Me: Michael, Sophie, where are we going to put your pacies on Sunday?
Sophie: In a tree!
Michael: A park! Way up high!
Me: Yes! And after we put your pacies in the tree, what will you say?
Sophie and Michael: Bye-bye, paci!
Me: And after we put your pacies way up high in the tree, will you have your pacies for naptime?
This part got blank stares for several days, but eventually after some
Michael and Sophie: No, no more paci. Bye-bye, paci!
The tree is one in a local park where many little ones have hung their pacifiers to say a final good-bye. After weighing the many options, that's the way we decided to take this step as well.
Here's how it went.
Then we went home, the kids went down for their naps peacefully, and we never thought about those things again.
Riiiiiiight. Wouldn't that be nice?
If this had gone down without difficult naps and bedtimes, I would have been shocked. But that's why we chose now as the time to do this. Bedtimes have been a little rocky lately, and we figured if we're trying to get over a rough patch anyway, why not add in this complication now instead of upsetting bedtimes later on when we have them smoothed out.
What actually happened when we got home today was I snuck into the kids' room while Mike got them started on lunch, and I put two new sock monkeys in a dresser drawer. That's where we had been storing their two pacifiers since they became "just for bedtime" long, long ago. Going to that drawer before and after every sleep had become a pleasant ritual--Michael and Sophie putting them away in the morning and after nap (sometimes requesting one or two more minutes like you heard Michael do in the video) and getting them out again at the beginning of the bedtime routine. I felt the drawer had to be part of this transition.
|Kohl's Cares Sock Monkeys|
When Sophie and Michael finished lunch I told them there was a surprise in their room, that there were no more pacies in the drawer because they were in the tree, but there was something else. When I opened their bedroom door and they saw the monkeys peeking out at them, Michael giggled and they both grabbed and snuggled the animals right away. I showed them that there were in fact no pacifiers in that drawer anymore (they were cool with that), we did diapers and put on sleep sacks (not giving those up until out of cribs), turned on the sound machine and the Twilight Turtle, put the kids in their cribs, covered them with their blankets...and the fun began.
They cried. And cried, a sad, grieving, lip-quivering cry, eventually calling for their pacies. At one point they both tossed those sock monkeys out of their cribs simultaneously, saying "Eff these, Mama. Go back to that tree and get those damn pacifiers!" They said that with their eyes, anyway.
I felt it was best if I tackled this on my own for consistency's sake, so Mike ran some errands with my blessing. Trying my best to stay strong, I gave Sophie and Michael some kisses, offered to cover them with their blankies, rocked them both a little, left the room, let them cry for a bit, went back, gave kisses. This went on for about 45 minutes.
Hoping I wasn't trading one baby bedtime habit for another, for the first time ever (aside from rare occasions of painful teething or sickness), I rocked Sophie and then Michael until each was totally out. No eyes fluttering open as I stood up. Not just to the "drowsy but awake" state I've always committed to in order to promote self-soothing. I held them, snuggled the crap out of my heart-broken kiddos, and helped them doze all the way to a paci-free dreamland.
That's probably better than just going out to the stash in the kitchen that the kids don't know about and grabbing another pair of pacifiers. Probably. Only time will tell.
But eventually for that nap my little ones were asleep, calm and comfortable. After seeing stress and sadness on their faces for over an hour, that was all that mattered to this mama. That and no longer hearing the sound of plastic-pacifier-hitting-hardwood-floor in the middle of the night, knowing a cry is soon to follow. We're aiming for both, and we'll get there.
Sophie warmed up to her sock monkey this afternoon and wanted to take it with her everywhere--everywhere, that is, except for bed. She knows it's here because her paci is not, and she's made it clear by refusing him crib priveledges that she's not thrilled with the trade. Still, bedtime tonight went better than naptime (hardly any rocking or calling for pacies), but we're still in the thick of it.
Then we're onto potty training.
Ah, the joys of toddlerhood.