Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

We had a very nice weekend indeed! My mother-in-law made Little C's Halloween costume this year so we wanted to parade him around to all of this grandparents so they could catch a glimpse.

He is a tiger and a pretty darn cute tiger if you ask me! The only problem??? He wants nothing to do with being a tiger. At first when the outfit is put on him he tries his best to get it off, then when you try to put the hood on with the ears he screams and shakes his head. Luckily, he soon forgets about the outfit itself and at least keeps that on. We are also able to draw his nose and whiskers on so all in all he is a pieced together tiger.

We've decided that last year was a snap because he was about 7 months old and we could have dressed him in a potato sack and he wouldn't have cared. Last year he was a lion and wore the same exact costume that I wore as a baby.

This year he is still too young to understand what Halloween is all about but old enough to know he doesn't want to wear a silly costume. I'm bummed because his Nana did such a good job making it and it was an homage to a similar costume that Hubs wore when he was C's age. Oh well. We'll get 'em next year!

Costume came off, no tiger ears in sight!

Saturday was pumpkin carving day and Little C did enjoy that! He basically banged on the pumpkin with the carving tools and would help Dad out when he could.

"Watcha doin' dad?"

My men hard at work

"Here dad, lemme help you!"

After carving I made a fun treat for my hard working fellas...

White chocolate covered frozen "boo-nanas"

This is what I was aiming for...

Ha! Close, but not quite. (click here to get the recipe)

At least Little C didn't mind his mama's failed attempt at being the next Martha Stewart

The highlight of the weekend was definitely having C spend time with all of his grandparents. He lights up when they are around and it is great to see how he has unique relationships with each of them. My parents stopped by on Friday night, His Nana came over on Sunday morning and we stopped by his final set of grandparents affectionately called, Scotty and Mimi, on Sunday afternoon.

How lucky is our son to be surrounded by so much love?!? It warms my heart and makes me feel very blessed.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Did you do any Halloween activities or dress up yourselves? What is your little one(s) dressing up as?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crying it out... not for the faint of heart.

I've mentioned in a number of my posts that Hubby and I decide to let Little C "cry it out" from time to time. I thought I'd share a little bit of insight into why we do this and when it works.

First of all I'd like to say I'm only sharing how we do it in the off-hand chance that out of the tens of you that read this blog there will be someone that finds it helpful. I'm not sharing this to declare that our way is best or that we have it all figured out. It's quite the opposite. I know there are many different ways of parenting and what works for some may not work for others. I just know that I find comfort in hearing how other parents handle certain situations and even if it isn't a good fit for my family, it’s nice to know there are options out there.

So, why let him cry it out?  The answer to that question depends on the reason he has been put in the situation to begin with. The two most common reasons are 1) to teach him a lesson from his behavior 2) to get him to self-soothe.

Let's examine the first reason of teaching him a lesson... Tantrums are no fun but they are a necessary part of a toddler’s development. We are fully aware that there are times when our little man just can't process his emotions and the only thing he can do to get them out is to throw a tantrum. In this case we are not going to shove him in his crib and make him wail in solitude. We will attempt to comfort him and distract, distract, distract.

However, let's say our precious little toddler has demanded that he plays with our keys. It is not a good time for him to play with our keys so we start by saying, "not right now." The demanding request continues and we have to start getting sterner with an emphatic, "no." We now have a full on temper tantrum complete with dramatic body throwing to the floor, kicking and screaming, the occasional head-butt into the carpet, etc. He is not getting his way and he is throwing a fit because of it. At first we may try to calm him down with distraction and if it doesn't work and it is clear there will be no calming down any time soon... we let him cry it out. We make sure he is in a safe place and if need be we move him into his crib and shut the door.

Toddlers want attention and if they are behaving poorly and you are trying to convince them not to, it is still attention and they are getting what they want. And by always giving your child what they want, what does this teach them? So by leaving him to cry and get his emotions out he isn't getting the attention, he is learning that his behavior made the attention go away. Of course we are not naive to the fact that he probably doesn't think that way and won't be able to rationalize what we are doing until he is a bit older but we feel that putting the wheels in motion now is helpful. (I also realize the example of asking for keys is pretty mild and not that big of a deal but it was the best example I could come up with, it's early... give a gal a break)

Now for the second reason to cry it out, self-soothing. This is a biggie for us. Two working parents that need their sleep cannot be rushing into their son's room with every little whimper all throughout the night. If Little C wakes up in the middle of the night he needs to be able to soothe himself back to sleep. When we were breaking him of the pacifier this was the hardest form of "crying it out" we've dealt with by far. It felt cruel because we knew he was confused. But you know what? It worked and the hard crying only lasted a brief while before he was sound asleep.

