I've never really wanted Andrea to stay a baby forever. I was always excited when she developed a new skill or met another milestone. Even though I've often marveled at how quickly time passes with her running circles around my ankles I've never wished it backwards. But today I caught myself crying as I faced the decision to wean my little munchkin off her pacifier (a.k.a. binky).
My mother told me her children were binky-free by the age of one, and the pressure to keep up with that standard had been weighing on me. In May I began planning the event. In June we went to Illinois; I felt she still needed it for comfort and familiarity as she slept in many new places. After our return home I thought it might be time. However, I've spent the last month subconsciously delaying this process, not because of the potential sleepless nights, but because that binky, in conjunction to diapers, is the last evidence of her infancy. Taking away binky means no more baby. For the first time, I'm finding myself wishing she could just stay my baby for a little longer.
Despite my emotional protest, I began operation "Binky Wean" this afternoon by snipping a tiny hole in the tip of Andrea's binky. My mother used this method with her children-- each day the binky gets a tiny snip. As the binky grows increasingly uncomfortable in the child's mouth, the child decides to reject it. Andrea, however, didn't need days of snipping. She noticed right away. At nap time she nestled into her comfy place in her bed, wrapped her arms around the neck of her bear, and plopped in her binky. It took less than two seconds for her to feel a difference and pull it out for inspection. I ran from the room, afraid to witness the scene. But from the comfort of my bed, I listened to her reaction on the monitor.
"Oh no!" She cried. "Where it go? Nanananan binky? Binky!" She wailed. The new thing I'd handed her clearly wasn't her binky, and she wanted hers back. The whining continued as she wondered aloud what fate could have possible befallen her little rubber friend. I googled whilst she jabbered, hoping to find a way to handle my complete lack of resolve. She eventually drifted off, sans binky.
Tonight I bathed her. I let her play until she was pruney as I put off bedtime, but bedtime could only be delayed so long before she'd start to get cranky. Fussy, no binky, dark room. . . Yeah, perhaps not the best equation for weaning, so when the floor of the bathroom was sufficiently soaked I drained the tub and plucked out her dripping body. Jammies, brushed teeth, and a bedtime story later I walk into her room, holding the being I once carried in my womb. I lifted her tiny body over the threshold of her crib and handed her that mutilated binky. The ceremony ending her infancy was complete. She refused the binky, and I left the room. But from that cursed monitor I again heard her little voice, "Binky? Where binky? Where it go? Mama! Binky? Oh no."
I felt my heart fall from my chest to the floor and each step from her room was trampling the broken pieces that trailed behind me. "Paul," I whispered. "I'm not ready."
He smiled that beautifully permissive smile. "Then don't do it." He said, and those words freed me from the drudgery of the situation as I ran back to her room, retrieved an untouched binky, and gave it to my little baby. She took it in her mouth happily and wrapped an arm around her bear.
Maybe next month.