January 5, 2015

Breakin Up is Hard to Do.

By Amy

A couple months ago, my son said goodbye to his soulmate: his beloved binky.

The time had come.  My son was 2 1/2 years old--too old for a binky--but I'd let him keep it this long cause I was so afraid of the repercussions of taking it away.  I envisioned nights of bawling, possible thumb-sucking, losing trust in his parents forever, years of counseling, a lifetime of repressed grief...etc.  He's a sensitive little guy, and I know this change would throw him for a loop.

Now, I know 2 1/2 years old is too old for a binky obsession.  Many moms are like, "Get rid of the binky no later than 12 months..."  But, he seriously loved the thing.  And, I must admit, so did I!  He only got it for sleep time since he was like 18 months, but man when he popped in that binky at nap and bedtime, it was like a magic sleep switch.  When he'd wake in the night, I hear him fuss for like 5 seconds, then he'd stick his bink in, and then...blissful sleep.  That's how it had been since he was 10 months.  Now, when your kid can put themselves back to sleep like that, (especially since he was such a wretched sleeper before that, waking and bawling till I came to rescue him up to 12 times some nights) you're not too eager to do anything that would upset that routine.  Sleep is so important for toddlers! (And mommas.)

But, he really was getting too old for a pacifier and I worried about his teeth getting messed up.  Also, towards the end, he started to act like an overly-clingy, needy boyfriend...he'd cry and whine every time they were separated, ask for it multiple times a day, etc.  So I had to be the firm "no binky besides sleep time" enforcer, while he had meltdowns; that was getting on my nerves in a bad way.

So, my brilliant idea (aka, pinterest's brilliant idea) was to float his binkies away on a bunch of helium balloons.

Now I had prepped Hayden for a couple days, telling him that he was too old for binkies now cause "You are such a big boy!" (insert overly enthusiastic mommy voice.)  I knew that we couldn't just pull a sneaky move and cut his binky or something...cause we have a few others in the house since we have an infant.  Plus, I knew he'd just say, "Ok, it's broken, let's go to the store and get a new bink."  No, he needed to understand that HE was done with binkys--that he was simply too old.   I also knew, because he's a sensitive little dude and needs time to adjust and make peace with changes, that he needed a way to say goodbye.  I figured fun balloons would soften the blow, or distract from what was really happening...or something.  Every time I told him that we are going to float his binky away, and he would just look at me kind of confused.  Little did he know I was fer real.  I also prepped him with bribery, of course.  I told him after we floated his binky away, we'd go get some fries!  That part he did understand.  (He looooves fries.)  So, on a Monday afternoon, I busted down to the dollar store and bought a pack o' heliums.  But I forgot the minor detail that it had been getting dark earlier.  (oops!)  So it was pretty much dark outside when I got home with the shiny mylar balloons.

Turns out that minor detail saved our bacon.

As Patrick (my hub) tied the binky to the balloons, we were both talking like this was the happiest adventure ever: Yahoo!  Balloons!  Binky is going for a fun trip!  SO cool!

Sorry for the crappy phone pics.

We let Hayden carry the balloons as we trooped outside.  Then, we told our little dude it was time to say goodbye.  With no hesitation, Hayden said, "Bye, bye bink!" and released them.  (He probably had no problem letting go because of the anticipation of getting to see the balloons and bink float up into the sky...I was shocked he didn't cry!  haha...Gotta love distraction!)

It rose about 15 feet...

and got stuck in a freakin tree.  

Patrick started whacking the branches with a rake to get the bink and balloons unstuck.  And then...

the rake was stuck in the tree too. 

This was getting ridiculous.

After a few minutes, Patrick was able to get the rake out, and then he hit the branches over and over till the balloons started to break loose and float away!  The bad part: the balloons broke free but the binky was STILL stuck in the tree.  The good part: it was dark enough that Hayden couldn't tell.

So we said, "Bye bye binky!" again and waved to the balloons floating away.  I said, "Ok, Hayden lets go inside, it's cold!" and whispered to Patrick, "Finish it."  Then, he came in a few minutes later, nodded, and said, "It's done."...like we're in some old time mob movie.  Poor binky was supposed to have a glorious end floating into the clouds, but because of the dang tree, he was laid to rest amid the garbage in our dumpster.  (I actually am pretty sad typing that.  What a crappy way for Bink to end after 2 1/2 years of loyal service!  I'm a monster.)

