I Sold My Soul To The Pacifier

And in the beginning, it felt good.

That slick, smooth-talking pacifier, he calmed my baby in a way I couldn’t. He made her quit screaming as we sped down the highway. He helped her sleep. He helped her STAY asleep.

But I’m very aware of the power he has over me. How he flaunts that evil often. How he proves I am powerless without him.

That bastard pacifier, I frantically search for it every night, sometimes 4 times a night, every time she wakes and can’t find it. She will NOT sleep without it.

I’m on my hands and knees at 2, 4, 6 in the morning, willing that fucker to SHOW ITSELF. Whisper yelling, “WHERE… where, where, where, where!!! Where the hell are you? Where do you all go?!”

Oh, I have duplicates and triplicates, we have many. They inexplicably get lost. Get thrown. Thrown at the rear window of the car while we’re stuck in traffic, thrown out of the crib, thrown out of the stroller, thrown out of the cart at Target. We’ve invested a small fortune in not only pacifiers, but also devices to prevent the throwing and getting lost. They are lies. All of them. They are powerless to the pacifier, too. If he wants to disappear, he will. 

And he will do it at THE most inopportune times.

Times when I would do anything to just put a plug in my kid’s mouth so that she will calm and realize, oh yes, she is ACTUALLY tired, and perhaps her efforts would be better spent drifting off to sleep than screaming until she’s red in the face.

It’s part of his trick. He waits until I’m on my last thread of sanity before he magically appears in a place I swear I have looked in 10 times already. And I am SO happy to see him.

And I tell myself, not now… we can’t give up the pacifier now… not yet.

So he wins another round.

I’m still not sure, though, that the trade off, my soul for the pacifier, was a bad one. I try to weigh the minutes of my life that I am Desperately Seeking Pacifiers (a fabulous title for a movie about me, if there was ever to be one) against the minutes of my life made calmer and quieter thanks to the pacifier. I remember the shrieking I had to live with from my first, who opposed pacifiers in his mouth as much as one would razor blades. I am mostly grateful for the pacifier’s ability to, you know, pacify this child.

Oh sure, people have opinions about them… strong ones. I’m sure many of you cringe to know I ever gave her one (especially at *gasp* 4 days old), but be sure my internal conflict over the pacifier has nothing to do with artificial nipples and everything to do with the power this thing has over me… and how hard it’s going to be to get my soul back.

Leyna is nearly 16 months old, and I was only able to sit down and blog this because we found a pacifier and she nodded off to sleep for a nap.

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  1. Wow, this is probably the best blog post I’ve read in a long time. It describes our relationship with the “paci” perfectly. Before having kids I swore that my own would never use one once they could walk and talk. My son is now 2 & 1/2 and they still have a hold on us. We are slowly weaning him off of it rather than go cold turkey (first taking it away in public, then when he was just playing in the house, then in the car, etc). Now he only uses it at night when he’s in his bed. But oh how I am dreading the sleepless nights that are in our near future.

  2. this is SO Piper. Kennedy never took a paci, and I wish she would have…I was her pacifier. Luckily, Piper seems to also like her thumb, so I’m hoping the pacifier’s power is somewhat diminished.

  3. My, going-to-be-3-in-3-months, child is still using one to sleep. And in fact, she has to have one in her hand and in her mouth in order to go to sleep. And the real bitch of it all, she stuffs them down the vent in her room (well she takes the grate thing off and drops them down there) if she wakes up and has time to do her work before I go get her. There are probably a dozen or so down there. Mocking me, just beyond my reach. Probably 40 dollars or more worth of paci’s. Bastards.

  4. We were a paci family. But Braden turned 2 and away went the paci. Luckily though, once he could find his paci, I’d just stick 3 or 4 in his crib and he was good to go. I feel your pain though, I do!

  5. Oh gosh, how spot-on is this post?! I think at one point there were 5 pacis in our daughter’s crib (one in the mouth, 4 spread around her… that way if she woke up, she could feel around and grab another). Sigh. Kicking the paci habit was the hardest thing for her. Granted, that may be because she was 2.5 yrs old when we did it, but still… we are thankful for pacis in this house!

  6. OH this is soooo me! I just (2 nights ago) got (tricked) my 2.5 year old into giving his up (I had a blog post in draft on that) but not my 14 month old. That sucker just learned to sleep through the night. No way I’m messing with that!

  7. 1. Glow-in-the-dark binkies are a gift from God. Buy 20.
    2. Get rid of that beast soon, before she is old enough to remember it!