Now let's also clear up another point. If our son wakes up in the middle of the night with a cry that signals, "something is wrong" (a stomach ache, a fever, or discomfort of any kind) it is clear that it is not a moment for letting him cry it out. We are not idiots and we are not stone cold individuals that rule with an iron fist. We are very in tune with Little C and his different cries and we know when crying it out is appropriate.

· The intense guttural cry = something is wrong, go to his side
· He gets startled and starts crying = offer him comfort
· He is blurting out little blips of crying-like sounds, no real tears = he wants attention
· He makes crying-like sounds then goes silent waiting to see if someone is coming to get him, rinse and repeat = he wants attention
The last point I want to make is that letting our son cry it out is not easy. Like I said, we are not stone cold. For me it is when I have to draw the line between "Mommy" and "Parent." The Mommy in me wants to comfort, and soothe my baby at all times. I don't want him to be upset, even if he is throwing a tantrum, and I want to offer him any help that I can. But the Parent has to come out when it is time to make the hard decisions that seem best for our son even if they aren't the easiest and they result in crying. The Parent decisions teach him a lesson and in the long run will help him. Plus after the crying subsides I get to be Mommy again and all is right with the world!

Crying it out didn't start for us until after Little C turned one. We were blessed with a very easy-going, go-with-the-flow, baby and there was never a need. But I swear there was a switch that flipped at about 13 months old and we found ourselves taking off the mommy/daddy hats more frequently to put the parent hats on.

For us crying it out is necessary when the appropriate situation arises. Sometimes Hubs and I may even be on different pages as to when that situation is. He has talked me down from rushing into C's room when I just couldn't take it any longer, only to have C calm down seconds later on his own. I've done the same for Hubs.

We want to help our son as best we can and some times, for us, that means letting him cry it out.

So what about you? Do you have a different approach? Does crying it out work with your family?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

There is not enough coffee in the world...

Good morning from a snowy and cold Colorado!

This weather is NOT helping me kick-start my day and my pregnancy allotted coffee will surely not do the trick either.

Little C started crying in his crib around 9:30pm last night. Hubs went in to soothe him back to sleep but then he started right back at it around 10:30pm... then 11... then 11:20, 11:45, etc. I mentioned yesterday that he had pinkeye and a head cold so we thought maybe he just wasn't feeling 100% and needed some comforting.  But after doing this over and over again it started to feel like he just wanted to make sure we were there, close by.

At one point we groggily decided that this is what the pacifier used to do for him when he would be restless at night and since we are now "paci free" we decided around the 11:45 awakening to let him cry it out and see if he could self-soothe. No dice.

We tried in earnest one last time to get him back to sleep (which we were able to every time he woke up) but once we laid him back in his crib no matter how asleep he seemed, he'd wake up and cry. 

This is when we caved and brought him into bed with us. We all needed to get some sleep! 

Hubby and I do not subscribe to the co-sleeping school of thought. As a newborn C was next to our bed in a bassinet for only a few weeks before he was moved into his crib. He has always been a pretty descent sleeper and I feel that by doing it this way we didn't lose any bonding or intimate connection with our son.

**We know there are pros and cons to co-sleeping and if you are interested, you can click here and here, to read a few and come to your own conclusions.**

So there we were with Little C sleeping with us. It seemed to be just what he needed as he snuggled in close to me. That part of the gig was amazing and as I listened to my sweet son's breathing, Hubby's breathing, the dog breathing, and the cats purring... I could not fall back to sleep. Then I started getting really hot. Having a baby body right up to mine, and cats snuggled at my legs, AND a bun in my oven, I was on fire!

If that all wasn't enough my arm started going numb from holding C, my calf started cramping up, and my back was killing me because I wasn't in my usual comfy sleep position. So I carefully rolled the little man to a better spot, I gave the cats a couple swift motions reminding them of who's bed it really is anyway, and I attempted to get comfortable. 

I slept in hour chunks and would get woken up by a toddler foot in my back or by C draping himself across my neck. Again, the fact that he wanted and needed to be so close was truly a wonderful feeling but this mama needs her beauty sleep!

