I tried to give Moshe a pacifier when he was a little baby. He wasn’t really interested, and the pacifiers we purchased ended up in a drawer with all the other potentially useful yet unused baby paraphernalia.
Fast forward fourteen months (or so), when we borrowed a car seat from a friend. Said car seat had a paci attached to it, and Moshe found this new treat. He liked it so much that he started to sit in the car seat for twenty minutes a stretch, just suck suck sucking. I thought it was adorable, and more so, awfully convenient. At that point I was trying to manage three jobs and some serious fatigue, so twenty minutes at a time was amazingly helpful.
My husband wasn’t so excited about this development, and asked that I remove the paci from the car seat. We put it in the desk. That lasted maybe a couple of days before the combination of yelling baby and tired mommy led to paci in the mouth.
At first it didn’t seem to be an issue. At least, it wasn’t like he had it in his mouth continually or anything. We popped it in when it was needed, and that seemed to work out okay. For a while.
I’m not sure when it turned into a habit, but in the past week or two, my husband and I begin to look upon this pacifier with dismay. Okay, my husband always looked at the paci with dismay, I looked at it with hope. When I realized that my baby was crankier with this thing, that he didn’t just take it when he needed comforting, that he refused a bottle in the morning in lieu of this thing, he sucked on it between bites in the highchair and (less importantly) that I wasn’t getting any pictures of him without his deer-in-headlights-paci-in-mouth pose, I was ready to take action.
One morning, I tried to go without it. He had it when he woke up, and at some point I put it away. Ten minutes of the most pathetic and heart-rending crying ensued. I was on the phone with my mom and our hearts both broke. He got the paci back.
I’m not opposed to pacifiers, in theory. It was just that he had never had a habit, and in a few short weeks had seemed to develop a dependency on them that neither my husband or I were crazy about. What to do?
Well, last Shabbos, my husband brilliantly started the day off pacifier-free. Typically, my husband is the one to get the baby from the crib on Shabbos, and is also the one who plays constantly with the baby. This combination led to a successful distraction from the lack of paci. We made it the whole day.
That was five days ago. Five whole days. No pacifier. Happier baby. More talkative baby.
We even weathered a potential crisis today, when I was watching my friend’s four-month-old, who has a paci which looks just like the one Moshe was using. He got a little upset when he saw it, but I was able to distract him with a combination of sippy cup and book reading and general silliness.
The saga is over, for now.