    It took 4 (yes 4!) years to break my middle child of the habit, and he now has a lovely open-bite that may or may not have to be fixed with braces. =/

  8. Yup…we love the pacifier here too. Paci clips are our friend. I found the best ones ever on Etsy–they are actually cute.

  9. my 2nd won’t take one, although a few times I’ve shoved it at her while she was screaming on the changing table (I need to put some toys nearby instead)… and she put it in her mouth for a few seconds… the downside to it is that since she won’t take one, I am her pacifier when her mouth hurts while teething at night (spits out tylenol, won’t take a cold ring at night), so she’s up 3-4 x per night nursing.

    my first quit at 18 months, we told her if she chewed it, it would be broken and there would be NO MORE! She said uh oh a few nap and night times and that was it. We didn’t go buy more at that point. It was done and that was fine. I feel your pain, I think I should probably throw away the ones we have (which have basically not been used at all) just so there’s no temptation.

  10. This is a terrible post for a pregnant mother with hardly any bladder control left! My husband and I could hardly contain ourselves while reading this after yet another night of midnight pacifier searches for our 13 month old. She refuses to accept anything less than a specific type, which of course isn’t even sold in stores anymore!

  11. I am just starting to confront the specter of paci-weaning for my youngest. Her brother was broken of the habit shortly after he turned one and it doesn’t seem right (fair?) that I should let her keep hers past her first birthday. But. she. won’t. sleep. I don’t want to poke the non-sleeping bear. With paci= maybe five hours of sleep for me. No paci= no sleep for anyone within earshot.

    She used to suck her fingers too but she seems to have forgotten that. I wish she had kept at it. At least her fingers can’t fall behind the crib.

  12. Posts like this make me SO happy that both my children stopped taking the pacifier at about 4 months. At the time I wished, hoped, nay, PRAYED that they would like the pacifier. No dice. Sure, I’m glad now that they quit them early, but man, when I was in the trenches, nothing would have made me happier than for my kids to actually be CONSOLED by a pacifier. I still keep one around just in case my 7-month old changes his mind…….

  13. My K is 2.5 and shows no signs of giving it up. I had her down to naps and night time only and then the somehow, some way, she now wants it all the freakin’ time. Even when she is TALKING to me. We need an intervention up in here. STAT.

  14. Vicki looooves her binky. We have cut back to only naptime/bedtime, but if she wakes up and it’s not there, she pathetically cries, “Dinky? Dinky?” until it’s happily replaced back in her mouth.

    I’m not even going to attempt getting rid of it until VonBoy is here for a little while because I’m afraid she’ll just steal his from him.

  15. We’re down to 3 paci’s total in our house for our 21-month-old daughter and we do the same in the middle of the night when she can’t find one. We’ve tried to ditch it once with no luck and will try again when she’s around 2. I’m on the fence about buying a new package…are we enablers? haha. We love our sleep and the sad thing is she might be ready to potty train before she’s ready to give up her bink.

  16. My youngest at first wanted nothing to do with them.. and I don’t regret it – but I nearly forced it on her, trying over and over until she would take it. Now, at 2.5 we are trying to wean them away – now they are just an “upstairs” thing. Since her older brother at 4.5 still sucks his thumb so hard that he cannot enunciate several sounds, I am weary that when exhausted the little one sucks her fingers when there is no bink to be found. You can’t cut off fingers and give them to the bink fairy!

    Still no regrets. As my husband says about my DS “He won’t get a prom date sucking his thumb”, she neighter will get a prom date with a bink hanging out of her mouth.

  17. Sad but true! We dubbed it “crack nukie” because of how badly he seemed to need it once he got used to it. Like a junkie needing a fix, my little guy is 9 mos old and still has his “crack nukie” every night and nap time. My husband recently asked me about trying to wean him from it, I told him if HE wants to put the baby to bed at night with out it that is fine with me… no more mention of getting rid of “crack nukie” since.

  18. Our son was a pacifier baby–and it saved my sanity–until it stole it. LOL. Now, my daugher, she’s a thumb sucker. And I love that. It doesn’t get lost, or dirty (well, it does get dirty, but she keeps it cleaned off pretty good.) With number 3 on the way, I can’t decide which is worse. The thumb is going to be harder to “wean from”. But I don’t miss the daily frantic paci search at all.

