Monday, September 22, 2008

The tale of two binkies

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Okay, not really but I had to start that way. So, I saw my sister's blog with her little guy and his binky and thought I would share how we got the binkies away from R-guy. It is a sad tale and not our proudest moment as parents. Maybe it can help someone out there...

About 6 months ago, R-guy had just turned 3 so we decided it was time to get rid of the binkies. After age 2 years, binkies are only for the bed and are a powerful parent ally by making bedtime or naptime desirable events. However, after 3 years of age, we (as parents pretending to know what we are
doing) decided that it was time to say goodbye. We choose to use the same plan that had worked well for big J: the goodbye binky party and binky fairy bribe. I was nervous about doing it for Jacob because it is deceptive (but so is Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the tooth fairy) but it seemed to work OK, so we tried it again. The plan goes like this: You tell your child that it is time for the binky fairy to come and get the binkies (you can add that the binky fairy gives them to new babies, if they ask). The binky fairy will come and take the binkies and leave a present, whatever you want - within reason. When the child decides they are ok with that, you pretend to call the binky fairy to schedule the pick-up, let the fairy know the wish list, and set a date. Then, you have a goodbye binky party on the scheduled night: make decorations, order pizza, make cupcakes, invite relatives, and give the child lots of attention. After the party, the 3 year old is supposed to take the binkies, put them in a special box, and put them on the porch for the binky fairy to get them. Then in the morning, presents are waiting to help erase the sadness of the binkies leaving.

Everything was going well at the goodbye binky party until it was time to put the binkies in the box and say goodbye. The R-guy even had two binkies to say goodbye to: one for the mouth and one to rub on his cheek so maybe that made it twice as hard. Whatever it was, he started to freak out, running around the house, hitting me, crying uncontrollably, hiding under things. Some of this is captured on film (see below). We finally calmed him down and got him - on his own - to put the binkies in the box and put it outside. As parents, we were feeling HORRIBLE. I wanted to cry but knew we had to follow through. That night, as we put the R-guy to bed, John said "We love you" and the little guy replied "I love my binkies". It was a sad moment. He was able to go to sleep without them, which surprised me. The next morning the fairy presents (we had to get him 2, one for each binky) helped the sadness a bit but he was sad for many days. Even yesterday, R-guy told John that he still missed his binkies. I keep hoping this memory will fade away and we won't have to hear for years about how we scarred him for life by taking away his binkies.

The pictures below document some of the night. It is still sad for me and R-guy to look at the pictures. I am not sure I would call the plan a success. The binkies are gone, but the pain...

Having fun with aunt and uncle - starting to look a little worried.

Hiding with the binkies

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth (literally), he puts the binkies in the magic box for the fairy to come and get them.


Donna said...

Hilarious! And sad too-- poor Ryan. Great idea though. If I could just get Nate to suck his thumb, we could do this for Sam and say goodbye to the binks forever!

Gabriela Hull said...

So funny and sad! Is he doing better now or is he still talking about his binkies?


In the interest of full disclosure, the Stovall family dentist said it could permanently jack up his teeth if he used the binky much past 3 years old.
I know kids that have used them way past 3 and they don't look like Sid from Ice Age.
A couple days ago he was sad about something else and when I sat with him to talk about it he told me he was sad about his binkies among other things.

Bob & Kristy said...

I messed up James' binkyectomy by taking it away and then, when he got a fever 5 days later, I gave it back just for the illness. Then when I took it away again a week later, he reacted differently than he had for the intial 5 days without a binky; he would look longingly at binkys for the next TWO YEARS. (It was a look like, Oh, my favorite desert ever, that I had completely forgotten about, and THERE IT IS in someone else's mouth!)

Don't feel too bad though- John is right about the teeth, and Wendy (Bob's sister) tells me there can be all kinds of speech issues because of lack of muscle tone from extended use of the binky, and also sippy cups.