Playlistening: Letting Go of a Pacifier

I breastfed our newborn adopted son for a few months using a supplemental nursing system, after which we switched to bottles. He still seemed to need to suck sometimes when he wasn’t drinking from a bottle, so I let him use a pacifier, which we called Binky. We didn’t use it to quiet feelings (except maybe a few times when Staylistening wasn’t workable).

When he was well past being old enough to be done with a pacifier, but was still wanting his Binky, I played a game with him. One of us would have the pacifier, and the other would want it and chase after it, laughing and squealing happily. When my son was holding Binky, I would feign mild desperation and would only rarely catch up to him. When I was holding Binky, I would eventually let him snatch it, and then the tables would be turned again. His need for Binky faded away after many of these episodes.

He is eight now, and recently I found a Binky while cleaning out the bathroom closet, and I showed it to him. He smiled widely and tucked it away in a drawer in his room. One day he pulled it out of his drawer with a smile and put it in his mouth and enjoyed some time sucking and chewing on Binky.

Rather than get worried that suddenly my eight year old would start wanting to use a pacifier again, I felt relaxed and glad that he was happy to be reunited with his beloved Binky. Indeed, before long, he was done, and I think Binky went back in the drawer. I haven’t seen it again.

Susan Hutchison— Susan Hutchison

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