My alarm going off seemed like a cruel joke and my son's refreshed and energetic mood, even crueler. I am so. very. tired. However, bringing comfort to my son, although exhausting, felt really good and being tired seems worth it. But I might be singing a different tune if this happens again tonight!

I hope you're not draggin your wagon like me today. But if you are, coffee mugs up... cheers! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That darn pinkeye!

(photo credit)
Ahhh, the magical time that is fall/winter at daycare. The time where all the snot-nosed little boogers pass around colds, coughs, respiratory gunk and pinkeye. 'Tis truly a special time for all.

Yeah, right!!! It's the worst! Little C has been healthy for a good chunk of time now and we are hoping to keep it that way. He does have a little head cold but that hardly counts as sick in my book. But last night we noticed the eye boogers collecting like crazy into the corners of his beautiful brown eyes and this morning he woke up with crust and crud all over his face! (Hope you're not eating breakfast)

I think I've already shared my feelings on pinkeye in, this post. If our little man is going to get sick with something, the easiest and less complicated thing for him to get is pinkeye. It is easy to detect, diagnose, and treat. It is practically over before it starts! After everything we've been through lately, I'll take pinkeye any day. I'll be adding that statement to the "things I never thought I'd hear myself say until becoming a parent" file.

Along with that darn pinkeye comes the banishment from daycare. It is super contagious, especially when it comes to snot-nosed little boogers, and he must stay away until he's had the eye drops for 24 hours. So this morning Hubs and I played my least favorite game and he was the lucky winner that has to "take one for the team" and stay home with C and get him to the doc to get the script for the dang drops.

Pinkeye may be the 'stink eye' but it could always be worse!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall in!

Fun Fact: I love fall!

I know, I know, who doesn't??? I love how people proclaim they love fall like they're the only one's. I mean, what's NOT to love? The weather, the colors, the coziness, the clothes (jeans and boots, hooray!), things tasting like pumpkin, football. It's all easy to love.

But my most favorite thing about fall is this...

To the naked it eye it appears to be a table full of crap. But to me, it is pure bliss!

Fun Fact #2: I love to decorate my house according to season. My mom always did it growing up and I would love to help her get the items out of the boxes and put the signature pieces in their designated spots. Even in college I worked at a craft store (where I acquired most of my treasured items) and I would decorate our college house. My roommates didn't mind and I always felt it made the carnage of empty beer cans and dirty dishes piled high in the sink seem more "homey" and inviting.

I think I like my fall collection the best but it very well could be a tie for first with Christmas. My spring/Easter decorations take a very close second. Yes, I've just rated my decorations. You guys, they seriously get me giddy just thinking about them. Just this weekend I told Hubby how lucky he was that this is the kind of stuff that makes me happy. Not handbags, designer jeans or jewelry. Just give me a cooking magazine and a new home craft or decoration and I am in heaven!

Here is a brief glimpse into my cozy fall abode...

I also have a door hanger very similar to this that has a turkey on it. It will get switched out after Halloween.

I got this pumpkin candle holder in Evergreen, Colorado when my mom and I had a Mother/Daughter day. She also gave me the witch candlesticks. Most of my items are special to me because of the memories I have or the people that gave them to me.

These pumpkins are probably one of my most favorite finds!! My husband actually spotted them while we were out shopping one day. I love their textures.

I found these witches boots at the same store I found the pumpkins. I couldn't resist!

These little marbles have got to be the cutest things EVER!

I put them in this candle holder and after Halloween replace them with tiny pine cones and acorns. Don't worry, the candle is an LED light and not a real candle. These sit on a shelf that Little C could get to if he really tried so nothing burning is within his reach.

Who's dinning room table doesn't look better with a cornucopia on it?

And that's not even the half of it! Those are just a few of my favorite items. I forgot to take a picture of our mantle and bookcases. I know you are devastated and I apologize profusely. ;)

Just wait for the Christmas tour! Are you on the edge of your seat?!?

Now if only we can convince our GIGANTIC tree in the front hard to start changing its leaves already!

It's a doozy once they all finally fall. I just wish they'd get a move on before the cold weather comes!

So are you a decoration geek like I am? Do you enjoy changing it up with each season? Are your trees already bare and leaves raked? If so, I'm jealous! Our tree is such a tease!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Daycare, working parents, and ignorance

I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers on Babble the other day and I absolutely adored it.  Beth Anne is hilarious and often writes about being a working momma and how she balances it all out.  Unfortunately, she felt compelled to write this particular Babble post in response to a syndicated spot she did for Yahoo! Shine called, The 7 Perks to Sending your Child to Daycare.