  19. B gave his up 2x. The first time was because when he was 14 months old, he put it in the toaster and then the next day when I toasted a single piece of bread, I nearly set the kitchen on fire. That transition went fairly well. I said that they got ruined in the toaster, and he was fine. Fast forward 2 paci-free weeks and my MIL was visiting, found one we had missed and gave it back. I could have killed her.

    At that point, we went to sleeping only. Then around 17 months we tried again. This time I bribed. I told him he could pick a special cereal and every night he slept without it, he could have that for breakfast. 2 weeks of Golden Grahams and Fruit Loops later, they were gone for good.

  20. Our first one wasn’t a paci fan – so she ditched it when she ditched the bottle at about 11 mo. But the other 2 – they probably would try to take them to kindergarten! So for both when we lost the bottle around 11mo, we confined the paci to the crib. We have a basket on the changing table (with 6 in it to prevent midnight searches!) and they don’t leave the room after nap or in the morning wihtout dropping it in. My daughter liked to spit hers in – my son throws it like a ball 🙂

  21. Neither of my children ever took a pacifier. Weird, right? So I can’t relate. But I feel for you. That has to be frustrating especially in the wee hours of the morning!

  22. Neither of mt kids took a paci but I always wished they would. This has me laughing and maybe a little grateful they wouldn’t. Great post!

  23. I swear, Leyna & Alea are JUSTR ALIKE! She is crazy addicted to the pacifier & can’t live without it. We def have an upstairs one, a downstairs one, car one, travel bag one, etc. You name it! I went to the store & bought like 50 of em, luckily the girl is cheap and likes the ghetto ones from the corner store, LOL! She’s weird, but good, like that. The even crazier thing is she chews the hell outta them so they get all flat and deformed after a couple months, which prompts changing. Sigh…

    She’s often seen walking around, pacifier poised on the side of her mouth like a lollipop, going abour her business. LOL!

  24. Yes! I can totally relate!

    I, myself, am a former “popper” addict. I actually used them until I was 5! I can actually remember the day my parents said, “NO MORE” and I tore my room up looking for just one more!! And I have vivid memories of my dad dragging all three of us up to the grocery store to buy more poppers for my youngest brother after fruitless searches at home. He’s now 23 and my parents still live in the same house and STILL find poppers in random places every once in a while!!

    My own children unfortunately take after their mother in this department. Karma, baby.

  25. So true. We started at 3 days old (the horror! but no ill effects or nipple confusion here), and my son still uses it for night and naps – he just turned 2 last month. Some day, I need to wean. I know this, and yet I can’t will myself to do it.

  26. We took the pass from my oldest daughter at 14 months (she was already only using it at night). She screamed for three nights straight but then it was over. Our second daughter simply said Eh, OK and chucked it when we asked her to around 11 months.

    Then there’s the boy. Z is 2 1/2. He’s not addicted to the pass; he’s using mommy’s laziness at getting rid of the pass to his advantage. At daycare during naptime he doesn’t have it; they aren’t allowed. At home we’d gotten him to stop using them at naptime on weekends but he reverted for some reason and I just didn’t see the big deal in it. He uses it at home for naps and bedtime. He clearly associates it with home only (when he stays over at my sister-in-law’s he doesn’t ask for it). There is only one left. That one will disappear this summer and we’ll simply have to deal with the result. I think.

    Your soul will find you again, believe me. (Whispering:

  27. oh, i heard someone say that dipping it in mustard mabe baby think it was gross and never want one again. I’ve also heard that if baby throws up with a binky in their mouth they’ll relate binky to throwing up and not want it again. I haven’t tried the mustard but when Annabelle threw up with it in her mouth I thought it was my lucky day to kiss binky goodbye. i’m just not that lucky.

  28. OMG this is so our life to a T! lol We have finally gotten our almost 3 year old to at least accept multiple types of pacifiers (he calls them bye bye’s) so the insanity is a small notch less whne I’m shopping to replace the lost ones lest we end up in hell one night without one. Been there, done that, don’t know how we survived. Every time we think it’s time to get rid of it, some new big life event is looming on the horizon and we say “no, no we can’t take it from him now, he needs it while he goes through this.” You know, oh so traumatizing stuff like a new brother, new house… Crap once we move I’ll be out of excuses to put it off!! lol But I’m still glad he has it. I think. No I am. Maybe?

    My 7 month old will not take a pacifier AT ALL. They are good for nothing but the occasional chew. So often I wish he would take it. “please? pretty please baby? take it and shut the Fffff….. I mean, please be quiet, go to sleep, please let go of my boob and just sleep? Before mommy goes insane?”

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