Thursday, February 03, 2011

Forcing the Soother, Killing the Soother

Its a two way street around here when it comes to the soother. On one hand, I have a two year old who LOVES his soother and we have just x-nayed it on him, and on the other hand, I have baby boy who loves his hand and not the soother, and I am forcing the soother on him!

Let's start with the toddler issue... from birth, E was a soother boy.  It took me about three days to decide that he needed a soother or else he or I were not going to get any sleep in this house.  As soon as we introduced the soother, moods and attitudes around this place improved drastically.  E spent two years loving his soother.  Around 10 months old, we transitioned from soother anytime of the day, to soother only at bedtime and nap time. He went along with this quite cooperatively until about a month after his second birthday.  He started wanting his soother all. the. time.  He whined and cried and pleaded with us 'Num-num, num-num, nummy, pease...pease Mommy'.

WIth the arrival of H, E practically had his soother whenever he wanted because it was always just sitting on his bed and he was free to roam and grab it, at his convenience.  When you have a newborn, and are on a new schedule, the last thing I wanted to be doing was fighting with a toddler about his nummy. So for 6 weeks he won the battle and had it pretty much the majority of his days here.

The soother, I will admit was as much a clutch for him, as it was for PC and I.  Knowing that giving E his soother at anytime would stop the whining or buy us another hour of sleep was fine by us.  But eventually we knew we'd have to kill the soother and the more pictures I saw of E with his soother around his baby brother, the quicker I decided the time is now.

A week ago Wednesday morning, I woke up to E awake in his room, laying in bed with no soother. I thought to myself, he doesn't need it for sleeping in, he's awake and he doesn't have it in his mouth - let's do this. So that day, I tracked down all of the nummy's in the house and vito'd them immediately (although two are still MIA).  Conveniently my parents also left that morning after being here a week. When E arrived home from daycare, and asked for his soother, I said, 'where did you put it'? and of course, he didn't know but started looking for one with no such luck. Then when bedtime rolled around and he asked for it, I put the idea in his head that Grandpa must have taken them home with him (a short 8 hour drive away).  He agreed with me, and immediately demanded "BACK. BACK. BACK", as in "Grandpa bring it back NOW'! I explained we would have to call Grandpa in the morning but that he could go to bed without it. He wasn't overly pleased (pleased with Grandpa I should say), but he did go to bed, with about 5 minutes of moaning (not crying just that 'I'm not happy about it' whine and moan). He woke up once that night, and again moaned for about 30 seconds, said nummy, and then was back out. In the morning, he was up about 20 minutes earlier than usual, but was in good spirits.

It was a successful mission and we were onto day 2, night 2. Both went well, he mentioned his soother once when he got home and once at bed, and I gave the same Grandpa line and we moved on. Two minutes of whining at bed and out.  And that's how it is.  He doesn't go to bed quite as peacefully as before, but he's not kicking up a royal fuss either, so I am can deal with the few minutes of protesting he gives us.

The last few days E has been extremely sick and I thought I would almost cave on the soother if I thought it would help him get more than 40 minutes of sleep at a time, but luckily he never once asked for it, so we didn't have to go there. And since we've cleared that hurdle, I won't be thinking of caving again - we are soother free for E! YAY.

H, on the other hand, is a different story. He clearly seems to want to suck his thumb and after having a good soother killing experience with E, I would rather H take a soother than suck his thumb. He's not big on the soother at. all. He works very hard at getting the soother out of his mouth so he can jam his fist in there.  I think that breaking thumbing sucking will be twice as hard to do, as taking away a soother, so I am really pushing the soother.

It feels almost like I am setting myself up for disaster as I just went through getting rid of the soother with one child, only to try and push it on another. But given that the soother was such a clutch for us with E, I wouldn't mind having it to rely-on down the road with H.  My only change for H will be that I think I will kill it before he turns two, instead of after, as that is where we seem to run into the problems.

Do you have any soother or thumb stories of your own to share... did you find it difficult to have your toddler stop taking the soother or the thumb? What age is the ideal age to get rid of the soother?