Wednesday, 17 July 2013

So long sucka!

It's put down the pacifier day in my house. After 30 months of obsession with his beloved "sucie" (I.e. his entire life) my son will say goodbye and goodnight to his pacifier tonight. 

It's gotten out of hand. He wants to suck on that thing all day and night. It's his comfort, his security and it calms him down whenever he's upset. However, it's also a breeding ground for bacteria and its extensive usage has created ugly patches of eczema on his cheeks and chin (from all that drooling that goes with the pacifier). This past week, he developed impetigo, a skin infection which tends to happen more easily in children who have eczema. After battling with this ugly bacterial infection, I decided that the pacifier's gotta go.

My husband and I have discussed various strategies for getting rid of the paci, including :
- cutting the tip, filling it with pepper and telling our son that bugs are eating it
- cutting off the edge of the tip and telling him "that's just how they make them now" and
- cold turkey, the heartless act of simply removing the offending pacifier from our home

But we just haven't had the heart to take away his sucie. I was a thumb-sucker for more of my childhood than I care to admit, and my husband was a pacifier kid until his sisters (twins) were born when he was three. Family legend has it that my mother-in-law once caught him taking his sisters' pacifiers out of their mouths and giving them a suck, just for a moment, before replacing each one in his baby sisters' mouths. So deep down, we both understand the deep feeling of comfort that comes with self-soothing with a pacifier or thumb. 

So we're going to try the gentler, more humane approach of leaving his pacifiers for the Pacifier Fairy. She belongs to the same union as the Tooth Fairy if you know what I mean. This morning, we wrote a letter to the fairy and told we're ready to give the pacifiers to her so she can bring them to babies who need them. We asked the fairy for a special present in exchange for the pacifiers. Tonight before bed, we will place his pacifiers under the pillow and tomorrow they will be gone. 

What special present did my son ask for? A crocodile or alligator toy. I know, I know... Weird.  But I ran into the Pacifier Fairy this morning at Toys r Us and she was looking for an alligator with the determined will of one of the Swamp People. I have it on good authority she found what she was looking for.

So long sucie and thanks for the memories!

PS - here's a link to a good series of Elmo videos that are helping: 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Discipline Dilemma

When you’re a parent, especially the parent of a young child, every moment is a teaching moment. Which is a real pain in the derriere, if you know what I mean. The fact is that there’s never really a time when you can just let go and ease up on your kid. At least, not for very long.  
A few months ago, I was all about discipline and trying to teach my son about manners and good behaviour. I had created a sticker chart and we were actively teaching him at any chance that we got. If he misbehaved, he was put in time out. If he did something great, he was rewarded with stickers and praise. It worked great. He was behaving nicely, and the discipline appeared to function. As things were going well, we eased up on him.
Like many things in life, the novelty wore off for my son, as it did for us. The stickers were being awarded less and less and the time outs were being met with whining and escape attempts. I began enforcing fewer time outs and my attempts to teach my son came across as nagging, at least to my ears. The nagging was filled with empty threats that I didn’t act upon. I started resorting to yelling at my son.  Let’s face it; it’s hard to always be “on.”   
We’ve also loosened up a bit on scheduling. Bedtimes have gotten later and sometimes much later on weekends. It’s summer, the sun is out longer and it’s harder to get him to sleep as early as we used to. Naptimes are often shorter or taken in the car or his stroller. So the little guy is more tired and crankier.
Bad behaviour has started to creep back into his daily life. He is more vocal now when he wants to do something so he whines loudly or has tantrums. Or else finds a way to do what he wants despite what he is told. We’re getting more reports of misbehaving at daycare. Yesterday he even bit a friend – twice!
So it’s time to get back on top of disciplining and enforcing a regular schedule. Unfortunately, you can’t just say “job done” and move on to the next thing. As parents we must be consistent and as they say, “keep on keeping on.”  
Groan…here we go again.