Let me preempt the punchline of this piece by telling you that there are 4 people in this house who are addicted to dummies and only 2 of our 3 children would take one. Can’t work it out? I’ll give you a second. Got it? That’s right – my husband and I have been equally addicted to dummy usage as the two of our children who use(d) them.
This piece is timely because after our youngest having a dummy free period of time, during which I actually dished out advice to other people with children who were giving up dummy usage (I know, I dislike me intensely too) we have had a relapse of monumental proportions. Forget: falling off the wagon, think: doing a run up off the back of the wagon, a triple somersault, an over the top landing and a perfect 10 score included. My two and half year old has found the supply and gone from complete cold turkey to taking hits left, right and centre.
Funny how an inanimate piece (or peace) of plastic can provoke such feelings of guilt. Will she ever give it up? Yes, of course. There’s the old adage that us dummy addicts say to each other to alleviate our parental guilt ‘they’re not going to still have it as a teenager are they?’. Of course they’re bloody not, apart from anything else teenagers can be hideously cruel to each other about things as inconspicuous as the right footwear, they’re hardly want to stand out for still sucking a dummy. Plus they will replace the oral addiction with something much less dangerous, like smoking, or drugs. Good-o.
Dummy usage seems to fall into three categories, those who don’t like them, those who children didn’t take them and those who bloody love them and all they stand for – ‘dummies for president!’ (*insert Trump bants here*). I fall into the latter camp after initially being in the first camp. 7 years ago, after a third consecutive night of sleeping on the very edge of my bed so I could hang over the side and dangle my finger into my babies mouth so that she would sleep, a kindly midwife asked if I’d thought of giving her a dummy. I hadn’t but I was too tired to tell anyone why and wasn’t sure if I knew. I mumbled something about working with speech and language therapists in a former life but I was tired, and I needed my finger back, so we waddled out to get our first dummy from the pharmacy on the corner.
That was seven years ago.
Now, three children and 57483 dummies later I have learnt to love that little instrument of comfort and calm. A little too much. My second child wouldn’t take a dummy at all, despite a somewhat overzealous effort on my part. He is 4 now and still doesn’t sleep through the night and about a year ago, in a sleep deprived haze of mania I did try and pop one into his mouth. I am literally laughing now when I think of the expression on his face and his bemused dummy muffled response ‘what are you doing mum?’. It was matched only by the time my equally sleep deprived husband put a bib on my mother-in-law instead of the baby when we were all sat down at the kitchen table.
So anyway, 57484 dummies later (one went missing during the writing of this post) and I am facing the same awkward stage my first born went through 4 years ago. What to do?
I’m going to be honest with you – this post was going to be a bit of a list of dummy removal techniques but I don’t think the dummy fairy is going to cut it this time. Not for my daughter you understand, but for me. No dummy equals no naptime and even more nighttime get ups (the non dummy using 4 year old is still up in the night) so it basically equals less sleep, not just for her, but for me and quite possibly anyone in the vicinity who is unable to sleep through a small person with an freakishly loud voice shouting ‘DUMMY’. (I mean, I assume she wants the dummy and it’s not just a new nickname she has for me).
So for now, whatever your opinion on that ‘peace’ of plastic both me and my daughter will continue to suck (me at parenting, her on her dummy) until further notice.