Why my 4-year old has a paci

At the end of this three-day weekend Scarlett, our firecracker, will turn four. She’ll go to sleep on Monday night, nestled with her four loveys and her pacifier in her mouth, her cupcake blanket pulled up to her chin. On her nightstand, a pile of extra pacis.

The following day, we’ll expel the pacifiers from our house and move on with our lives, and we don’t yet know how long the recovery period will be. (Neither have we chosen a method or myth with which to address this experience. Send them to “another baby”? Let the Binky Fairy turn them into a special toy?)

Now here’s where I defend my (and Katie Holmes’) choice to let a girl so big suck on an artificial nipple.

suri cruise with paci

We took away our first-born’s pacifier on his third birthday. He never napped again.

Every day for months, three-year old Julian was exhausted around 2 pm. By three o’clock, he was out of his mind, rolling on the floor. But he could not fall asleep.  By about 5 pm, he’d turn back into his normal self, if there is such a thing for preschoolers. But it really seemed like he needed that nap, and just couldn’t do it without his trusted pacifier.

So when Scarlett, turned three, still napped faithfully and eagerly every day, we decided we’d give her another year. We felt like the benefits of napping were more important than controlling the pacifier situation.

That coveted object of babies and toddlers is still amazing to me. My friend Julie calls it “a glass of wine” for babies. Both of my children demonstrated clear visible transformations when they closed their lips around that nipple. Instant relaxation and contentment.

Scarlett actually told me last week that her loveys don’t feel soft when her paci is not in her mouth; they feel “scrubby”. Insert the paci and  – voila – rubbalicious security blankets. This information was presented to me in defense when I proposed that next month she would give up her precious binkies, but could keep her soft nighttime companions. It was almost as if she was saying “Don’t bother with the consolation prizes.”

I know we might lose the naps next week, but she doesn’t need it so much anymore, and ditching daytime sleep will likely make bedtime run more smoothly. (Plus Heather’s four- and six-year olds STILL NAP and haven’t had the assistance of pacifiers for years, so I know it’s not always related.)

Wish me luck! How did you wean your child from the pacifier?

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.