fat milk, you name it). Fresh fruits and veggies are about it. And very expensive organic cookies. But even “Veggie Slices” is loaded with dairy; it just doesn’t contain lactose, which is the most common culprit of gastric distress in those who can’t tolerate dairy.

In short: lots going on, as per usual. We probably will not go dairy-free — I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I feel pretty good that despite the ear infections Bun’s language development is moving right along. No doubt her next sentence will be, “I’m going to scream if I don’t get that.” Oh, wait. She doesn’t really need language per se for that, huh?

At least she is signing “please”.