About a week ago, my youngest son, who is about 19 months old, took a tumble while playing with friends outside.
He is all boy, and tries to do way more than his little body is quite capable of, so we’ve gotten used to him falling. Most of the time, he picks himself up and runs right back to whatever it was he had gotten into, but this time was different. I saw the fall happen and thought, “eh … no big deal,” but when he turned his head around there were BIG tears.
I ran over immediately, and before I could even figure out what was bothering him, I saw blood start to stream from his little mouth. All I could think of was, “Oh no.” Personally, I have a history of freak accidents, and it’s one of my biggest paranoias that a kid will end up falling and knocking all of their teeth out on my watch. Thankfully, the friend we were playing with happens to be a pediatrician. She went into full on mommy-doctor mode and started examining him on the spot.
Of course, all of my most horrible anxieties are running through my mind, “What if his teeth are cracked?” “What if he fractured his jaw?” “What if …?” When she snaps me back into the moment and says, “They (his two front teeth) feel a little wiggly, so I’d recommend he have a soft food diet for one to two weeks so that everything has a chance to tighten back up again.” She assured me this happens all the time, and, as long as we're careful, he will likely be just fine.
Now, you would think I'd feel relieved, but before I could even give myself that chance, another thought pops into my head, “what about his pacifier?” I love my son dearly, but he’s been a bit of a difficult baby, and “paci” has been MY life-line, and I am not ready to give that up yet. My little guy has the capacity of getting himself pretty hot and bothered, but, no matter what, “paci-bear” (his comfort combination of a bear blanket and pacifier) can calm him down.
Oh. My. Gosh. What am I going to do if he can’t have paci-bear?
Well, you guessed it – bye bye paci. In my gut, I knew that it was probably time for us to ditch the pacifier (like six months ago), but, as a mother desperate for some sleep, I told myself, “you’ll get him braces later on … KEEP THE PACI!” Now, all of the sudden, with no warning he has to give up our security blanket, and I’m terrified. My biggest fear is that he’ll never sleep again – ever. I know that seems physically impossible, but, of course, my mind goes there. Either way, I’m a rule follower, and if that’s what Dr. Kat says, then that’s what we’re going to do.
Our first attempt at nap time went just about as horribly as I expected - he screamed, and screamed and screamed. Holding him didn’t work, “bear” didn’t work, patting his back didn’t work – nothing was helping. He was straight up M-A-D that I took his paci away, without consulting him, and with no warning … dude, me too. Since then things have gotten a bit better, but we’re not out of the woods yet.
Thinking back on it, maybe I clung to the pacifier because it worked, maybe I held on to it so I could hang onto his babyhood, and maybe it was both. One thing I know for certain is that babies don't like being forced out of their comfort zone any more than adults, and I have a better appreciation for the term "crying like a baby."
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.