It’s been a big week for Wyokiddo. A few nights ago, we said good-bye to the binkies and she became an “official big girl.” There were a few tense moments, lots of tears and a few restless nights of sleep.
Wyokiddo cried a little, too.
Of all of the transitions Wyokiddo has made, this one was absolutely the most difficult for me. But it was time to pack away the pacifiers. We gave her warning, provided an incentive and set a night. I quietly sought advice from friends and family on how to best make the leap into binky free life. Then we set our deadline. On the official night, Wyokiddo packed her binkies away and she had a little cry. And then I cried. And cried a little more. I probably laid on our bed for 20 minutes, tears trickling down my face while Outdoor Guy held my hand and tried not to laugh at his crazy wife.
I knew it had to be done. It’s part of growing up, like giving up bottles and potty-training. We had relegated them to nap time and bed time only. But she wasn’t giving them up on her own, as our pediatrician suggested she might. And Wyokiddo wasn’t attaching to some other object, like a stuffed animal or blanket. Her comfort item was always her binky. So it was time, especially before I had another David Beckham moment with my mother-in-law over the topic.
So I set the stage by telling Wyokiddo about the Big Girl Fairy, who would come collect the binkies when she knew Wyokiddo was ready to be an Official Big Girl. We promised the Big Girl Fairy would leave her a special present to help her be brave and strong. The day before, we wrote her a letter on behalf of the Big Girl Fairy, explaining it was time to be an Official Big Girl.
In all, she has been incredibly brave and handled it well.
I thought we might have a setback this morning at the library, when a little boy her age was bebopping around with one in his mouth. I had fleeting visions of her knocking him down, grabbing the pacifier and making a break for it out the open front doors.
“He has a binky, Mama,” Wyokiddo told me, in a tone that was a more than a little accusatory.
I held my breath wondering if my last glimpse of Wyokiddo would be of her with a Pete the Cat library book in one hand, a handful of the kid’s hair in the other and a stolen binky in her mouth as she screamed down the Main, butterfly dress flapping in the breeze behind her.
“Huh,” I told her. If 3 years of parenting has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes the best defense is a complete and total lack of commitment.
“He’s not ready to be a big kid like me yet,” she said in the self-assured, matter-of-fact way that only kids can do.
I see now that my reluctance to shed this last bastion of childhood was as much about my own need to keep her small and innocent as it was about not causing her any pain. She’s growing up, getting independent and forming opinions and ideas that aren’t mine. She isn’t a toddler anymore, but a preschooler, ready to tackle whatever life throws at her. It was time for me to recognize that transition, too.
As we headed to the car, she took one last look at the boy with the binky and asked, “Do big girls get a special snack at the grocery store?”
Well played, my little one. Well played. I pray you handle all of these growing up moments with such confidence and aplomb.