I believe we're good parents. We try to follow the rules. We make sacrifices to ensure that our kids eat well, sleep properly and are stimulated to the level required by their individual dispositions.
They appear to be intelligent, well-adjusted, happy and doing the things they should be doing at their respective ages.
Except that we let our almost two year-old suck on a pacifier when she's sleepy. Shame on us.
We introduced it to her way back when to get her to sleep, since she was never much of a self-soother. By six weeks, she was hooked.
At our year dental and doctor appointments, we were told to wean her from it, but we were weak. She gave up her baba and eventually her crib and almost her diapers. But the nukka ... come on!
The recent faceplant incident brought about the change we needed. Because she caused trauma to her front gums and teeth, she couldn't have the nukka anymore. Holy hell.
I knew that first nukka-free night wasn't going to be a walk in the park. We got ready for bed, brushed our teeth, gathered up our best books, took some Advil and climbed into the big bed. The big bed is our bed - the bed she's been falling asleep in and sleeping all night in since Mairin came home.
Once the books were read and we'd called for a cup of warm milk and we went potty three times and inquired as to Mairin's whereabouts, Lei began begging for her nukka like a crackhead for her pipe. "PUH-UH-UH-LEASE can I have a nukka mama?"
It was so sad. She sobbed and wailed for 97 minutes before finally accepting my explanation that the booboo to her mouth would get much worse if I let her have her nukka. I explained that babies can have them because they have no teeth - they need them. Big girls don't.
"I'm not a big girl MAMA. Sniff. Sniff. I'm a toddler."
A solid point, but not one that would sway me, unfortunately.
She wore herself out at minute 96, wiped her tears, rolled over dramatically on her tummy and said, "Tickle my back." So I did.
And she fell asleep.
And that was the end of that.
The next day, Dr. Yum explained to her, as I had, that a nukka simply wasn't appropriate for a toothy toddler - especially one with an injury like hers. This appeared to help her make sense of her loss and she didn't mention the nukka all day.
Later that evening, as we prepared for bed I (and what I was sure would be another bedtime catasrophe) Leighton handed me one of Mairin's nukkas (that she stole right from her little mouth) and said "Here mama. It hurts."
Brilliant. I thought of trying that, but what if it didn't hurt that bad and the whole thing backfired? Then I'd really be screwed. Still, I'm glad she gave it a shot and nutching that damn thing was too painful to continue, because Leighton went to bed that night without asking once for the addictively soothing little device.
And so did Mairin. I prefer NOT to go through that 97 minutes of nukka detox hell ever again, if possible. I'm proud to say that Little Sis is already learning to self-soothe.