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When pacifiers are for adults.

December 11, 2008

I used a pacifier for so long – four years, I’m afraid – that I can almost remember sucking on it.  And like all mothers (right?), I hope that my child will inherit my best qualities and fear that he will end up with my worst. For this reason, and also inspired by a child who looked like he could read chapter books and whom I conversed – yes, conversed – with on the patio of a seafood restaurant when Jack was a newborn, I decided that I wouldn’t give one to Jack.

You know, until two weeks later, when you could find me at any given hour of the day trying to get him latched onto one. In my defense, he was enjoying regular feedings every six minutes, and I just had to go to the bathroom.

The kid just wouldn’t have it. I reported seconds-long stints with the pacifier to my husband and mother like they were triumphs. Even when I tried a switch-a-roo when he was falling asleep while eating, his eyes would fly open and narrow at my betrayal.

For several months, I almost gave up. By “almost” I mean that I would put it in his mouth when I put him in the crib at night, even though I knew that what I was doing had only a placebo affect (and only on me!) and that within seconds it would fall out. I  even tried using the arm of his favorite stuffed mouse to hold it in there.

Jack and the pacifier enjoyed a brief affair during our road trip to Chicago, when suddenly – and VERY helpfully – he didn’t spit it out. After he’d held it in his own mouth for more than five consecutive minutes, I updated D from the backseat. After it had comforted him for a couple of hours, I updated my mother via my mobile.

During our stay, Jack continued to take the pacifier, and I relayed the fascinating story of their on again/off again relationship to whoever was nearby. On one such occasion, my friend’s younger brother, who must have heard about the pacifier-overbite consortium, responded, “Huh. So you just kept trying to get him hooked?”

As luck – not genetics, clearly – would have it, Jack loved the pacifier all the way back to Arkansas, where he promptly lost nearly all of his interest in it and let both of us off the hook.

(I’m thinking it’s a good thing that there are  no clear upsides or parental conveniences associated with nailbiting, smoking, borrowing money, etc. …)


2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2008 6:35 pm

    This photo is SO SWEET.

    My oldest loved her pacifier. My youngest would have nothing to do with it. She kept spitting it out in disgust so eventually I gave up.


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