Dear Max and Rebecca
My take on dummies has always pretty much been: “It’s great for others, but not for us”. Though, I must say that it was great for me growing up, so much so that I think I only gave mine up when I was around four. I’m not sure how much I used it, but I do remember my parents trying to urge me to quit, which I didn’t pay much attention until I was ready. Much like quitting smoking many years later, it had to be on my terms, and according to my own timing.
Max, before you were born, I stocked up on one dummy, and in the hospital a day or two after your birth, I popped it into your mouth for a few second, you pushed it out, and I thought “He has no need for this – woohoo!”. And you never showed a need/want for it later on either. You self soothed, you hardly had niggly moments aside from that “suicide hour” at around 5pm every day for the first few weeks, when playing Cypress Hill calmed you sufficiently.
I know there’s a strong argument for dummies. And I know how well it works for many parents and infants and kids. My aversion to them lies in my worry that my child will become overly dependent on it, that it gives me another reason to wake up at 2am when the dummy falls out, and how it might be a “silencer” of communication – now and later on.
But sometimes foes become your friends, which I discovered the other afternoon. This is what happened:
Rebecca, you were niggly and irritable, and nothing could ease it – not the milk, not the rocking, not the cot. You had had one or two afternoons like this before, and it similar to Max’s “suicide hour” from back in the day, except for longer. And then you grabbed my thumb and started sucking on it. I realised you weren’t looking for food, but rather comfort, and since there’s only so much comfort Cypress Hill music can offer, I popped a dummy into your mouth.
And you starting sucking it, and you reminded me of Maggie Simpson.
I put you in your cot – settled, content, and sucking ferociously. And about an hour later, you woke from your nap, wanting to feed.
Since then, we’ve been using the dummies for afternoon usage for now, as you don’t seem to need them any other time. I even had to buy more of these…
This has not only been a reminder of how doing things that work is the only way, and that sometimes, it’s necessary to forego on what you thought was right for you, and replace it with something that’s right for your child.
Yours in dummies,
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