She writes:
"Last week, my post on why daycare rocks a box of unicorn sprinkles was syndicated on Yahoo! Shine and of course the comments came flooding in.  Mostly about how I shouldn’t have children if I can’t be with them and how selfish women like me are what is wrong with the world.  Not like it’s 2012 with women’s liberation and education and a crashing economy that requires many of us to go back to work after having babies.  That’s just the crazy in me talking, I suppose."

I clicked over to the Yahoo! post and the comments had me floored! Here are some to give you an idea:

"If you have a two parent home in this day and time, do whatever it takes to keep your kids with you as much as possible. Raising kids takes great diligence and determination. Both parents working is causing problems for America across the board. It's easier to go to work and hope someone else will take care of your kids, but the reality is no one loves them like their parents. Otherwise what is point of having them if you are never there?"

"I see zero good reasons to send your kid to a stranger. If you choose to have children than YOU should take care of them. Your kids deserve that much. And they are only little for so long. What's 4 years out of a lifetime. Get your priorities straight, people!"

"I will never send my children to daycare. I've heard they accept children as young as 6 weeks now! You can not tell me a stranger can give the love and attention to a child that young as well as their mothers. If you're a married woman with children sorry but you should be staying home and taking care of them. If you say you cant afford it with one paycheck scale down your house and cars. My husband makes less than 40k a year gross and i stay home and how we do it is cut down on our spending which isn't hard."

"leaving your children in the care of someone not sharp enough to get a real job....not me"

Is your jaw on the floor too?!? I can't believe how mean and hateful the comments were and how unrealistic these people are.

Oh, and then there was this guy:

"Cats are better than brats!" - His code name was Catman. Ha! Thanks for adding your insightful and intelligent input to this discussion Catman! Weirdo.

I don't get these people. Of course there were plenty of comments supporting Beth Anne's post and working parents in general but I couldn't shake how some of the other moms AND dads could be so one-sided.

The first comment really had me upset. "It's easier to go to work and hope someone else will take care of your kids, but the reality is no one loves them like their parents." No shit, lady! I don't take my son to daycare so that people will LOVE him. I take him to daycare to be taken care of. You know, fed, cleaned and kept safe. Those are the basics but on top of it he also learns social skills, developmental skills and he seems to learn something educational everyday. His father and I raise him and give him everything he needs to thrive.

Did you get that lady... HIS FATHER AND I RAISE HIM. I don't see daycare at my house when my son is sick and up all night. Daycare isn't at the Pediatrician's office with us for wellness visits and sick care. Daycare doesn't tag along on family trips to the zoo or the park. Where is daycare when his father and I sit down with our son every night to read books? Where is daycare when we are trying to teach our son wrong and right, good behavior and bad? Daycare isn't there when we have our ritual family hug before bed and we kiss our son goodnight and he kisses us back.  Daycare doesn't brush his teeth twice a day, or buy him clothes, or diapers. Daycare isn't a grandparent that my son adores and gets to play with and look up to.  No, daycare does NOT raise my son.

Why don't people understand that every family and their financial situation is different... and private! You get to stay home with your kids while your spouse provides for your family? That's great! For you. And, it's none of my business. My husband and I both work so that we can both provide for our family and that's also great AND none of YOUR business.

My son is happy, healthy and in my 100% biased opinion, brilliant. I give daycare credit where credit is due but his father and I do our damnedest to make sure our son is thriving. We work hard and although some days are harder than others, we do what is best for our family.

There is no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting and raising a family in the general sense. Of course there are scenarios that are un-healthy and toxic or even illegal, but that is not what we are discussing here. Instead of being so one-sided and slamming the ways of other parents I just wish people could be more supportive. At the end of the day most of us are striving for the same result we just might go about it differently.

Daycare is not the devil. Working moms and dads are not evil beings leaving their children out to dry. Be more respectful, people.

I encourage you to read Beth Anne's, 11 Myths About Mothers Who Work Outside the Home. I also encourage you to be open-minded and supportive to one another. After all...

While you are busy judging, someone else is judging you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can I go to daycare too?

