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Paci Addiction

I’ll admit it. I was THAT mom who would give a sideways glance at kids still using a paci past the age of two, but that was before I really understood paci addiction. My first two babies wanted nothing to do with the paci, spitting it out the second I put it in their mouths. After assessing the nipple I thought, “Seriously, who designed this thing? It doesn’t look the real deal at all.” Then came my third baby and from the second they gave her that little plastic portal to peace in the hospital it’s been an ever-present source of both sanity and stress.

So I want to call us all out of the paci closet. I even called on the help of fellow moms with paci addicted kids to share their stories (anonymously of course). Here are the 5 stages of paci addiction as I see it.

Stage 1 – The Soothing Savior – In the beginning we love the fact that our baby will take a paci. It helps them self-sooth and sleep better at night. We practically bow down to the paci gods on those days when our child is crying nonstop and the answer is a simple bink away. You learn never to go anywhere without it. If you’re me, you buy one of those paci clips to keep it firmly attached to your child’s clothes because you’re tired of picking it up off the dirty floor and rinsing it and God forbid you lose it. Which brings us to…

Stage 2 – The Frantic Finder – This is the stage where you start looking at those little plastic nubs in a new light. When you find yourself racing off to Walmart in the middle of the night with three kids because the paci is lost and your child won’t take the backup paci because the nipple is too small and your child won’t sleep without it, you start to suspect there’s a problem.

You know the instant she gets her soothing suck on, she’ll hit the hay in peace and so you drive through detours and go to multiple stores because the dollar store down the street doesn’t stock the “right” paci. Oh you know what I’m talking about because with paci addiction comes a very real preference for a certain brand or nipple type. Oh, and you are pretty much guaranteed to find their paci after you get back from the store with the new one. Which brings us to…

Stage 3: The Paci Hoarder – You reach into your coat pocket and find them, you have them stashed in different drawers in your house, they’re stashed in purses, diaper bags and cars because you don’t want to be the frantic finder anymore. You want to make it rain pacifiers if your little darling should start bawling in the middle of a well-visit at the doctor’s office, at the grocery store, or in a restaurant.

One mom confessed that she recently found a paci stashed in her purse from this phase and her son is 21 years old now!

Stage 4 -The Enabler – So you enter this phase sometime around your child’s second birthday. My daughter is almost two so I get it. You start to wonder when this paci obsession is going to end and yet, you’re terrified to take it away.

So you start to rationalize it. It’s ok because they aren’t 4 years-old yet, or if they are 4 or older you’re probably hiding their paci habit from others because you don’t want to be judged. I get it. Sadly, I was probably one of those moms who saw kids out in public and thought, “Your child is way too old to still have a paci.” Yet as I’m staring down the barrel of that gun, I totally get it now.

My daughter will legit have a mini-panic attack if she doesn’t feel the cord of that paci clip on her shirt. She starts rubbing her hands against her shirt frantically looking and making helpless whimpers until I help her find it or get it for her. Though she’s trying to wean herself now by wanting the clip off during the day, she still has a few of these moments of panic each day.

Since my first two kids didn’t go through it I had no idea the struggle paci moms go through so please forgive me. I vow NEVER to do it again, if only you’ll help me get off this crazy ride.

Stage 5 – The Skilled Negotiator – Whenever we try to wean our kids or get them to drop a habit, we break out our hostage negotiating skills. I’ve been blessed to hear some really funny and inspiring stories about how some moms have weaned their kids off their paci habit.

A new blogging friend of mine shared how she broke her son’s paci addiction after he developed sores in his mouth, which she thought were from the pacifier: “I hid them all and kept saying, “Binky hurts you now.” Three days later, my friend called and told me her daughter had hand, foot, and mouth disease and that my son might get it since they played together a few days earlier. I laughed and told her he already did, but I didn’t realize it because it was all inside his mouth. So I never thought I’d have anything good to say about hand, foot, and mouth disease, but it did get rid of his binkies for us!”

A mom in my Facebook mom’s group talked about her son’s successful binky trade-in: “One night while I was getting his PJ’s on, he handed me his bink and wanted a new stuffed animal to sleep with so I took it as an opportunity to barter for the bink FOREVER. I told him he could sleep with the new toy or the bink, but NOT both. He said “Ok, Mommy,” slept through the night without it, and never asked for it again.

Another mom reported what she did after the dentist told her it was causing damage to her daughter’s teeth: “We took her to the dentist. He said she had damage to her front teeth. We threw it out the car window that day, told her the car ate it, and never turned back!”

Another mom used New Year’s Day to declare, “All the pacis go to the New Year’s babies now.”

So there you have it, 5 stages ranging from complete gratitude for the paci to nerve-wracking stress, but one thing we should never feel is shame over our child’s paci addiction. So I urge you to come out of the paci closet and share your stories with other moms.

