Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Toddler is Growing Up - Binkys and Bedtime

I'm not just talking about the fact that as she approaches 2 1/2 in two days, she's over 3 feet tall. I'm not just talking about her vastly increased vocabulary. I'm talking about the dreaded b-word (in our house): Binkys.

She has needed one from birth. Unfortunately, we didn't have one when we first brought her home from the hospital. Silly us, we thought she'd not need one. One night of screaming all night with no sleep later, and we had a dozen of the little things, boiled and ready for service.

She pretty much needed them in her mouth all the time when she was a baby. She certainly would never sleep without one. This made bedtime troublesome when she was a baby because she did not have much control of her arms (as no baby does) and she'd move her arms about and knock the binky out of her mouth at night before she fell asleep, thus leading to screams. I spent many a night with her in another room, on the bed (so my wife could sleep, since she was working), my arms around and behind my daughters back as she lay on the bed next to me, holding her arms down by her sides and her binky in her mouth until she was sound asleep. Then I'd pick her up and put her in her bassinet for the night by our bedside.

Later, when she could pick up binkys herself, it was easier - no more wakeups from her crying that it fell out - or far fewer - we'd often see her feeling around with her eyes closed, then finding it and popping it back in her mouth. Sometimes we'd have to help her find it as it fell out and then either my wife or I were on top of it. But still, it was much nicer than the frequent trips to the crib to replace a fallen binky (which was later reduced also by her staying in our bed when she was eight months old til now, since we did not have to go across half the house just to pop a binky back in).

Fortunately, it looks like the new baby doesn't need binkys nearly as strongly as our daughter did, though he still seems to like them sometimes. Which brings me back to my daughter. We originally thought we might get her off binkys at age one. No such luck. Once she got older, we did at least get them limited to when she wanted a nap or when she was really really agitated. But now, as she approaches 2 1/2, enough is enough. Part of the problem is my wife basically can't let her cry or be upset, ever. Taking binkys away at night would cause much upset. But then there was an opportunity. After baby two was born, my wife was in the hospital for four days. I was home with our daughter at night. With encouragement from my mother (who is staying with us for a week), I took her binkys away entirely. The first night was rough - but not as bad as I thought it might be. It probably went much easier not having mommy there (since she would have caved in after about five minutes). I snuggled with my daughter, held her close, told her she didn't need it, everything would be fine, and after much protests and screams, she fell asleep after about 20 minutes, binkyless, and that was that.

The next night, she didn't even ask for one. Nor the night after that. And now, after four nights, she's doing great - no more binkys at naps at day care, none at home, and she didn't even express interest in a binky when she saw the new baby with one. She did ask for one briefly this morning, when she was half-awake, but I just told her she didn't need it, hugged her, and she was fine.

So that went far easier than I imagined it would. We probably could have done it far sooner. It is great to see how well she handled it, after sleeping with one basically every day since she was born. My daughter is growing up!

More later on how she handled having some competition (i.e. new baby).

1 comment:

J at said...

Congratulations on your new baby, and on a battle that isn't as bad as you had feared it would be. WHEW! Our experience was similar, in that we thought it would be horrid, and it wasn't fun, but it went faster than we expected.