Here we are one day closer to Friday (I just thought I'd share that with you in case you didn't know). I'm so NOT in the mood for work today. How 'bout you? I'm having one of those days where leaving my son at daycare was no fun at all!

Not because he was crying for me with outstretched arms and not wanting to leave my side, it is because he was in a super cute mood and I'd rather stay and play with him instead of tackle my action items here at work. How awesome would that be?!? I think I would love daycare!!

For starters when we walked in the room breakfast was being served. Warm mini bagels with cream cheese and some banana on the side. I may be 100 times too large for the tiny table and chairs but I'd figure out a way to make it work. I'd sit with the kids and listen to them babble with each other and I'd babble right back.

I'd sit real still and listen during story time. I'd play nice and share with the other kids during play time. I'd just sit and relax when they take us outside because being outside in the middle of the day on a weekday, would be too good to be true! I'd revel in art time and I'd eat all my veggies at lunch. You better believe when the lights went out for nap I wouldn't make a fuss and I'd sleep like I was getting paid to do it!

After nap I'd enjoy my snack and be sure to thank the teachers for what a good job they are doing. They of course would love me because I'd be such a good "kid" AND because I would not require frequent diaper changes. Then I would sing my little heart out during song time and wait patiently for my Hubby to pick me up. When he would come into the room I'd scream, "HUBBY!!!" and run up to him as he'd scoop me up into his arms. It wouldn't be weird at all.

Yes, that sounds so much better than work today. (sigh) Instead I will tackle my action items and will be productive even though what I really want to do is throw my papers off my desk, plunge myself onto the floor, kicking and screaming, "I DON'T WANNA!!" Do you think I'd get a time out?

What's your motivation meter at today? If it's like mine here's hoping the day goes fast! If you are already kicking butt and taking names can you send some of that vibe my way? Thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Did you know?

I'm over at Mile High Mamas today sharing my story of breaking Little C from his pacifier
Hop on over there to check it out!  

It is no longer necessary to put two spaces after a period when typing - Am I the only one that still types with the two spaces? Am I the last one to know this and when did the change occur? It is going to take some serious control on my part to remember this new fangled way of doing things!

This week I will officially begin the THIRD TRIMESTER of my pregnancy - That is just all kinds of crazy!! Time is flying for sure.

A 1/4 of your bones are in your feet

M&M's chocolate stands for the initials for its inventors Mars and Murrie

Each time you see a full moon you always see the same side

Goldfish can see both infrared and ultraviolet light

Now go forth and put this impressive new knowledge to work.  Have a great day! :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was spent tackling a killer list of house projects/chores.  We enlisted the help of my parents to watch Little C on Saturday so we could buckle down and get as much done as possible.  By the time the afternoon rolled around we were up to our eyeballs with "stuff" and found ourselves calling my folks to see if they could just keep C overnight.  They said, "I guess... if we HAVE to."  Ha!!  They were thrilled to keep him overnight and I could hear Little C having a blast in the background so I know he didn't mind either.

Hubby and I accomplished so much that day, I still can't  believe it.  I can't believe we were able to get it all done AND I can't believe my pregnant body held out as long as it did.  I definitely was sore by the end of the night and even into Sunday but it was worth it!  Here's what we accomplished:
  1. Deep-cleaned and rearranged our guest bedroom.
  2. Gutted out completely and deep cleaned the office which will now be P-Nut's room.
  3. Hubby moved all of the items from our old office room to another room and he manged to set everything up with no problems.  
  4. Piled a bunch of 'junk' into our garage for the Junk Man to haul off
  5. Sorted through tons of our 'stuff' and ended up with many bags of items to either giveaway or that wound up in the trash.  We were determined to be cut-throat when it came to deciding on what to keep.  
  6. We cleaned out our bedroom dressers and closets once again being very cut-throat about what clothes we kept and which we gave away.  The back of Hubby's car is filled with bags to take to Goodwill.  
  7. I finished putting up all of my fall decorations and we even decorated Little C's playroom with awesome wall art that we inherited.  
It felt incredibly good to purge as much as we did, organize and clean the crap out of everything!  We finally wrapped everything up around 7pm.  Since Little C was at his grandparents we gathered up what little energy we had left, we cleaned ourselves up and went OUT TO DINNER.  Yeah!  Like a date.  Like two adults out in public, on a weekend, after 8 o'clock!  I can't even remember the last time we did that.  We were so tired and the longer we sat in that booth the stiffer our tired, sore bodies became but it was so nice.

