Proof That the Universe Does Look Out For Moms

Cee loves her pacifiers.

Loves them.

If our house were burning down and I had already passed out all over the kitchen floor from smoke inhalation because I was too busy eating all the Pop-Tarts to notice that I was also inhaling smoke along with those rectangles of perfection, my poor child, who – let’s be honest – would likely be on her own along with her father for the rest of their lives because smoke and Pop-Tarts are a deadly combination and people have died due to much less, had to find her own way out of the inferno without my help, the first thing she would go for is that little hunk of plastic and silicon.

She’d know that her mother was a lost cause, but her Nuk paci was worth fighting for. That and her bunny. Cee, her bunny, and her paci are the Three Musketeers. Together ’til the end.

sleepy stroller

And while I am completely OK with her having her bunny well into her teenage years since I am a lover of lovies myself – I still keep my own baby blanket tucked under my pillow – I’m not too keen on her sucking on that paci until she’s five. Orthodontics are expensive, and we here in our family like to spend our money on the important things. Pop-Tarts.


(Not kidding.)

So we’ve been trying to break her of her paci habit since she’s getting bigger, and the longer we wait the harder it may be. We’ve been limiting her usage to car rides and when she’s going down to sleep. Usually we have pretty smooth sailing, but when she gets upset and needs to calm down, her kneejerk reaction is to go for her paci and bunny and sooth herself that way. While we’re happy to give her the bunny, we want to hold off on the paci, and therein lies the problem.

Apparently, a bunny without a paci is useless. She has to have both of them to get to her little toddler nirvana.

The loudest and most dramatic tantrums she’s been having lately are initiated when she can’t have her paci. (For full details on her tantrums because you know you want to hear all about them, click here.) It’s harrowing, and she completely looks like a junkie in the middle of a withdrawal when she’s having a paci tantrum. There needs to be some sort of pacifier version of a methadone clinic.

Yesterday, Cee went on for a good forty minutes of weeping, screaming, and throwing herself around in her Pack ‘N Play.  I probably broke every rule in the book by eventually letting her out and giving her a paci, but I did it because we live in an apartment building and I don’t want to be a bad neighbor. Also, I was on the verge of tears myself. While I’m generally really good at putting my own emotions on the backburner when she’s incredibly upset over whatever grain of sand has been introduced into her toddler machinery, I do have a heart. If she’s crossed over to a place where she’s unlikely to ever regain her composure without motherly compassion – and at that point she had – I’m going to step in and help her. And if that means she gets to use her paci for five minutes so we both can relax, then that’s what we’re going to do.

We were both shaken, so we went into the living room and cozied up on the sofa with her bunny and her paci. I turned on Sesame Street so we could decompress together. And do you know what episode was seredipitously being aired that day?

The one about giving up your pacifier.

It was one of those moments when God is saying, “Doncha worry. I’ve got the whole television schedule in My hands. You’re not alone, Mama.”

And when you’re in the middle of a toddler tantrum, it’s easy to feel like you are alone.

Y’know, that Elmo? He’s not so bad. She got up from the sofa, walked over to the TV, and held her paci up to him.

Like me on Facebook? You should totally like me on Facebook. It’s like a warm puppy in your heart. Or bacon. Or the way Sesame Street always comes through.


  1. Well, wadda ya know. Elmo’s good for something other than making me need Valium.

    1. I was as surprised as you are.

  2. I’m going to have to play that episode for my son! He has the same attachment only it’s a bear/paci combo. If he’s holding his bear and can’t have the paci as well, he will chuck the bear. It’s dirt. It’s nothing without paci. If you tell him to put his paci back in the morning (we are down to nap and night time), he will also put bear back no matter how often you tell him he can keep the bear. I hope when we finally kick the paci habit he still hangs on to bear.

    1. I hope the episode works for you! We are by no means rid of the paci, but when a trusted adviser (AKA Elmo) endorses life without one, it’s one extra strategy in your toolbox to eventually give the paci the boot. Greetings from Bunny to Bear!

