I know I quickly alluded to the fact that the Binkie Fairy made a stop at our house a couple weeks ago and I feel like I should expound on that statement with some background and an update on how it went. In case you haven’t noticed from my many, many photographs, my children love their binkies. We are binkie people. My children are binkie children and they were binkie babies. Jax has been sucking on one since the day he was born. Literally.
Don’t you just love newborn splotchy skin and cone head? So attractive.
Em was a little bit harder to convince. I was terrified of the dreaded nipple confusion so often hammered into the brains of nursing mothers that we live in horror of putting a pacifier in our children’s mouths for fear that we may “confuse” them somehow. That sounds stupid even now, one year later. Why did I even listen to that?
So we didn’t give Em her first binkie until she was 3 weeks old and it went very badly. I bought every brand under the sun and finally had some success with the gigantic Soothie.
It wasn’t until she was about four months old (right when I started weaning her…hmmm…maybe there is a connection) that I got her to use good old fashioned Nuks.
I couldn’t even find a photo of her with a Nuk until December, when she was seven months old, unlike nowadays, when I can’t take a photo of her without it. I will blame it on teething, even though there are no new teeth in sight. Bottom line is girl loves her binkie as much as her brother.
So back to Binkie Fairy. This month there was an influx of Tooth Fairy episodes on our favortie Disney Channel cartoons. Julietta lost a tooth on Handy Manny. Shark lost a tooth on Word World. Thought it might be a good idea to broach the subject of another fairy that takes things away and leaves in their place fantastic presents: the Binkie Fairy. A lesser known fairy, but infinitely more powerful. Because she takes away something that seems to be stuck in my kids’ mouths rather than taking away something that had fallen out.
Jax, 7 months old
When I mentioned the Binkie Fairy to Jax, he was fired up. The important question was would the Binkie Fairy be bringing him a lollipop, too, like Shark? Even better, I told him, since the basketball net we had ordered was waiting for pickup at Walmart. She’ll bring you a BIG present. He was sold and was happy to drop off his binkie in the nearest bucket to await the Binkie Fairy’s arrival.
Jax, 13 months, before his first haircut
We talked about it for a week before D Day, and he seemed completely fine about it. We’d ask him if the BF was coming and he’d reply, Yes, and she’s going to leave me a BIG present. Even the night of the impending binkie-ectomy, he seemed fine. When he woke up the next morning at 5 a.m. to discover his binkie was gone, he couldn’t go back to sleep without it but he was psyched about the basketball net! Binkie momentarily forgotten, toy amnesia in full effect.
Jax, 18 months
And that’s pretty much how it went. He’d ask for the binkie two or three times a day, we’d distract him with his awesome new basketball net and he’d move on. He still went to sleep at the end of the day okay. He was waking up a little earlier because he has no other self-soothing skills, but we figured he’d grow out of that. Overall, binkie extraction was a success!
Jax, 26 months
Except that it wasn’t. That first week was the hardest week I’ve had since Emmy was a newborn. Remember how our cool outdoor treasure hunt turned into a big disaster with the three of us crying on my kitchen floor? That’s how the whole week was. My mom kept calling and asking me, “Are you alright?” I burst into random tears that week for no reason more than once. But in reality, there was a reason, and it wasn’t nostalgia that my little boy was growing up. It was exhaustion. Pure and simple.
Jax, 29 months
Since the day we took his binkie away, Jax stopped napping. I know that that is a normal event that happens during toddlerhood and before this, he was only napping about 50% of our days. But the fact was that without his binkie, he couldn’t nap. Yeah, he falls asleep in the car on occassion without it, but otherwise, the kid is a devout binkie sucker in his sleep. He still needed it. And he was picking up another unattractive habit–sticking his fingers in his mouth which is both dirty and drooly. I would rather have a kid with a binkie in his mouth than his whole hand in there. By the end of the first week, he was exhausted and irritable, which made me oh-so-pleasant to be around, and since I never had any downtime to blog, I was staying up later than usual. Oh, and Em still wasn’t sleeping through the night. Overall, extreme exhaustion running rampant in our household, and both Jax and I were miserable to be around. The question kept running through my mind, Why did we do this again? and I would say to my friends and family, If I had known he would stop napping, I never would have taken it away.
So on day seven, with no nap in sight and another exhausting afternoon on the horizon, I called JDubbs and asked him if it would be okay if I gave him back his binkie. I didn’t need his permission; I just needed someone to tell me it was okay; that I wasn’t a failure. We all needed some quiet and if the binkie was going to be our passport back to naptime, then so be it. JDubbs agreed and I went in to explain to Jax that the Binkie Fairy had come back and said that she knew Jax wasn’t ready to give up his binkie and would he like it back? And you know what the little bugger said?
Do I have to give back my present?
No, you little pain-in-the-you-know-what, but here’s your binkie and there’s your basketball net and for the love of God, please take a nap! And then, within five minutes, he did.
And has every day since.
So, we’ll see how the Tale of the Binkie Fairy ends. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll just quit the binkie one day. Maybe BF will have to return; perhaps I’ll get a 2-for-1 deal and she’ll take Em’s, too. Regardless, Jax wasn’t ready for it, and apparently neither was I. We all need our downtime in the afternoon, be it a nap or just some mindless time in front of the tv. I’ve made a few mistakes as a parent and they usually involve me not trusting my instincts. This one was easy. He wasn’t ready and no one was happy. Now we are all happy again. To me, that’ll be worth the money we’ll spend on orthodontia when he’s a teenager!