Day 6 minus his trusty companion, the bink

Connor is 20 months old, old enough to be without "binkie." If he can name it by name and ask for it, he doesn't need it. That's what I believe anyway. His age caught up with us and over the summer I suddenly realized we had an 18 month old with a pacifier and that seemed too old. His first birthday came and went and he was so attached that I didn't give it a thought. After all, those awful sleepless nights of his babydom were not a distant memory yet. Whatever made him sleep, whatever made it possible for us all to sleep, well, whatever worked. I wasn't game for giving it up when I was finally blissfully sleeping long enough and deeply enough to dream again. Over the summer we decided to keep it for the flight to Florida and that helped me save face for a bit longer. At his age he won't chew gum, he swallows gummy bears whole, and he doesn't chew on mentos. That bink got us through takeoffs and landings and it was worth it. So worth it.

We are home now, no flights in sight, with a son creeping ever closer to two. The teachers at school have been working with us, keeping it in his cubbyhole during school. We kept it out of sight at home, reserved for bedtime and naps, or an occasional melt down.

He hasn't had it since Thursday. The first few nights were tough, lots of crying and whining, and some late late bedtimes. I was solo parenting and I didn't give in. Steve came home from Atlanta and while I admit it was disrupting our nighttime wind down, i refued to give in "just for bedtime." I wasn't having it, my executive decision stood. 5 nights in, we weren't going back. It would have to go away at some point and he just needed to learn how to fall asleep himself without being Maggie Simpson.

Last night I put him down to sleep, held his hefty body in my arms and shushed him gently. The boy who used to forcefully nuzzle my shoulder, cries at bedtime as soon as you hand him his blanket. I asked him abut his day and Connor was able to answer me. "did you have peanut butter at school today?" "no!" "did you kick the ball?" head nodding into my shoulder, "yesh!" It soothed him, this little review. He wouldn't have been able to do that with his bink in his mouth. In fact, more than bedtime has changed. The car rides are louder too. Day care drop is more challenging as he finds new coping strategies, but he is doing it. Trusty giraffe by his side.

I usually put him down, cover him, and retreat at bedtime. He has struggled with this since losing his friend, so last night I stood over him, rubbed his back, put on the sleep sheep from infanthood. I slowed my baby back massage to a simple hand on his back. Slowly removing the stimulus, feeling his back rise and fall into a restful pattern. I removed my hand, stood silently by his side, him peeking over at me from under the covers. I stepped back. I stood. I took a deep breath and retreated, ten minutes after I normally would have.

There were still some tears, but that boy fell asleep in under 20 minutes, just after 8pm, a vast improvement on 9:30 on day 1.

One thing I will miss, the extra 20 minutes that piece of plastic gave us in the morning. Connor wakes up LOUD and demanding. "mommmeee!" "up, up, up, up!" "Da-da!" He barely fits on his changing table these days. I pull a sock onto his foot, "other one" is his response. He is talking more and more and yelling loudly, and we'll take it, all of it. Another step into toddlerdom. The last relic of baby boy left behind, hidden away in a drawer.


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