Our babysitter informed me recently that she was taking the binky away from Ittybit during naps.
It was just a fact. There were no do you want me tos ... or what do you thinks, just that her own binky-addicted daughter was also three when she pulled the plug, and when the screaming frenzy began it made her wish she'd never introduced the thing to begin with.
She’s apparently been waiting for me to tell her the time had come to return the offending device to the "binky fairy" or the "binky mommy," or to whatever corner of hell pacifiers originally hail. She's just been waiting for a "partner."
In other words: I've yet again dropped the ball.
My mother-in-law has been asking for more than a year (on and off, and sweetly) whether this was the year the binky was going to be sent to "Santa."
Remember me folks? The one who walks the path of least resistance? The one who looks around at her office mates and decides not to worry about such things? After all, no one here in cubicle land is sucking away on a binky.
But it's true: She doesn't need it anymore. She doesn't have it in the car. She doesn't take it to school. She doesn't even keep it in her mouth the whole night through.
To everyone's surprise, mine especially, the babysitter reported success. Ittybit showed only brief resistance to the news her beloved "oro (that’s Ittybit for orange) binks" had returned to its mommy. She slept with her tiny lamb pressed against her cheek for the requisite two hours.
And then it was suggested that it was now time for the binky to leave our house, too. (The message was delivered it what I refer to as the "Now-I'm-Not-Telling-You-What-To-Do' speech, which we all know means But-You'd-Be-Foolish-Not-To-Adopt-My-Way-Of-Thinking.) So I decided I'd try it.
That night at bedtime I dropped the bomb. I told her it was time to send the binky back home. Her special binky was needed elsewhere, perhaps on a special assignment, now that she was a big girl.
Instantly, there were tears and sobs of desperation.
"But I'm NOT a big girl, mommy. I'm still a little girl," she wailed.
"Well I think you are a big girl, but how about if we hang on to 'purple binks' until after Santa comes? Then he can take it home."
She agreed, but I'm sure it was the kind of hollow agreement that means she's appeasing the one who can be manipulated. She's biding her time, hoping I'll forget the whole mission.
Really, though, I don't know how to react. I don't know how to feel.
A part of me is angry. Part of me is feeling guilty about being a wimp. But a part of me is tired, too.
I am not a stay-at-home mom. I am reliant on a whole host of other people to help me get from morning to night, and yet my husband and I are ultimately the ones who are raising our daughter.
When I reach down into the core of my beliefs, I always come up with the same thing: I don't think a pacifier is the worst thing in the world for a child, and I don't particularly mind if it helps her get to sleep.
I am reminded about my husband’s need for "white noise," and how I've had to adapt my own sleep habits to compensate for the whirring of the small army of humidifiers and fans that he needs to get some shut-eye.
We all need something right?
I had a sinking feeling that maybe I should have asked Santa to bring me earplugs this year.
Yet the strangest thing happened. Christmas Eve, the last night with the binky came and went, and early in the morning I tiptoed into her room and snatched the pacifier from her parted lips.
When she awoke an hour later she didn't even miss it. That night she cried for a while, but she quickly went to sleep without the plastic plug. Perhaps she was just plumb tuckered from playing with all the loot Santa brought her.
In the week since Christmas, she's alluded to "wanting something in her mouth"” when she's all snuggled in bed, but there are no tears when I tell her it's gone.
Then I got to thinking: maybe I was the one who really needed that binky all along.