I have been relatively offline for the past month or so. There was PAX, the fair, a huge garage sale, weekend trips, plus a lot of cleaning and renovating here at the homestead . . . turns out that being out of school was busier than being in it!
Anyway, on to more important things! I was strolling through some pictures of this past year and I stumbled on some from the day we said goodbye to my son’s binkie. We had been trying for a while. We bought a book called No More Pacifiers! that didn’t really work, tried to buy another book called Bye Bye Binky that was so astronomically expensive, it had better come with a personal binkie coach that would talk your desperate toddler off the ledge! (I know no children’s book worth $45!) We even tried bribery and when we got desperate we just flat-out said no. (That was when BK cried so hard he almost threw up.)
Ultimately, I think it was a combination of a few things:
1. We had started eliminating it in stages. He was never really allowed it when he was awake, but we eliminated it from nap time, then we stopped bringing it to preschool, then we took it out of his mouth right after he fell asleep at night.
2. BK was already getting ready.
3. Lastly, and what I feel was most important for closure for BK, we said goodbye.
BK gets very attached to things. He has slept with the same blanket since birth and had his bff “Ducky” since his first Easter. His binkie was no different. We had to find a way to give it a proper goodbye, or else it would be hard for him to let go. I give all credit to his pediatric dentist who recommended we tie it to a balloon and send it off to the binkie fairies. THAT MAN IS PURE GENIUS! And so, a story, not unlike the tooth fairy was born.
We explained to BK that there were babies out there waiting for binkies (this was a hard concept for him to understand, since his little brother sucks his thumb and has no interest in them.)
It was our job to tie the binkies to balloons that would send them off to the binkie fairy. It was the binkie fairy’s job to distribute them to new babies who needed them. For his efforts, he would be awarded by the binkie fairy with a small treat under his pillow:
BK stared at me with silent 3-year-old doubting eyes. I wondered if he would go for it.
“Why do the new babies need binkies? Why can’t they suck their thumb like [LK], or why can’t their Mommy’s and Daddy’s buy them binkies?”
Crap. “Well, not all babies like to suck their thumb, you didn’t. And remember how we talked about how not everyone has a Mommy or a Daddy? Those babies need binkies too. Sometimes families don’t have the money to buy new binkies. Those babies also need binkies.”
BK paused for a moment.
“We will take you to the store to pick out your own balloons to send them off.”
“Ok. Let’s do it. Those babies need binkies. But, Mommy? Can the binkie fairy just leave my prize on the kitchen counter? I don’t want her to scare me when I sleep.”
“Sure, hon.” Yessssssssssssssssssssssssss! [Internal Mommy dance!]
We collected all the binkies and went to the store and picked out a very unique bunch of balloons. BK chose one that had a duck on it and said “It’s a Boy!” Maybe for the babies. Maybe for the duck. I don’t know.
We also picked out a “keep” balloon, a simple red Mylar star for him to hang onto, so he had one after he released all the rest.
This is where we got hung up: It takes an enormous amount of balloons to lift a binkie! More than you would think. So we wound up attaching two binkies to six balloons, one Mylar, the rest latex to get maximum lift off. The remaining binkies I collected and disposed of later.
We took BK out to our quiet street and my bff documented the whole event. It went surprisingly well!
BK waved when we released them, then began to cry, the pictures are really precious. But it turned out he was crying because he wanted the balloons! Which goes to show you he was really ready. He asked about them occasionally, but that soon faded. And he was delighted when he found his Spiderman puzzle from the binkie fairy on the kitchen counter just as he asked!
In fact, since it was so close to his 4th birthday, our good friend and artist put the moment on paper as a birthday present: