Sometimes when it’s quiet and I feel a bit of boredom I grab my phone and browse through my most recent pictures. I do this for many reasons, mainly to absorb these moments but also to remind me of my blessings- my beautiful family.
The other day I stumbled upon a picture I posted on Instagram a few months back, of my daughter playing peekaboo with her pacifier on her face. I decided to repost it and got carried away writing a caption that turned into the story behind her bond with that pacifier.
This isn’t your average pacifier addiction story, it’s much more than a child’s bad habit and a concerned mother trying to stop this habit, it’s a story of love, comfort, and friendship.
This is my daughter. She developed a huge bond to her WubbaNub, a pacifier with a stuffed animal attached, in this case an elephant. She would fall asleep with it in her mouth while rubbing each ear with her fingers. It helped her through some tough times and she was able to self soothe.
It was all very sweet and adorable until she became so attached that she had to have it all the time around the house and wouldn’t talk much because it was in her mouth. At 2 years old I wanted to wean her from the pacifier but I didn’t want to take away her elephant, it was her best friend after all.
So I took a big risk. I gently cut off the thread that joined the stuffed animal to the pacifier and sewed it’s trunk back together. She was pissed! While asleep, she would find it and pull it close only to be reminded it no longer had a pacifier. It broke my heart to be cruel to her. I even kept the pacifier just in case but I kept my head held high. Within a few days she had fully accepted it was just a stuffed elephant, she detached slightly because she was frustrated by it, but she came to her senses.
Months later and they’re best friends again. She takes it everywhere around the house with her, she even loses it around the house on a regular basis because she gets distracted.
This wasn’t the way this product was intended but this “paci” has grown with her since she’s been just a newborn, heck it was her brothers before that for a short while. And now, as a toddler, it is her best companion. It will continue to grow with her. And one day when she’s grown up, she’ll reminisce on the days of her best stuffed pal and tell stories to her family about the bond of a silly little elephant that went everywhere she went.
…that is if she doesn’t keep losing it.
I discovered this amazing product, the Wubbanub back when my son was born. I realized how much easier it was for him to keep the pacifier in his mouth when it was attached to the stuffed animal, though I couldn’t entirely explain why.
And I had my husband buy two more so we could have them spread out between the bassinet, the changing table, and downstairs so we wouldn’t have to go running to help soothe our colicky baby.
Our son loved the pacifier for a short while and grew out of it so I saved them for our second child.
When our daughter was born, I had the pacifiers cleaned and ready for her and spread across our house. Her attachment wasn’t immediate. She liked pacifiers but didn’t always want them.
It wasn’t until we were crib training her, at around eight months old, that she started to develop a bond with her pacifier. We had all three in her crib so that she could self soothe every time she woke up but we started to realize she had a preference.
At about a year and a half the bond grew even stronger. She went from only having the paci when needed to walking around the house with that elephant hanging down her mouth 24/7.
Her communication without it was decent but with it was lazy. She realized she couldn’t talk and hold it in her mouth simultaneously so she simply decided to stick to her baby abilities of pointing and making noises rather than attempting to verbalize.
That pacifier was starting to cause a few long-term issues for her that I was not willing to continue much longer.
I realized that if she was old enough to say “where’d the paci go?” (one of her iconic phrases of the time) then maybe she shouldn’t be needing a paci anymore.
It was so worn out that the rubber pacifier was starting to rip off the stuffed animal, which was my perfect excuse to finish the job so I separated them.
I had used the cold turkey method on her but I let her keep her favorite part, which miraculously wasn’t the actual pacifier, but the elephant attached to it.
Sure, she wasn’t happy about it. She barely slept for a few days because she was so upset by it and angry with me. But I showed her that she could just hold her elephant instead and it would still bring her comfort.
Now that she’s almost two and half and over the pacifier, that little elephant goes everywhere with her (but only in the house- mommy’s rule).
She takes it with her when she follows me to the closet, she brings it with her at mealtime, she makes it drive little toy cars and go down the slide, she even puts it in her backpack when she pretends she’s going to school.
It also gets forgotten and hidden all around the house. I often find it in my closet, at the dining table, mixed with all the other toys, or still hidden in the backpack or anywhere else she forgot she was playing hide and seek.
Every night, as a family, we sit on the living room together and watch TV before bed. And every night Paci, the name that stuck, joins us.
The picture that inspired me to write this story was from one of these nights. My little girl was hiding behind Paci as if no one could see past such a tiny stuffed animal. “Where’d the Paci go?” she would say, and I would reply “Where’d the Luna go?”
That innocent joy of childhood- that right there is what makes all of this worth it.
Subscribe to my newsletters
My name is Paula and I’m a mom of two scrumptious cuties. Thanks Mommy Blog became a project for me to help guide other new moms and current moms through any of my own personal experiences and struggles. My hobbies include singing, doing jigsaw puzzles, baking, designing and trying to stay creative.