Posted on | March 1, 2013 | 7 Comments
So if you read my post on the half-marathon, you may remember a small bit about … dun dun dun… J’s pacifier. My son has had a pacifier since he was born… every night, most days, almost constantly until about five or six months ago when it became an “only when you’re sick or in bed” kind of thing. I kept meaning to take it away, to transition him away from it, but it was so difficult.
And I’m so lazy.
It’s a lot easier to let him keep the pacifier than to actively play a role in the growing up of my child; pacifiers are adorable, pacifiers are for babies, MY SON IS A BABY. Or at least, that’s what I kept telling myself. “He’s only three.” And then “he’s just three and a half” and suddenly I saw myself ordering adult-sized pacifiers for my son who was about to go to college… AND I WAS OKAY WITH THAT. (I have issues, whatever.) Basically, I couldn’t bring myself to break his heart… that’s what it boiled down to. The first time we tried to abandon the “paci” he cried for two hours and begged me for one, telling me that he needed it to go to sleep. After two hours of staying firm, I caved… because who can watch their child sob his eyes out, knowing you could fix it so easily?? Not me.
Cut to our trip to Disney.
It was the night before my race and I handed J off to my parents with a kid-sized backpack full of everything I thought he’d need for the night. By 5:00, I was in my pajamas and tucked in bed, watching the end of a basketball game and hoping that sleep would come quickly as I had to be up at 2:00 in the morning. I fell asleep somewhere around 7:15 or 7:30 and woke with a start at approximately 10:45. I laid in bed, tossed and turned, and wondered if I’d just woken up for no reason or perhaps for nerves. Then my mind wandered to J and I wondered if he’d made it to sleep and if he was okay without me. Something caught my eye from the side of the bed beside me and I sat up in complete panic.
J’s paci glows in the dark.
J’s paci was on the bed, just under the pillow next to me.
It was 11:00 at night, a good three hours after he should have been asleep and I wondered why my mother hadn’t come to get it from me. I got up in a daze, grabbed my room key and the pacifier, and ran barefoot down the outdoor corridor to my parents’ room. I knocked once, no answer. I knocked again, shifting my weight guiltily from one foot to the other.
Finally my dad swung open the door and stared at me.
“Paci. I forgot. So sorry. So so sorry.”
“He didn’t need it,” my dad shrugged and started to close the door. I shoved my paci-clutching fist into the room and deposited it in his hand.
“HE MIGHT NEED IT,” I stage-whispered.
My dad took the pacifier and nodded, closed the door, and I went back to my room, congratulating myself on saving them and J from tomorrow morning’s heartache.
That was Saturday night.
Although he still asks at least once a night for his pacifier, J has not slept with one since that night. We jokingly told him that Mickey Mouse must have taken it from him at Disney World and though he responds with “but I didn’t have it in my pocket!” he’s never really needed it again.
I guess I still wanted to believe that my son is a baby and that he needed all of his baby things. I wanted to believe that he needed his pacifier because I needed him to still have it, needed him to still need something soothing to fall asleep with. But the truth is, apparently I needed it more than he did. Apparently, I was the facilitator of his need for that and when I was removed from the picture, he fell asleep quite easily without it.
I guess raising kids is like that, isn’t it?
Sometimes the person who really needs help letting go… is me.