For what it’s worth, my oldest two kids that rejected the paci used me as their paci instead and that was no picnic either. We all have this great opportunity to grow in motherhood together if we just break down the walls of our own fear. Share your paci stories here.

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post, Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia and Worshipful Living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If there’s anything a toddler is good at, it’s sniffing out trouble. My daughter has discovered the joy of climbing on chairs and reaching a whole new world of items to touch, throw and spill. She’s also found a new favorite pastime – throwing herself on the floor in a fit of rage when she’s told she can’t do something. Every single time I see it, I have to try not to laugh and cry at the same time.

toddler climbing

She’s just itching to get bigger and to do things on her own. When my older children are putting on their shoes to go outside and wait for the bus in the morning she thoughtfully brings me one of hers and says, “shoe” in her sweet baby voice.

Sometimes she throws a fit when I tell her she can’t go too and sometimes she simply waves and says, “bye bye.” But I see it, that little spark in her eye. That determination to grow up and leave me.

I know it might seem a bit dramatic, but a part of my heart cries out, “No. Please just stay this little forever. Don’t rush it. Don’t grow up too fast. Don’t walk away. Because these are the last of the firsts for me.”

It’s so bittersweet knowing that she’s my last baby. Some part of me rejoices that I’ll never have to get up several times a night to nurse an infant anymore, and yet there it is – the finality that I’ll never snuggle a newborn again. I try to drink deep the moments I see those chubby toddler legs bounding around the corner with her sweet giggles of delight as I chase behind.

This is where I’m going to be from now on; always chasing behind her, watching her run farther ahead than I’m ready to let her. One day, I’ll have to take her for her first haircut and that will be the last of the first haircuts. Perhaps then those beautiful ringlets will disappear like they did with my first daughter.

This is the the last of the littles- little clothing and little chubby arms reaching out for me. Soon there will be no more kissing chubby baby cheeks and bellies and it’s slipping away so fast. I want to hold onto this moment forever.

I look at my older children and it takes longer to see the babies they were in their faces now. The roundness of my daughter’s cheeks is all but gone, and she’s growing into a beautiful girl who is discovering who she is without me. I know that’s a good thing, but the pang of sadness is there. My son is entering the age of the last of the little cuddles I steal before bedtime. Soon he won’t let me kiss him goodbye in public anymore and I’ll halfheartedly settle for a wave and a smile.

It’s so strange to watch your children growing up before your eyes. You are so happy and excited to see the people they are becoming each day. It goes by in a haze of homework, after-school activities, summer camp, and more meals than I want to recount cooking. It goes by while I’m just itching for bedtime so that I can get work done or watch my shows.

It goes by while I’m singing them to sleep on these last days of our nighttime routine. My son who used to require hours of singing before he would sleep, will one day turn to me and simply say, “It’s ok Mom, you don’t need to sing tonight.” And just as fast, it will be the end of “Night night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. Have some sweet dreams. See you in the morning. I love you all to pieces.” I rush through it tonight and it’ll be gone tomorrow.

The littles will be over soon. The little arms beckoning me to pick them up. The little wet baby kisses on my cheeks. The little legs running through the house will one day walk out the door and oh how I’ll miss them.

There is nothing I can do to stop them. They’ll keep growing, no matter how I beg time to slow down just for a minute. Each year will blur into the next in waves of school years and work, sprinkled with vacations and trips.

So every day I vow to crank up the radio and dance with little arms around my neck. I’ll watch little legs wiggle to the beat of her own soundtrack. I’ll kiss little baby cheeks until she pushes me away and even then I’ll steal a few more. I’ll appreciate every single little thing about having small children, because every day they grow a little less little.

The song “Slow Down” by Nichole Nordeman perfectly sums up how I’m feeling right now.

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found writing on her blog The No Drama Mama and Hudson Valley Parent when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her three adorable kiddos. This “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow her on Facebook or Twitter for her delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails. Her work can also be found on The Huffington Post, Money Saving Mom, Mamapedia and Worshipful Living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While having a conversation with a friend this week we had a random discussion about “baby arm.” Baby arm is when moms have one arm that is clearly stronger from constantly holding a baby/toddler. It launched a mini-discussion about all the things I had no idea I could do one-handed before I had kids. I asked other moms, “What things have you done with a baby in your arm?” Moms are amazing multi-taskers and this list proves it. In no particular order here are the top 15 answers.

Sydney loves when I do squats with her on my shoulders, especially when I do it in front of my hall mirror, which creates a game of Peek-a-boo with herself.

Sydney loves when I do squats with her on my shoulders, especially when I do it in front of my hall mirror, which creates a game of Peek-a-boo with herself.

