I have written about many difficult things here.
Whenever I had something hard to write, I would wait patiently for the words to come…and they always did.
But this time, for whatever reason, it is more difficult.
It’s embarrassing to me that this is what is hard for me to write about.
I’ve talked about bottle feeding with more confidence than I am about to talk about this.
I’m not so much afraid of being judged for this than I am nervous about being misunderstood. I realize there is a simple solution. But it’s not the solution that is weighing on my heart.
I’ve found words to describe the monsters that lurk in my brain, but I am not sure how to put words to this thing that is on my heart. This thing that should be easy. This thing that should not be…well…a thing.
So I guess I just have to tell it.
Eddie had his first dentist appointment this month. He will be three and a half at Christmas, so we knew it was time.
Cort made the appointment for a weekday morning and took Eddie.
The very first thing the dentist asked was, “Does Eddie suck his thumb?”
She could tell just from looking at how his teeth are coming in that he sucked on something for comfort. His front teeth are a bit forward and his bottom pushed a bit back making an exact spot for…his pacifier.
Cort admitted that while Eddie did not suck his thumb, he did have a pacifier.
Her simple directions: get rid of it.
I know he needs to get rid of it.
Right now he only has it a night at bedtime. Not at all during the day or even at nap. Just bedtime.
But it needs to go.
(see, I am crying. Why am I crying? Why is this so hard for me?)
I know I could just take it away, but something in my heart wants to prepare him.
I know my Eddie. Things are so much more difficult when they are not “his decision”. That may sound like I pander to my child; I don’t care. I want to teach him to use his words and to negotiate and to communicate his feelings and thoughts.
Cort talked to him on the way home from the dentist about it. Eddie heard the dentist say it. He knows.
His only response was that he didn’t want to get rid of “Pipey”.
So I talked to him one night as I put him to bed.
“Hey bud, what did the dentist say today?”
“I don’t yike the denst, mom.”
“Why not, bud?”
“Her said I not have Pipey.”
“I know, bud. I know. Do you know why?”
“Him is bad for my teef.”
“Yup. He is bad for your teeth. You are just getting too big for Pipey.”
And that is where it ended for then. I just didn’t want to press him. He had snuggled himself down next to me and it was clearly starting to bother him. So I just let it go.
Yes, Eddie calls Pipey a “him”. He will call other babies’ and kids’ a pacifier, but his is Pipey. It is an actual person to him.
The next night I brought it up again and told him all about the Pipey Fairy who would come and take his Pipey and bring him something new to love at night.
He wasn’t impressed, but he bought the idea. He asked her to wait a while yet. He told me he wanted “moe time” with his Pipey.
I went upstairs and cried.
Cort and I discussed that with all the work we are doing trying to get him to learn to stay in bed at bedtime (another post I am working on), we weren’t going to make it tougher by taking Pipey. But we would keep the conversation going so he remembered that their time was limited.
Cort talked with Eddie about it one night and Eddie said he couldn’t get rid of Pipey because Lamby would be lonely. They sit together in his bed all day waiting for him. What would Lamby do without Pipey?
So Pipey isn’t just a person, but a friend. Pipey and Lamby go together.
Cort and I talked about it and realized it is always that way:
Yes, you can go get Lamby and Pipey.
Here, we brought Lamby and Pipey for you.
No, we didn’t forget to pack Lamby and Pipey.
People? This thing just gets more complicated.
Eddie sees Pipey as a lovey. Not just a soother.
He sees Pipey as part of a team. Pipey and Lamby.
I realize that the “easy” solution is to take the pacifier, tell him that is that, and be done.
But our hearts won’t let us do that.
So go ahead and judge, but we aren’t taking it away just yet.
Yup, we are making it more complicated than it needs to be, and I think it might be as much for us as for him.
I am probably projecting my own sentimentality and fear of losing the “baby” onto Eddie. I realize that.
But I also know that Eddie and I are very much the same person. We need to face change slowly…to be totally ready for it. And so we wait.
Tonight we talked about it again. Eddie showed me that his Pipey’s holes have gotten bigger. I reminded him that soon Pipey wouldn’t work and he would have to give him to the Pipey Fairy.
“But I yuv my Pipey.”
“I know, bud.”
“But I won’t have him ever again?”
“Nope. Not once you give him up to the Pipey Fairy.”
“Aw. What I do with no Pipey?”
“You will just be a Big Boy. We all had to give up our Pipeys at some point. It’s almost your turn.”
“Ok. But not yet, mom. Not yet.”
No. Not yet, bud. But soon, I’m afraid. Very soon.