Overthinking it

My 2-year-old has been in love with the pacifier since the moment it touched her newborn lips. It soothes her like nothing else.

Leading up to her 2nd birthday, we reduced her usage (mostly) to naps and bedtime, knowing that we’d want to eventually break the addiction.

Then at her 2-year check-up, her doctor said we missed the window. She felt it would be better to wait until my daughter can understand and communicate more about why we are taking it away. Otherwise she could be scarred for life (not the pediatrician’s exact words, but something like that).

A week later, her dentist disagreed and said we needed to kick the habit ASAP. Otherwise my daughter’s teeth would be damaged for life (not her exact words, but something like that).

Conflicted to the core, I researched successful methods to kick the habit. Staging a visit from “The Binky Fairy” seemed to be a common approach, and was what our dentist recommended.

I also read several in-depth book reviews, and eventually purchased a delightful tale designed to empower and enable my toddler to say Bye-Bye to Binky.

And I sought advice from friends, one of whom explained that her daughter finally ditched her pacifier when they told her it would be given to a horse at a nearby stable. That was two years ago, and they still have to visit the horse regularly to make sure he’s doing OK.

There aren’t any horses in my neighborhood, but so help me, if that method works I considered driving 30 miles to find a farm.

Then two weeks ago a speech therapist gave me her recommendation. The conversation went something like this:

Speech therapist: “Cut the binky in half. When she asks you about it, play dumb and say you don’t know what happened.”

Me: “That’s it? Just cut it?”

ST: “Yes. Cut it.”

Me: “Should I stage some sort of elaborate scene to make it look like her toys did it? Maybe our Elf on the Shelf could be the perp?”

ST: “No, just cut it.”

Me: “Should I also damage something her sister loves so neither of them feels it is unfair and resents me for it later?”

ST: “No, just cut it.”

Me: “To help ensure she will always see the glass as half-full vs. half-empty, should I tell her that a giant buzzsaw ripped through the city, but luckily, the only thing it managed to hit in our house was her binky?”

ST: “No, just cut it.”

Me: “Should I cry when I show it to her so she sees that I am empathetic and wants to confide in me when she is a teen?”

ST: “No, just cut it.”

Me: “Should I start to breastfeed her again as a means to compensate for her loss?”

ST: “No, just cut it.”

Me: “Should I use organic scissors?”

ST: “No, just cut it.”

So I cut it. And that was the end of it. No tears. No drama. No interest in using a binky ever again.


So simple, and yet so painstakingly researched. Well played, parenthood.

16 thoughts on “Overthinking it

  1. Grace hit it on the head: it’s our way. In fact, for the preschool auction I donated three hours of overthinking. No joke. Tile the bidders to relax and let me research, worry, make lists, plan attacks, feel guilt, etc. For three hours over the topic of their choice.

    I’m surprised you didn’t ask if the cut should be vertical or horizontal.

  2. I seriously lost it when I got to “Should I cut it with organic scissors. Tears. Hilarious. Also, my daughter lost her pacifier for a few weeks and we were all binky free. Then she found it. Then the dog chewed it. So, I guess that is sort of like cutting it, but in a long, drawn out way.

    Plus, watching the dog run around with a binky was entertaining. Almost just like a binky fairy.

  3. I seriously thought my son would take his to college. When he was 2, we moved across the country, and I didn’t want to take it away from him then. Got pregnant and moved again a year later, didn’t want to take it away then. Brought home a new baby to take my time away from him, didn’t want to take it away from him then (he had been reduced to bed/nap time only by the time he turned 3). When he was close to 4, I said it had to go. I took him to the toy store and told him he could pick out anything in the store to sleep with in exchange for the binky. He picked a hidious Godzilla doll that was a foot and a half tall and spiky. Slept with it one night and that was it. No binky, no Godzilla, and yes, his teeth were jacked up and that’s a whole ‘nother story.

  4. “Should I start to breastfeed her again as a means to compensate for her loss?” OMG. So hilarious. Why are these things so hard, yet so damn simple???

    And I have a newly crowned 6yo who still sucks her thumb. Her dentist says we need to try to cut the habit, but she hasn’t been all that worried about it until she started losing teeth. So I think at 2 you are okay, but glad you found a method that worked. You think I can cut her thumb?

    • I sucked my thumb until college. Shame was the only motivation for stopping. But it’s much easier if there’s something on it, like a bandage, to make her stop before it goes in. The sour nail polish stuff is mean (and toxic) but sometimes just nail polish itself is enough to change the texture/taste and make it less comforting. Piggy Paint. Worth a try.

    • I asked our dentist if I should encourage her to suck her thumb as an alternative. You should’ve seen the horrified look on her face – you would’ve thought I had suggested giving her a cigarette. I got the impression that thumbs are even harder to quit. So good luck to you!

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