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Gotta Get That Paci Fix (Plus, a Video!)

Taylor Newman

Kaspar’s loved his binkies from the get-go, and frankly, so have I. Sure, it’s nice to get an unobstructed view of his face, but the paci has consistently been an all-purpose ‘make-it-better’ (not to mention ‘snooze’) button, and my general philosophy around parenting and other matters runs along the lines of ‘if it ain’t broke…’

Meanwhile, Aaron’s been asking me, with increasing frequency, when we plan to wean Kaspar of his binky fix. I kind of laughed it off the first several times, but when the question came up for a third round, I knew it was actually something he must be thinking pretty seriously about (he’s not the kind of man who talks just to hear himself talk, if you know what I mean). So, I asked him “Why do you feel like we need to wean him of the pacifier?” Aaron’s also not the kind of guy who pays attention to average milestone dates, or cares at all what other people’s kids are doing when, so I was really kind of curious as to why he’d taken notice on this particular topic. “Well, he’s starting to talk a little bit,” Aaron answered (this answer surprised me… there I was thinking my husband was, for the first time in his life, bowing to social pressure). “I’d kind of like him to run with that, without something in his mouth. Plus, we’re constantly having to dig through the car and couch cushions looking for them at the least opportune times.” All true. The dude had a point. Still, I didn’t think the time was right just yet (did I mention snooze button? Oh right, I did), so I said something like “Hmmm, yeah, that’s true. Well, we can start doing it gradually.” And then I didn’t do anything about it.

Bear suit

Kaspar at just a few weeks old. Bear suit + binky= bliss.

Kaspar’s binkies get a lot of commentary from friends and passers-by. They’re a notable accessory, really; they’re colorful, and feature little images of Jolly Rodgers or electric guitars. Plus, you can see Kaspar smiling behind his binky, sometimes holding it between his teeth, askew to one side, and it’s an interesting (straight up adorable) look. Thus the commentary. For example, our friend Jessie said, “You sure are rocking that pacifier, aren’t you?” as Kaspar grinned at her, sidelong. Then, she told us about her little brother, who—at four-- stashed one of his pacifiers in a secret attic hiding spot while his family prepared a ceremonious burial of what they thought was the entire collection. He later confessed that he’d steal away for a fix without anyone knowing… alone in the attic… just him and the pacifier. I assume he eventually dropped the habit—though I couldn’t say for sure—and I found this story completely hilarious, but Aaron… he looked a little pale.

The question’s come up again since then, and Kaspar’s been talking at us more and more (he does it through the binky, even, saying “apple”, clear as day). With any questionable parenting issue I tend to think ahead to when he’ll be twenty-six or so—maybe because that’s my age, or maybe that’s just arbitrary—and ask myself if this particular issue will have any bearing on who he’ll be then. For example: if I want him to get to 26 (definite yes), I can’t let him play with, say, knives, as much as he might think he wants to (definite no). Not even a little. So I exercise my mom-authority and make for a safe scenario. But in the case of Kaspar learning to walk or talk or do general growing-up things, I know he’ll do them whenever he wants to, and that by the time he’s 26 it won’t be even a consideration anymore (plus, he’s already shown us that he goes ahead and gets there without our prodding), so I see no need to facilitate or push it beyond encouraging and cheering him on as he stretches his proverbial wings. I tend to assume he’ll give up the pacifier on his own, but… maybe not?


A couple of friends whose kids are a little older than Kaspar noticed he’s still digging the binky and offered up their experiences in getting it gone (these experiences were not offered in a judgmental way—like no one was saying the word ‘should’; it was just an interesting conversation around paci-prone kids). One mom introduced the “Binky Fairy,” with some fanfare, saying she’d come in the night to get the binkies and leave a treat in her wake. Apparently that worked. Another couple just took them out of the crib at night when their daughter turned one. She forgot all about it by night number three. Lastly, however, another mom said “Why take it away? He likes it.” Which is kind of how I feel. For now, anyway. If he’s got a serious problem at four, we might have to work something else out.

What do you think? Is this something we’re going to need to do, or do kids usually move away from their pacifiers of their own accord? I haven’t bought any in a while, and since we are constantly losing them, Kaspar’s been going without for long daytime stretches. But at nap time, and night, they’re still indispensable, the final step on the way to sleep town.

Do, or did, your kids love pacifiers? Did you take them away at some point? How (cold turkey, gradual wean, binky fairy)? How old is too old for sucking on a binky (I have to admit that a four-year-old with a paci looks a little weird)? Any funny stories, like my friend Jessie’s, around your kiddo’s reluctance to give it up?