Well, we went out for burgers and fries, and he seemed pretty chipper--until bedtime and reality set in.  He was sad, but still went to sleep.  The next day's naptime, however, was a sobfest.

After that first night, Hayden had about 3 days of tearful bedtimes and naptimes.  He started waking up scared and weepy, and even begged through tears that his Dada go up in the sky to get binky back.  (So freakin sad.)  Whenever he asked for "binker" I just told him, "Oh, you're a big boy so you don't need binkies anymore! It floated away in the sky.  Yay!  OH, wasn't that so fun watching the balloons?!"  Now, I adamantly believe in not lying to my son, but I can truly say, "Your binky floated away in the sky!" because it DID float in the sky!  (...ok, so it only went up about 15 feet, but it still floated in the sky.)

During the three sad days, we reassured him with lots of hugs and told him that he is so so safe in our home, that he still has his favorite fuzzy blanket and stuffed animals, and that if he is scared he can pray and ask Heavenly Father for help.  One of these mornings, he told me, "I got scared and said, 'God, God, help me!" :)  So, I guess the lesson sunk in.  I love that kid. :)  We also got him a special little nightlight for his room at night that he loves.

After about a week, he didn't talk about binky anymore.  He doesn't steal his brothers and he's doing great!  After how attached that boy was to his bink, it's nothing short of a miracle.

Would I tell other moms to not do a binky?  Will I skip the binky with my second child?  Nay.  It saved our ever-lovin sanity with Hayden.  He cried so much as an infant, and the binky was one of his only comforts.  As a desperate, anxious, first-time mom, the bink was a life-saver.  Plus, babies have a need to suck, so it is very soothing for them.  So, no, even though it was a hard few days to go through during the separation, it was worth it for 2 1/2 years of comfort.  And heck, a binky is way better than the thumb!  Cause you can't cut off a thumb and send it into the sky.

Goodbye binker!  You were a good bink.  RIP.

His first binky.  Oh my gosh, a sleeping baby is THE cutest thing. In the World.
Moms, what is your take on pacifiers?  Love them?  Hate them?  Have you had to go to desperate measures to get rid of the bink?  I'd love to hear! :)

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  1. Bentley hated binkies so we never had to deal with those with him. He does however have a special blankie that he uses for nap and bedtimes. I don't know if it is really necessary to wean him of that like a binkie though, what do you think, I can't decide.

    1. Hey, I think a blanket is totally fine. It doesn't hurt anything. (Unlike a binky which will mess up teeth and hinder speaking if used for too long or too much) I'll let Hayden sleep with his blanky as long as he wants. :) I think it was Tamara who took a little square of her comfort blanket to college. :)

  2. We let Will use a binkie until he was 2 1/2 and I think people who think they need to ween their kids from a binkie early are crazy ;) We did the same thing as you -- only used them for bedtime and naptime. I was worried about how we would get rid of it, but it all worked out on its own. We only had one binkie left, and the nipple on it tore. Will was big enough we could explain to him the binkie was broken and couldn't be fixed. He was sad, but got over it pretty quickly because he was old enough to understand why it was gone. Ellie refuses to use a binkie and I hate it. She is a lot harder to comfort and pacify than Will was. Will hardly ever cried because a binkie fixed all problems. Ellie cries all the time. I love binkie babies! ;)

    1. Ha, I hear ya! I had to work to get my second baby to like a pacifer, but luckily he finally did! It's such a lifesaver in church, in the car, in stores, and when he's overstimulated and hard to get to sleep, etc.

  3. Reality check here for me! My son is also 2 1/2 and still takes a binky at bedtime and naptime. He's only allowed to have it during those times and it's been that way since he was 10 months old. But suddenly he has been sneaking in to bring them downstairs and asks to "scunnel (snuggle) mommy". And then my heart breaks and I let him snuggle me for a minute occasionally and then we put them back. I am TERRIFIED to take it away. He is super smart and very sensitive and talks a lot about being scared at night. :( But I should probably do it now before my kids start sharing a room in 3 weeks....

    1. Good luck, Paige! Our boys sound similar. It's hard to know when the time is right! And "scunnel" is sooo cute! :)

  4. Oh my, Amy! I'm sorry but I couldn't help LOLing at the picture of the rake stuck in the tree! But what a wonderful idea you had for saying bye to binky. So awesome and a great story to tell at Hayden's wedding someday!


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