Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Operation Binky Fairy

Well, we did it. We successfully removed all the binkies, not Beck. Daphne! Yes, it's true. Our three and a half year old has still been sleeping with a binky. I know that must make us look like the biggest sucker parents that ever walked the earth. But I swear, in all other regards we are super responsible, whip cracking parents! (Ok, one of us is at least).

First let me backtrack. How did we get ourselves in this situation? It started when my first child, Daphne, was a baby. I, loving sleep more than anything on earth, decided I was going to get her sleeping through the night as soon as humanly possible. And one thing that really helped was a binky. By six weeks old she was sleeping midnight to 6am, pretty decent. By 8 weeks it was 11 to 7am. And from 10 weeks on, she slept 12 hours a night, plus several naps in the day. As long as she had her hideously ugly green Soothie binky, life was good. Eventually we lost a few green Soothies, and I discovered that they carried them at Wal-Mart. And in various colors! We stocked up on them--pink, blue, green, and I even had a purple preemie sized one from when she was born. Soon we had Soothies coming out our ears. I tried to limit her to one at a time, but she would find them hidden in nooks and crannies (i.e. under the furniture, covered in dust), and suddenly she'd appear walking around the house with a handful of multi-colored binkies, clutching them to her chest like treasure. Or chocolate.

But it started to bother me about age 3 that she was still so attached to them. She had them with her everywhere she went. And then, of course, she'd set them down and forget about them. so when nap time came, I'd have to do a massive search to try to find one. Plus, the doctor told me it was affecting her teeth. So I decided to limit them to in-bed use only. That went fine. It only took once for me to tell her that I would take her binkies away and put them on top of the dresser if she took them out of her bed, and she was very good about leaving them in there. But 6 months later, even the in-bed policy bothered me. She was 3 1/2, for goodness sake! Far too old for binkies. But you should see the way she held them, lovingly. Caressing them. And the way she sucked on them--the way you gasp air when you're swimming and you've gone too deep, when you finally make it to the surface. Like air. Like life itself. When she'd lay down at night, she'd put one in her mouth, pull her blankie up to her face, and begin this ritual of sucking and rubbing the blankie across the backs of her hands, back and forth, slowly, Savoring the taste and smell and touch of her security objects. It was heaven for her. Pure heaven. You could see it on her face. THAT is the reason it took us this long to get the cajones to take her binkies away. Taking away that much pleasure from someone seems just cruel.

This is Daphne at age 20 months or so, enjoying all her binkies together for the first time.... is about growing up, coming of age, doing away with things that are beneath you and which give you buck teeth. So I bit the bullet and came up with a plan. Operation Binky Fairy. I began prepping her a week or two before the actual night. Telling her about the Binky Fairy who would come and take her binkies to all the little babies who don't have any (hitting on her compassion), and telling her that the Binky Fairy would leave her a present instead. For the next few days, every time I tucked her in for a nap or at night, I'd remind her in this magical way that her binky's days were numbered. I even tried a trial separation. It didn't go well. There was screaming and crying and thrashing involved. It didn't bode well.

And then, over the next few days, there were questions:

Mommy, what will the Binky Fairy say to me when she comes? (You'll be asleep)
Mommy, how many binkies will the Binky Fairy take? (Uh, I hate to break this to you...)
Mommy, when will the Binky Fairy bring them back? (Jeez, this is going to sound like yet another piece of bad news....)
Mommy, how many presents will the Binky Fairy give me? I have lots of binkies. (Oh yeah. Well, the Binky Fairy might need to go do some more shopping...)