  3. AWWWWWW! Cee sharing paci!

    I had the pleasure of breaking my niece from her paci. And breaking really is the right term. Crack addict was our thought. She stood in the middle of her crib screaming and would fall to one side without catching herself. Three days of noggin bumps and we were done, but I think it represents a good ten years off the end of my life. May the force be with you.

    We’re breaking the thumb habit over Spring Break. Because I don’t want my week off to be fun, I guess.

    1. LOLOLOL. We are probably going to give potty training a go over Spring Break too so we are equal haters of fun.

  4. Maybe she learned something more important than less paci – more sharing!

    1. Life lessons all over the place here! ;D

  5. Baby C never took to a pacifier so I lucked out there.

    1. As far as I’m concerned, you are a genius for never giving him one in the first place.

      1. We tried. He just wouldn’t take it.

  6. My oldest was a paci lover. We had a ceiling collapse in an apartment we were living in. The managers gave us one of their show apartments to stay in for a few nights while they fixed the problem. When we ran out we left the paci behind and, due to the toxins from the ceiling, we weren’t allowed to go back to the old apartment until they cleaned it out. There were so many tears, so much anger and grief, we were all a mess. I ended up holding her and rocking her and stroking her head and singing to her until she fell asleep at midnight, five hours past her usual bedtime. She never asked for a paci again, although the trauma of that night probably burned a whole in her psyche that I will never be able to fill.

    1. I feel that trauma. Little people make such simple things so hard.

  7. I love stories like that. It’s the little things God does that really let us know He’s paying attention and loves us. :)

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure that the need for braces is hereditary. Of my three kids, the one who needed braces the least amount of time sucked her thumb (WAY worse than a pacifier). Anyway, just an encouraging thought for you. :)

    1. Sometimes I think that the deeper I get into parenthood, the more open my eyes are to the ways God provides for me in the smallest ways. Every single day is an elaborate dance, and while I know that even without my daughter God would still be caring for me, I know he’s guiding me in the steps I take.

      1. Amen to that. And you’ll be especially grateful for His presence in the MUCH more challenging teen/early adult years! LOL

  8. Wait – your house would be burning, and you wouldn’t stop eating the pop tarts long enough to toast them over an open flame???

    (Was there something else I should have taken from this post?) ;)

    Sesame Street always comes to the rescue!

    1. MMMMMMMM! I never thought of that! Yum-o!

  9. Oops! Not her thumb, her 2 middle fingers! It’s even worse than a thumb!

  10. I had one daughter that didn’t want a pacifier and one that did. I would take the pacifier any day of the week. That kid knew how to comfort herself in a way her sister did not. Having been there with the pacifier thing, I wanted to tell you, mom to mom, not to worry about it. I think you are going in the right direction by limiting the pacifier. In my humble opinion, trying to eliminate it while causing epic showdowns isn’t worth the trama. The pacifier finally whet away totally in our house when my daughter was old enough to appreciate “the bribe.” I guess she was 4? Anyway. I put up a little calendar and everyday she didn’t use it she got a sticker and at the end of 2 weeks I think, she got a Barbie. The pacifier was in the drawer, we didn’t thow it out, so she was conforted by knowing it could come back, even though it didn’t. Not a single tantrum was every had. And my dentist said it was NOT going to ruin her mouth. I would just slowly work towards getting to the point htat she only uses it at night and then, bribe time! OK, lets call it “award time.”

