4.29.2012

How our almost two year old kicked 'the habit'

It's official. 

Our almost two-year-old daughter (I still have 11 days until my little one turns two, so I can and will still say almost) has kicked the hardest habit of her life yet.

She gave up smoking.

I'm just kidding, child smoking isn't something that should be joked about, especially with all of those crazy tabloids showing pictures of actual toddlers and small children smoking (even if they're not real, the concept is absolutely disturbing).

For one whole week now, our daughter has been foo foo free! 

What is a foo foo you want to know? It's a binky, pacifier, paci or a 'wo-wo' as my nephew lovingly referred to his. 

That's right, we finally got our little girl to kick her big bad habit - cold turkey. Although, I should note that we had her down to only using her pacifiers during nap time and bedtime. 

With her second birthday looming, I knew it was time for us to say goodbye to the foo foos, I just didn't know how to accomplish it without traumatizing my small child. My mom finally said something that made me realize it was time to give them up. At some point and time it seems like the children stop "needing" the pacifier and start "wanting" it out of habit. (Of course my mother was devastated when we told her that we took away the foo foos, I think she has envisioned us torturing our child for the last week). 

So how did we know that Pearyn was out of the "needing" phase and onto the "wanting, habit-forming" phase? A few months ago I noticed when I went in to check on her before going to bed myself, she didn't have any of the pacifiers in her mouth, nor did she want them. When she would wiggle around I would try to pop one back in her mouth and she would proceed to spit it right out (call me an enabler I guess). So instead of actually sucking on a foo foo, she ended up just clutching all four (yes, she went to bed with four pacifiers)  in her hands. 

So last Sunday we decided to test the waters. We put her to bed the night before with no pacifiers, tried nap time without the precious pacis, and sure enough, with minimal tears shed our little girl fell asleep within minutes of being placed into her bed. 
That did it. 

Whether she knew what she had done or not, our little girl let us know that it was time to pull the plug on the pacifier.

So after googling "how to get rid of foo foos" for a few hours, I came across the idea to take our wee one to Build a Bear, let her pick out her own special stuffed animal and then before it was time to give the animal a little fluff, we'd have her stick each one of her pacifiers in its hands and feet. 

My mom thought it sounded like cruel and unusual punishment, which it kind of does, except I really felt like it would work for her. She already didn't bother putting the pacifiers in her mouth anymore, so what would be the difference if she was holding the foo foos directly in her hand, or holding a stuffed animal where she could feel all of her foo foos and still had the security of knowing they were there, with her? 

We took the plunge and it went absolutely swimmingly. 

We corralled all her binkies (aka, the four she slept with on a nightly basis), hauled her cute little butt over to the nearest Build a Bear and began our daughter's journey into "Big Girl Land." She ended up picking out a pink bunny with floppy ears covered in daisies, and surprisingly, that ended up being the hardest part. 

After that she got to pick out a heart for her bunny and then after she placed that inside, she put each foo foo into the arms and legs of the bunny, WILLINGLY. What we thought would be a huge fight turned out to be the exact thing she needed.

The bunny got sewed up, some butterfly jammies and bunny slippers were selected (rather suitable seeing as how this would be her sleepy time bunny) and took "Floppy Foo Foos" home with us. 

She's madly in love with her bunny.

So the first night trial came and something incredibly expected happen. We got Pearyn in her jammies and got her ready for bed and sure enough, she asked for us to take her foo foos out of Floppy. Apparently she didn't realize this would require major surgery.

So we sat down and explained to Pearyn that she was a big girl now, one that got to eat jelly beans and go swimming and that big girls don't need to use foo foos anymore. And when she gave us a blank stare, we appealed to her giving, humanistic side and told her that Floppy had been a really sad bunny because she didn't have any foo foos. So Pearyn being the sweet girl she was gave Floppy her foo foos since she was a big girl and didn't need them anymore.

Sure enough, that did the trick.

Pear simply looked up and said "So now Floppy's happy?" and when we told her yes, she simply replied "I'm nice." (Yes, nice dear, maybe a bit narcissistic as well, but certainly nice). 

The rest is history. Pear proudly carries around Floppy and shows everyone exactly where her pacifiers are and that Pearyn was nice and shared them with the bunny. 

On the plus side, I haven't caught her trying to suck the pacifiers through Floppy's arms once and most nap and bed times have been tear-free. 

And the ones that weren't had more to do with the fact that she just didn't want to go to bed yet and less to do with the no foo foo thing.

How did your child kick the habit? 

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