 

1. Cooked – Ok, don’t call CPS and don’t tell me you haven’t done it. It’s either hold the baby or have cold cereal for dinner some nights, especially when they hit that fun separation anxiety phase. I always thrust the hip with the baby away from the stove and stir away. I’ve also used the baby carrier as well to get dinner made when I need both hands.

2 Used The Bathroom – Ok this one is just as awkward as you can imagine, but it can be done. It requires even the slightest movement to be super calculated. Put baby on hip, unzip pants with one hand, scoot pants down a little, shift baby to other side and so on till pants and underwear are down, holding baby awkwardly to the side while you go to the bathroom and then repeat process in reverse for pulling pants up. There was a weird situation where I didn’t have shoes on the baby’s feet and no stroller while at the doctor’s office and when you gotta go, you gotta go. They say necessity is the mother of invention. I say Motherhood creates the necessity to invent.

3. Wash Your Hands – This one involves a similarly awkward process of shifting baby from one hip to other while you wash each hand separately. I think there’s a semi-squat position involved when soaping up hands together, then balancing baby on hip holding the baby with one arm around them and then moving to the other side.

4. Cart Luggage Through An Airport – When Hannah was almost two we went to South Carolina by plane. As if carting luggage through the airport without kids doesn’t suck enough, try it with kids. As a toddler she wanted to walk but could only go at a snail’s pace which isn’t conducive to the hustle and bustle of a busy airport. So I sat Hannah on top of my rolling luggage, holding her on with my free hand and rolled her to our gate. I got two kinds of looks from people – “You Are CRAZY!” and “YOU GO GIRL! Why didn’t I think of that?”. I think I had her straddling the handle, holding her back while she was facing forward.

5. Help Your Other Kids – Having a baby doesn’t mean your other kids will stop needing you to do things for them. So moms learn to improvise and do a lot of things while holding the baby like brush your child’s hair, help them find clothes, read them a story, made them a sandwich, etc.

6. Eat – With the exception of cutting meat, eating while holding a baby isn’t that hard. Getting everything on the plate and not the floor while the baby tries to steal from your plate is another story.

Doing squats while holding your baby is good for you and fun for them.

Doing squats while holding your baby is good for you and fun for them.

7. Exercise – Sometimes exercise is only possible while holding the baby and let’s be real it can be quite fun too. Baby squats anyone? I also like putting the baby on my legs to do crunches. Sometimes I put her on my shoulders and do squats and she thinks it’s hysterical, especially when I do it in front of my hall mirror so she dips below the mirror and then pops up to see herself once again.

8. Feed/Walk A Dog – I don’t have a dog, so I thanks to the ladies in my mom’s group on Facebook for suggesting this one. I can imagine the struggle of getting the dog to go one way while balancing a squirmy baby on your hip. I’m sure a baby carrier is the way to go on this one.

9 Blow Dry Hair – I can imagine this gets quite tricky, especially if your baby is like mine and hates loud sounds like hand dryers in public restrooms and the vacuum.

10. Open A Bottle Of Soda – I’m not even sure how you twist a cap off of anything while holding a baby, unless you’re using a baby carrier. I’ve been assured it can be done, but the degree of difficulty puts this one in the Mom-Olympian category.

11. Laundry – Laundry stops for no one. In my house it’s a daily battle and so is getting anything done without Sydney crying to be held. Don’t you just love the separation anxiety phase?

12. Grocery Shop – Pushing the cart with one hand is no easy feat, yet I think we’ve all done it at least once. I had all three kids with me and no baby carrier when Sydney held a melt down that could only be calmed by holding her. Needless to say, it took about three times longer to get through the store that day.

13. Clip Coupons – I haven’t personally done this one, but I can totally picture doing it (with some safety scissors of course).

14. Check Messages/Surf  The Internet – Who hasn’t done this one? Do we even get time to check our e-mail or surf the web without a child absolutely NEEDING something at that moment? Sure, there are nap times and bedtimes during which you sprint through the house trying to get everything else done that you can’t while the baby/toddler is awake. Trying to type with a baby in between your arms is especially tough, because the keyboard seems like the perfect thing to mash with their little hands.

15. Cleaning The House – Mopping, sweeping, and unloading the dishwasher are just some of the things moms learn how to do with our one free hand. The next time your husband looks at you and says, “You want me to cook AND watch the kids?” forward him this post so he can see all the things you quite literally balance all at once.

Moms are some of the most talented multi-taskers I’ve ever seen. We can do it all, though sometimes I feel like I have a serious case of dementia when I’m doing SO MANY things at once. Where did I put that item? There’s laundry half folded when I remember I have to take meat out of the freezer for dinner, unload the dishwasher and check my e-mail simultaneously. So Moms let me just say, “You Seriously Rock!” You put that baby on your hip and carry on like the soldiers you are. Just remember to switch sides once in a while or you’ll end up with a serious case of baby arm.