I fell asleep around 10pm and since we were Little C free my mind and body must have been dying to "shut off" the way it did... I slept until 9am!!!  Yes.  You read correctly.  9am!  It was bliss and so very needed.

We picked up Little C from my parents and spent the rest of Sunday doing laundry, relaxing, and playing with our son.  The weather was so beautiful so we also headed out for a walk and a trip to the park. 

C is currently obsessed with Mickey Mouse and he loves wearing that hat! It cracks me up!

It was a great weekend, indeed!  Now our next big project is turning this...

Into an inviting, cozy, soft, and significantly brighter, baby girl nursery.  I can't wait for it to all come together!

I hope you all had a great weekend.  What did you do?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

Hey guys!  Little C here.  I thought I'd drop a line to let you know what I've been up to.  Apparently it's fall and my mom has been buzzing around the house putting up fall decorations, talking about costumes and asking if I know how to say, "trick-or-treat."  I don't know how to say that, but she keeps trying.  Bless her heart.

Over the weekend I was taken to a Great Harvest Fall Festival in keeping with the "fall theme."  My mission was to find the perfect pumpkin!  Now in case you've never had to pick out a perfect pumpkin for your own I thought I'd share with you the proper way to do it.  You may want to write down some notes.  I'll wait while you gather up a pen and paper...

:: cough ::

Okay!  You're back!  Let's get started. 

First - you need the appropriate attire.  You can't just roll out of bed and stumble into a pumpkin patch!  You have to pull yourself together, man.  See for yourself...

Am I stylin' or what?!?!

Second - you have to take in the lay of the land.

No pumpkins to be found here.  "Hey fella!  Why the long face?!?!" :: snort ::  I'm hear all day, people.

Jackpot!  Pumpkin patch acquired. 

Third - Once the prize is in sight it is very important to map out your plan of attack.  You can't just jump in and go at it all willy nilly.   

Look to the right, and look to the left. 

This is no time for knee jerk reactions.  You must be picky!

Fourth - Don't let size get the better of you!  This can be a tricky one.  I mean, who doesn't want to go after the biggest pumpkin in the patch?  It is important to remember your pride is at stake here.  Don't go acting a fool and think you can waltz out of the patch with something bigger than you are.  Observe...

This is NOT the perfect pumpkin. 

Fifth - Don't settle.  Just because a grown-up hands you a pumpkin that you can actually carry yourself, doesn't mean it is the perfect pumpkin.  I'll show you what happened to me...

Um, thanks for the pumpkin mama but I just don't think this is it!  In fact...

What's over there???  Could it be?  Could I have just found the perfect pumpkin???

Let's pause for a moment - It is VERY important to know what you are looking for.  The perfect pumpkin must have a nice rotund shape with decent circumference, nice orange color, minor flaws (if any at all), and a good stem for holding on to.  So after searching high and low you better believe I found...

 The. Perfect. Pumpkin.

Just look at this beaut!  Have you ever seen anything like it?!?  
Okay so maybe you have, but I'm only 18 months old dude,
and as far as I'm concerned this is the bee's knees!! 

So there you have it.  My step-by-step method for achieving the highest level of pumpkin patchery.  Follow these steps and you too can find your perfect pumpkin.  

Eat your heart out Charlie Brown!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Breaking Paci


 Oh, the glorious pacifier!  What a wonderful little invention that brings baby soothing feelings and provides relief for parents. 

Your newborn is fed, dry, swaddled, rocked, etc. but still super fussy and won't go to sleep... give 'em the paci!  They are at the doctors office and just received their first round of shots and the screaming instantly goes through the roof... give 'em the paci!  You are at the grocery store and your one year old starts screeching at the top of his lungs because he likes the way it sounds... give 'em the paci! Your feisty toddler is throwing an epic tantrum and since you are in public and you have to finish your errands and make it through the rest of your to-do's in peace you... give 'em the paci! Now your sweet little toddler (because he switches from feisty to sweet at a moments notice) is sicker than he has ever been before and for 10 long and miserable days the only thing that is keeping him somewhat calm is... you guessed it... his paci.