    1. I completely agree. The more we figure out which road we’re going to take in the whole pacifier limitation waltz, the more my husband and I agree that hard-lining it is just not going to work for her (or us) because, as you said, her pacifier is part of her coping technique. It’s not a crutch but a thing she finds real comfort in, and she’ll give it up when she finds another method of coping with her stress. Sometimes I have to remind myself that in the grand scheme of things, she *is* still a baby. I’m with her 100% of the time so sometimes I forget that and put too much pressure on her to grow up. Thanks for your wisdom, Kim ;D

  11. awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww – PBS comes through again. Poor Cee – I remember when Door was a binky-inchworm addict (his pacifier was stuck thru a small bean baby inchworm that was easier for him to grab then the pacifier). But one day, he was done and that was it. We gave him a water bottle and he seemed to exchange one for the other – and to this day, 11 yrs later, he goes nowhere without a water bottle. And it’s not even spiked with rum! Good luck – one day when she’s getting ready to go on a date, you’ll be wondering how you could have ever been undone by a mere tantrum compared to THIS :)

    1. Geez, don’t I know it. Parenthood is so cruel in that once you think it can’t get harder, it does. I remember thinking when she was a newborn that there was no possible way anything could be more miserable than sleep deprivation. Then she became a toddler, and sleep deprivation is peanuts compared to your child actually biting and kicking you out of anger. Dear lord, the teenager years will likely do me in.

      1. I’ll let you know if I survive :) I’m pretty sure you’re a far more prepared parent that I am! So I figure if I can, you most certainly will!

        1. But you’re a librarian! Can’t librarians do ANYTHING?

          1. Um… we can FIND out how to do anything – execution of that anything? Well… :)

      2. I laugh when I think of how much anxiety I put into potty training….

        1. We’re on deck for that. I’m scared by all the laundry I’ll be doing.

          1. Here’s my two cents for what it’s worth – we spent way too much time ‘trying’ to get him to use the potty – and it was more stress than it’s worth. At one point (he was 3.5 and everyone else’s kid was trained at 3 months it seemed) we just let it alone and kept the potty in the bathroom – and one day he just took off his diaper and used the bathroom – and never looked back.

            My friend did all this stuff and I think the outcome would have been the same had she done really nothing but offer the potty and talk about it a little.

  12. Oh yeah…I can remember having to turn the car around several times because we couldn’t find the binkie. It was so important that I bought a small stash of them and had one tucked away in several places, almost like having a hidden pistol in every room. You never know when you might have to pull one out!

    1. One time we took a week-long road trip to visit family and we brought two pacis along. I wish I could put it on my resume that NEITHER were lost the entire time.

    1. I know! For what other reason would He have invented wine? ;D

  13. “Toddler Nirvana” haha. I know my days are numbered when it comes to the baby phase, toddler phase is quickly approaching. I hope I can have your sense of humor!

  14. I hope you DVR’ed that episode of Sesame Street if Cee still doesn’t entirely grasp the message that the time is now to quit sucking on the fake tit. But, of course, bunny’s welcome to stick around.

  15. Logan is almost 2.5 and we do car and bed. And doctor, because doctor is associated with pain for him. He usually needs it. I want to ditch the thing out the window while speeding down the interstate, but then my sanity kicks in. We’ll be keeping the binky for a little bit longer. I’ll definitely be watching that episode of Sesame Street with him tonight, though. See how it goes.

  16. I love when stuff like that happens! You are one with the universe right now, momma Em. If it makes you feel any better (or worse) I had my pacifier until I was 7. Yikessss.

  17. My friends couldn’t figure out how to get their daughter to give it up either. Then they agreed she would plant the paci so it could grow into a beautiful flower. She helped her mom and dad bury it in a pot and then she went to bed. They replaced that pot with a full, beautiful flower and she was so amazed by the flower, she forgot all about the paci. Happy ending. :)

  18. It’s really interesting to me how culturally rooted parenting practices are. With pacifiers, some cultures allow the kid to have it until age 4 or 5, no big.
    I wish you luck, and I honestly think that she’ll give it up when she’s ready.

  19. As I was reading this, I was I was going to tell you that just this week, I saw that same Elmo episode at the library and made a mental note of it. Then you shared it. Here’s my advice that you didn’t ask for. Wait. She’s about my little guy’s age (I think?) and with my middle child who was severely attached to his paci and blanket, we waited until 3. Leading up to 3, I tried to get more strict with it like he ONLY had it at bedtime (unless sick or super whiney). Then, about 3 months before his 3rd birthday, we started talking about when he turned 3, he would give us his paci and we would buy him a toy at the store. We talked about giving it up for a good three months. He was old enough to understand. Then, we stuck to our guns. It was a rough 3 days at bedtime he would cry for it for a long time before falling asleep, but now he is my best sleeper our of all of them. After 3 days, he didn’t bring it up anymore.

