Someone wants to call the Pacifier Police on me, but I won’t say who. Mostly, because I am too polite to be so rude. Still, I want to shout, “Let it be, Babe. Let it be!” My 26 month old still has a pacifier. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not hurting anybody. The doctor said it’s fine. The dentist said it’s fine. The pop psychologists all say it is fine. I say it is fine. Her dad says it is fine. Everyone is fine here, especially my daughter.
Should I be freaking out because she hasn’t given up her pacifier yet? Nope. I’ll tell you why. My daughter uses her binky as a tool. It helps her regulate her emotions. It’s something she uses to calm and sooth her soul during anxiety ridden moments or when she is in pain. It’s her stress reliever. I’m not going to pry it from her little hands (or her little mouth) and leave her hanging out there in the big, wide world with nothing to replace it. That would be cruel.
Will she have the pacifier when she is 5? 6? 21? I doubt it. She gave up her bottle at 12 months. I have confidence in her. I see her beginning to transfer some of the security she gets from her binky to her blanket. Eventually she is going to give up her binky and carry that blanket around for a while instead. Then, someday, she will exchange the blanket for something else too. We all do.
Even as adults we use tools to help us regulate our emotionality. We use tools to give us comfort and confidence. We use tools to relieve stress. I take hot baths, dress up fancy (like I’m putting on my armor), and chew gum anytime I have to take a test. I drink hot tea, listen to classical music, practice relaxation techniques, text my friends for support, and eat chocolate. All of these things help me maintain a sense of balance within myself. These are things Tiny-Small will learn to do too. She will learn to regulate her emotions in her own way. I refuse to force her to do things she is not developmentally ready to do simply because a few people want to judge my parenting skills based on Tiny-Smalls pacifired mouth. This isn’t about me or my ego. This is about Tiny-Small being given the chance to grow into herself in a supportive environment. I want her to feel safe, supported and loved. I’m not going to bully my child into growing up any faster than she has to.
We all have strategies we use on a daily basis to help maintain a state of equilibrium inside of us. Tiny-Small does too. She’s a whole person and deserves respect, even from her parents. We respect her right to grow up at her own pace. She’s still little. She still uses her pacifier. It’s not causing any health, speech, or dental problems. So, to all of those back-seat parents out there, back off a bit because we got this! Also, if you are this concerned about something so trivial and that has absolutely nothing to do with you, it might be a good time to really assess what is going on in your own life. What is it that you are avoiding?
*Pacifired is a made up word. You can use it too, but only if you pay me 5 cents every time you write it or say it. – Thank you, Mom Management.