Before Little C was born the Hubs and I had decided that we weren't even going to offer the paci to our newborn.  We wanted to see if he could self-soothe and we thought by not introducing it we wouldn't have to struggle with some day taking it away.  We went so far as to include in our birth plan for the nurses at the hospital to NOT give C a paci.  The hospital staff even marked this in big bold writing on his "sleep cart."  But one night he was rolled into our room for me to feed him and there it was.  That greenish-bluish paci plopped right into his mouth!  The nurse knew we were having trouble with a proper latch while breastfeeding and she said it would help to get his bottom lip and chin out more.  Being a brand-spanking new mother, I would take bits of advice like this and just go with it.  I never questioned or argued.  In hindsight I wish I would have stuck to our plan and instead of taking the nurses word on the subject I wish I had requested she take it out and then discussed it more with the lactation consultant.  It is recommended that you wait until proper breastfeeding is established before introducing the paci to your newborn.     

There are many pros and cons to the pacifier.  The biggest pro for us was the fact that it can help reduce SIDS if given to your infant when sleeping (you can read more pros and cons here).  I also feel that the "NO PACI" attitude Hubby and I had originally decided on was one of those things that changes once your newborn actually arrives.  We had good intentions but really didn't know how helpful the paci would prove to be until we had a newborn to prove it.  Know what I mean?  I am glad that Little C took to it and I really feel like it suited its purpose beautifully.

Now he is 18 months old and our Pediatrician recommends that your toddler be broken of the paci by 2 years.  It is mostly because of dental reasons and because they know the longer you keep the paci around the harder it becomes to take away.  For the most part Little C has had a very healthy dependency on his paci.  Only using it at nap or bed time, when he was in need of comfort, or when mom and dad needed to calm a tantrum.  But after his recent sickness it elevated to what we considered a whole new level.  He could not be without it, and I'm not exaggerating.  If you attempted to take it away he would erupt something awful.  It crossed the line from being "as needed" to "can't live without."  That was when we decided it was time to go.

I've heard of many successful methods for breaking your child from the paci but what we decided on was the trickle down effect.  We moved from one phase to the next very quickly to the point that it was borderline cold turkey.  Kind of like ripping off a band-aid.  Just go for it! 
  • Paci was taken away with the exception of sleeping - in between sleeping we constantly battled a very insistent C requesting, "paci? paci? paci! PACI!!"  At first we would say, "paci is all gone" but once that was not going to cut it we had to ignore his requests and distract, distract, distract.  There were plenty of meltdowns but with the power of distraction and an uber amount of patience on our part, he would soon forget he even wanted it.
  • Once he could make it through most of the day without requesting it we began taking paci away during sleep
    • Naptime seemed much easier for him to adjust to.  Daycare reported that he would go down without any problems and we noticed even at home on the weekends it was the same way. 
    • Bedtime however, was a whole different story.  We went from a very easy ritual of taking C up to bed, kissing him goodnight, placing him in crib as he rolls to one side and starts dozing to... placing him in crib while begging for his paci then crying himself to sleep.  If the crying didn't get better one of us would go in his room and attempt to soothe him which usually helped.  By the end of the first week the crying was minimal and very soon it stopped.
Little C is virtually paci free now.  He had to get blood drawn recently for his follow up appointment with G.I. Joe and you better believe we had paci on hand during that event.  But once he calmed down we took it away and he was fine.  Every so often he still asks for it and in fact this morning we experienced a rare is he crying because of a growth spurt, teething, stomach ache, what-the-heck-is-this, episode and he wanted his paci.  The requests didn't last long and he was just fine.

Bedtime is now back to being easy and we've found that rocking him and holding him to provide a soothing sense before laying him in his crib is very helpful.  It gets him comfortable with the idea that it's time for bed as his paci once did. 

It wasn't easy to break him and at times I felt like I was being cruel because he wanted it so badly.  That was the hardest part for us as parents.  But I'm glad we took this approach and it wasn't like we were not offering our son comfort during this transition.  If he did start in with a tantrum we would offer comfort before distraction because the paci used to make him feel better.  If he started crying in the middle of the night when the paci would have usually brought him solace we would scoop him up and rock him back to sleep.  We tried to fill the hole left from the paci as best we could and it ended up working.   

If you are in a similar situation and are feeling like it is time to break your little one then definitely do it.  It wasn't a breeze but it was faster than I thought it would be.  Like I said, there are plenty of successful methods out there to do it but this is what worked for us.  Good luck and if it gets tough remember it's probably like most hurdles you've experienced so far, it is a phase and it will get better!

You gotta give it to the kid though, he made that paci look good!  :)

Goodbye, dear paci.  I thank you for your service and know you will be missed. ;)