Dear Moms Of A Screaming, Kicking, Crying, Throwing Something Child,

This medal for mental endurance during EPIC tantrums is for you. You rock! You may think to yourself “Oh MY GOD, how am I ever going to survive this nightmare?” I understand how hard it is not to lose it. I don’t even pretend that I don’t lose it from time to time. It’s so hard to deal with a child who is not in the right frame of mind to even hear your voice, let alone respond to threats of punishment, or attempts to figure out what will make the chaos stop.

After WAY too many of my son’s tantrums lately I finally figured out one universal truth – there is NOTHING to do, but wait it out. It’s like the girl at the party crying in her beer. All attempts to make her feel better are lost. You just say to her “alright time to go to bed and sleep it off.”

Sugar High Crash

My five-year-old son’s tantrums are caused by one thing – he’s overly tired. Sure last night’s Desert Fest 2014 at our neighbor’s house at our weekly “booty call” complete with ice cream, donuts and cookies played a hand in the nightmare of a tantrum produced when we got home, but he was TIRED. First he kicked off his fit when he wanted a glass of water and daddy told him he could have water when we got home (I think it’s less than 60 seconds by car door to door).

Exhausted Jayden
Being overly tired means Jayden either passes
out,
or kicks off an EPIC tantrum.

Then he wound himself up into a good cry, followed by pounding his fists on the floor, and after refusing to get ready for bed he just lay on the floor. When I told him he could just sleep in the hallway and let him lie there he started banging on my bedroom door as I was attempting to get the baby to sleep. Then I could feel the anger in me rising like bile in my throat. I always know that feeling when my face gets hot and I start to bite my lip hard. These are the moments I pray, “Lord, please don’t let me beat my child.” Of course I mean a spanking so feel free to put the phone down. No need to call CPS.

My Right Eye For Some Holy Water

During a particularly bad tantrum that lasted well over an hour last week I looked at my son and thought, “Who the hell are you?” “I so don’t like you right now.” It’s ok to admit it mamas. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kid. It means your patience is well beyond spent. It means you are at an utter and total loss as to how to stop it and get your sweet, lovable kid back. If I had some holy water I may have been tempted to throw it on him to see if I could exercise whatever demon was possessing his little body.

A Padded Room For One Please

After my anger passed, I went into “survival denial.” This is when in order not to become “The Hulk” I have to remove myself from the presence of my tantruming boy. If that’s not physically possible, I have to go into a separate room in my mind. Call it meditation, call it what you want.  My goal is to survive it. I’ve tried calming, I’ve trying ignoring and eventually I know that I can do just one thing – survive it. If that means locking myself away in a little happy quiet room in my mind well then that’s exactly what I have to do.

Waiting Out The Tornado

The really crazy thing about a tantrum is that it is gone almost as inexplicably as it began. One minute there are tears and stomping and screaming and the next the tears are dry and that sweet voice comes back to ask you a random question or say, “I love you Mama.” It’s taken living through many of these tantrums to find the inner strength to endure the storm to get to that moment in the tornado where it suddenly dissipates and the sun comes out and life is once again beautiful.

So this is my prayer for you mamas out there – I pray for the strength to endure. Endure till the storm lifts, for surely it cannot last forever, no matter how long and agonizing it feels. Your rainbow is coming. Your “I love you” is right around the next tear drop so just hold on.

Push Through

I’ve said before that parenting is a marathon and not a sprint. A tantrum is therefore that moment where your calf seizes up and you feel like you can’t go on. You know there is a finish line somewhere, but it seems too impossible to continue through the pain. I hope these words help ease the knot of guilt a little bit.

Let The Guilt Go

I often tell my children post-tantrum or episode of misbehaving, “mommy may not like your actions, but I love you no matter what.” This is unconditional love -the “I love you through good times and bad.” It’s hard in that moment when The Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner and the storm has cleared and the wave of guilt rushes in. The guilt of “did I really just scream or act crazy or hate my kid in that moment.” It’s ok mama, let it go. Let it go as quickly as your child’s tantrum ends. No need to hang onto it. Massage out your calf and keep running the good race. And just in case you don’t feel like the world’s best mama the next time your child is writhing on the ground, completely immersed in a tantrum this medal is for you. The medal of Supreme Endurance. You have certainly earned it.

 

From the wire:

“In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said swim classes might give toddlers and parents a false sense of security. Now the group says it’s fine to enroll children as young as 1.

A few small studies suggest toddlers may be less likely to drown if they’ve had swim lessons…”

The real reminder comes at the end:

Parents know they should be vigilant while children swim, but trouble can occur in an instant of inattention, said Dr. Jeffrey Weiss of Phoenix Children’s Hospital and lead author of the policy.

“It’s not a lack of supervision, it’s a lapse of supervision,” Weiss said.

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