Finally the big night came. We let her suck on her binkies a couple of hours before bed, just for fun. She looked at me wide eyed. "OUTSIDE my bed?" Yes. "And you won't take them away and hide them?" Boy, I sure sound nice, don't I? And then that night, when she was fast asleep, we rounded up all the binkies, put a new stuffed pony on her nightstand, a new coloring book, and a large, prize-filled chocolate Kinder egg. All went as planned until 4am when Daphne woke up to go potty. As soon as she was done, her first question was, "Where's my binky?" Big Daddy told her that the Binky Fairy had come and taken them all away. She didn't cry. She didn't scream. She didn't even thrash a little. She just climbed back in bed to go to sleep. And then as soon as we were gone, she climbed back out and ate the entire chocolate egg. At 4am. And then at 6am, when she was still wired on sugar, but still not screaming for her binky, I knew we had done the right thing.

It's been a good run, Soothies. Thanks for all the good times. I sure hope they have you in Heaven, or one girl I know is going to be very disappointed.


Chelsea said...

That is great that it went so well! I think sometimes these sorts of transitions are easier on kids who are old enough to be reasoned with. Or bribed. :)

Kristine said...

Way to go! I'm so glad my boys never cared for the binkey so I didn't have to take them away! So do you think Daphne will take a massively long nap today?

Omgirl said...

No. Unfortunately, having no binky for the last 3 days, she hasn't napped at ALL. Her binky really soothed her into a sleepy state. Without it, she's been sleeping much worse at night and boycotting naps altogether. Shoot!

Jeanette said...

Max is just younger than Daphne and he technically hasn't had a binky for over a year but he is a binky theif! Any chance he can get he steals Savannah's. We find him hiding behind the couch takeing his few last "hits" on the binky. He is a binky addict! He looks like a drug addict trying to get the last hit in before the drug is gone. Next step the Binky Fairy is coming to my house any day now to take Savannah's. I hope ours goes well.

MiaKatia said...

I love a girl who eats an entire chocolate egg at four in the morning! We gave our binkys away to a new baby in the ward and it seemed to work. I am glad it went so well for you. Hopefully she will go back to napping soon.

L. said...

I haven't laughed so hard in months! I thought I'd fall off my computer chair. The Binkey Fairy idea is great! I assumed they would disappear one at a time with a gift left in it's place, but I can see that a clean break was needed. Now we have to watch out for Beck's binkies being binknapped! Or is the Binkey Fairy going to visit him soon too?

(And how about the blankie? Shall I murmur to your friends that a certain daughter of mine (no names mentioned) STILL has her own blankie, and hugs it to sleep when hubby's out of town?)

tiburon said...

Eek - parting with the binky is a sad day. We make them ditch them as soon as they turn two. It sucks :(

Holly said...

Way to go! Im glad it went so well for you guys. We took Landons away the day he turned 2, and it was a cryfest for a week. I almost want to take Chayce's away right now so he can't ask for it.

And don't feel bad, there is 4.5 year old in my ward who has to have one everywhere she goes, not just bed

Jen said...

Mason had his until he was 3. One day Andre just took them and told him they were gone, He had a hard time the first day but after that he did just fine. Naps went away, but the were going anyway. I am glad it went so well. :)

Sara said...

Can I use that idea on Ridge!!! I'm thinking 3 1/2 years old sounds just fine.

Anonymous said...

Does Beck use binkies? At least you know what works now.

Jennifer said...

This is classic! I am in the exact same situation right now with my first born (3 1/2 year old son, Nate), AND the same annoying soothie binkies! How about the fact that as a first time mom three years ago I didn't even know to switch binkies so it's embarrassing that my son is still using an infant pacifier, oy. Thanks for the binkie fairy motivation. As I was tucking Nate in tonight, I (for kicks) planted the seed about the binkie fairy (as seen on Super Nanny once) and he was skeptical (these kids are smart already). So afterward I Googled binkie fairy and your posting was the first one to come up and I was immediately drawn to the video of Daphne with her soothies - too funny! I've decided that this is it: I am officially starting the process. Thanks for the laughs and wish me good luck. Oh and this whole thing is making me appreciate the fact that my 6 month old daughter does not use a binky. I may eat those words when she's teething, etc., but right now I so appreciate it!