  20. Oh, goodness. Thanks for making this pregnant woman tear up.

  21. Hey Stranger! I’ve missed you… but love these days of tantrums and toddlerhood. I know, not really fair, but I already got through this… three times, so now I get to giggle (a little) as others go through it. You will too. The photo of her in the pack and play is priceless… priceless! The Danes tell kids that at a special age/time/day, kids send their paci off to other (smaller) kids who need them. Not sure how they make that work so well, but they do. I was just grateful that we go thru’ this fairly easily… I am almost afraid to point this out, but… umm… err… isn’t hat Elmo at the end of this post?? Deep breaths, Mama! xo

  22. Speaking from experience, if you think that there is ANY way that the dentists of today are going to let you get by without orthodontics for her – I’m afraid you are mistaken! One of tHose rackets that has just become tHe accepted norm in our society. Great story – we finally got my son to give up his pacifier when we told him to leave it for Santa with the plate of cookies at Christmas. Cutest thing ever.

  23. My son was attached to his pacifier until he was about a year old. He spit it out one day and never used it again. His blue blanket was quite another matter. He used to keep it on his bed until he was about nine I think it was. He then solemnly and carefully folded it and put it away. My daughter got used to a diaper being against her face from the time I burped her on my shoulder, She went from a diaper to a tea towel and finally gave it up in her teens (I think). I was another matter with me. I think I was about three before I gave up my pacifier. My mother never liked to take something like that away from a child and I was her youngest, so it got so worn she had to do repairs before the end. Take heart. Elmo wasn’t there for the young me or things might have been different.

  24. I sucked my thumb ’til 3rd grade (I know, I have issues), never had braces and my teeth aren’t too jacked up! Of course, back then the only kids I knew who got braces had a parent working for IBM. Oh, and potty training, I’ve done it three times and I swear by waiting until they are ridiculously old and ready. All of mine were about three years old and with my son it took less than 24 hours, with my daughters a few days each. I am all about the slacker approach to parenting… Whenever I read your stories about your daughter I get so emotional because I am done with those early years and I have these kids growing up all over the place and I just want to go back to when they would snuggle on the couch with me in front of Sesame Street! And I just have to say, your blog is going to be such a gift to her when she’s older! Take care!

  25. All I can say is, you are a wise mama for trying to break the paci habit now. I shudder just remembering what I went through with my son. (he was much older and does have an overbite now) My daughter I learned to slowly wean her earlier with the help of Elmo.

  26. I can relate, having been a dedicated thumb sucker far longer than I care to admit. And I can relate to you. Pop-Tarts are sacred. End of story. Maybe you could swap Pop-Tarts for pacis?

    Nah. Then you’d have to share.

  27. This post…the Pop-Tart love…oh my goodness, it’s like we’re long lost sisters. You. Complete. Me.

    The nurses gave Scout a paci when we were checking out of the hospital because it took so long and we actually needed to hear what they were saying. We haven’t given it to her since because she loved it so much. What do you give us? 2 more weeks before we cave and give it back?

  28. That Cee pic is so cute, Emily, I can’t possibly form a thought coherent enough to share right now.
    Great job all around – again.

  29. That’s how Elmo gets you. Necessary evils are real :)

    Beyond that, I want to scoop Cee up and eat her like a Pop Tart just thinking of her sharing her paci with the tv.

  30. Elmo saves the day! Yay for Elmo :-)

  31. I love “God moments” like this. Unexpected, seemingly insignificant to others (but means a lot to you) little ways He lets us know He really is paying that close attention to us. And, Elmo is awesome. I don’t even have kids yet but I love him.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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