I close my eyes and I’m in my Massachusetts childhood bedroom: Holly Hobby wallpaper, brown shag carpet and the brown pacifier I hid under my pink, painted-rose pillowcase long after I’d kicked my habit. I loved my pacifier as much as I loved my pink blankie with the satin edging. I’d forgotten, until today, how safe and happy that memory feels. Somehow, I’d wrapped my mind around Olive June’s two older sisters and the age at which they’d given up their pacifiers, so much younger than Olive is today. I was certain she no longer needed it, and in the frantic pace of our days I’d forgotten she’s still perfecting the whole potty training thing and, well, that’s sort of enough for her to focus on. Sometimes it takes an extreme day for things to become clear for me. Really, after thee kids I should care less if people tell me, Wow, I’m surprised Olive still loves her pacifier.
And when we asked Olive if she knew any big girls who use a pacifier she replied, Yes. [pause] Me.
In this week’s Today’s Mama article, I wrote about my daughter’s pacifier addiction and how one long, pacifier-less day with six hours of crying taught me what I already knew: it matters my babes are happy, it matters my babes are ready and supported when they take a risk, it matters our babes feel safe and loved.
The Pacifier Junkie
Like a good addict, she puts off quitting until tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, she promises with hands crossed that tomorrow will definitely be the day. If we go out to eat, she stashes one in her pocket. Just. In. Case, she says with quiet, guilty breath. She’s got one hidden in the secret hole by her seat in the car, and four or five more stashed under her pillow. Might need ‘em, Mama, she says with quiet, guilty breath