So long time readers of my blog would know that Fighter is really addicted to his pacifier.
This was the first ever time he accepted a pacifier and it was sweet relief for my nips wtf.
An excerpt from my blog then:
I buckled and got Fighter a pacifier. I didn’t want to have to wean him off it, but then I noticed he was nuzzling at my breast and trying to feed every hour! We thought it was a growth spurt but he’d overdrink and puke. -___- And he also started stuffing his hands into his mouth and sucking his fingers so we figured he only wanted comfort and got him a pacifier. #becausemynippleisnotapacifier
Given a choice between his fingers and a pacifier, I chose the pacifier as the lesser evil — mostly because I thought it would be easier to wean him off a pacifier then his fingers.
How? Can hide the pacifier but cannot chop off his fingers ma wtf.
We try to keep it to sleeping and car rides (because he used to be so cranky on car rides that I ended up giving him the chu chu then to shut him up :X) but if he sees it on the table or anything he’d demand for it. And he has trouble giving it up unless he’s really distracted. So when it’s not in use, I keep it out of his sight.
At the same time, the pacifier has been so good to me. When he’s in a tantrum and can’t stop himself, only the chu chu can calm him down. When he wakes up in the middle of the night, all I have to do is pop back in the pacifier and he immediately goes back to sleep.
But Fighter will be three this August (ZOMG TIME FLIES OR WHAT) and he’s still a chu chu addict. I’ve been contemplating weaning him off the pacifier.
I had no idea how to go about it, and I still don’t. But recently, I noticed a change.
Occasionally, Fighter would pluck the pacifier out of his mouth by himself, hand it to me and say, “Mommy please keep my chu chu.”
Or “Jude has no chu chu. Chu Chu is shame shame.”
I am pleasantly surprised! Nothing has changed at home so I assume it’s something he picked up in school. None of his classmates take a pacifier (although there are a few thumb suckers) so maybe he’s feeling the pressure lolol.
We’ve also been telling him he’s a big boy while Penny is still a baby in an effort to cultivate pride and responsibility lol. So maybe he’s coming to terms with his new identity as ‘big boy’ and getting rid of the chu chu goes with the territory.
So I decided to just go along with it; I felt he would continue to grow up and would need the pacifier as a comfort less and less especially when he’s off at school and doing big boy things. I wouldn’t pressure or set a deadline to remove the pacifier.
But something happened today.
(I’d recently cracked my leg so I uh am currently taking a break from driving). Normally I drive the kids around but I’ve had to ask our driver Uncle S to drive Fighter and me this week.
Now both my kids like Uncle S and are always waving at him or asking him to carry.
As usual after school, like a pacifier addict, Fighter came out of class and rummaged in his bag for his pacifier to suck hahaha. So when we got into the car he was already sucking it contentedly.
Uncle S glanced in the rearview mirror. “Fighter, are you a big boy or a baby?” he asked.
Fighter replied, “Big boy!”
“Then why are you taking the chu chu? Only babies eat chu chu. I thought you said you are a big boy?” said Uncle S.
I idly waited for Fighter to answer but noticed there was no reply from him. I looked over at him in his car seat and was taken aback to see this.
Fighter with his lips pressed tightly together, looking downcast. His pacifier was not in his mouth, but dangling from his fingertips.
I said, “What’s wrong Fighter? Take your chu chu la.” And I tried to pluck the chu chu from his hand, thinking he couldn’t find it.
Fighter just shook his head sharply and continued looking down. His lip shook and he was blinking hard.
Oh my god. My two year old has been shamed. Maybe even humiliated.
I gently pried the pacifier from his chubby hand. Popping it into his mouth, I stroked his head and told him, “It’s okay darling. You can take your chu chu. You’re a big boy who likes his chu chu.”
He accepted the pacifier gratefully. The chu chu bobbed up and down as he sucked on it.
But he remained quiet for the rest of the car journey. Uncle S tried to engage him in conversation and Fighter would look up with big wary eyes but he stayed silent. He only cheered up when we got home.
I don’t know if it was the right thing to do — to tell him he’s a big boy and that it’s alright for big kids to take pacifiers. For all I know, it may have pushed his progress back ten steps.
And I don’t blame Uncle S for it. He’s an older gentleman and the older generations wielded shame as a parenting tool — “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” “See your cousin got 7As why you 7Ds?” “Big boys don’t cry!” “You’re acting like a spoiled child!”. As a nerve-frayed parent today, it’s easy to slip into nasty language like this too.
But I refuse to shame or to let my children be shamed.
Shame operates by giving children a negative image of themselves, rather than about the impact of their behavior.
Fighter’s crestfallen face is difficult to forget. There must be more positive ways of teaching which will not make kids feel like shit. There must be a better way and I will find it.