Ryan and I have been wanting to get Kender to stop using his binky for a while now.
He was only using it for bedtime and naps and when he was sick, but it was hard to stay consistent. Then when I got pregnant and we moved to Washington again, it was just easier for me to let him have his binky all day because I was tired. It was nice at first, but it got to the point where his binky didn’t make much of a difference. He would whine and cry whether he had it or not, and he would freak out if he didn’t know where it was. It was no longer a “relaxing” object.
We thought of a few different things that we could try that worked for people we knew:
Snipping the tip of the binky and telling him it broke, losing it and never finding it, and having him throw it in the garbage and trade it for a “big boy” toy. We thought about it and talked it over and decided that the method that fit best with Kender’s personality was to trade it in for a big boy toy. If I cut the tip off of Kender’s binky and told him it broke, I’m 100% positive he would know what I did and resent me for it. I felt like pretending to lose it was dishonest. If we had really lost it that would have worked out great! But we didn’t, so I felt bad doing that one. In the end, we wanted it to be his choice. We didn’t want to have to avoid the word “binky.” We knew that he wouldn’t do something he didn’t want to do without putting up a fight (he never does). It was a hard decision, but we wanted to stop putting it off.
This morning I sat with Kender and told him about how his cousins were big boys now, and they didn’t use binkies anymore but got to play with really cool big boy toys. I explained to him that binkies were for little babies, and that big boys didn’t need them. He seemed to comprehend that pretty well, although I don’t think he related it to himself. After a while he started saying “trade binky for cool toy!”
We decided to let him get through church with his binky and then do our “big boy ceremony” after his nap. We had a big excavator toy that we were planning on giving him for Christmas, but we thought that it might be the only toy powerful enough to break that binky habit. So when Kender woke up, Ryan went upstairs and got his present. Then it went a little something like this:
I was so proud!
I was so ready for him to say no, and then we’d have to tell him that he would get his present when he was ready to give up his binky, but he did it! My one regret is that we didn’t feed him first. He was too excited about his new excavator to eat, and was terribly hangry (hungry+angry). We eventually got him to settle down and eat by putting his excavator on the table and letting him stare at it while he ate, but then he was cranky from being tired because he had a short nap. We just can’t win! He did ask for his binky several times after the initial excitement wore off, but we just reminded him that he traded it for his cool excavator and then he’d move on (sometimes more gracefully than others, depending on how hangry/tired he was). Fortunately we knew it would be pretty hard for the first few days, so we were mentally prepared!
Ryan and I were most worried about bed time, but Kender did surprisingly well!
We let him take his excavator to his room with him, and we presented him with a plush lion that was mine when I was a kid. We told him that Mr. Lion heard that he gave up his binky and wanted to be there to help comfort him. Kender immediately fell in love with Mr. Lion and only asked for his binky once. Then as I was reminding him about his excavator, he told me that he traded his binky and threw it in the garbage to get his cool excavator. He is so smart! He cried a couple times after we tucked him in, but the first time was just because he gave himself an owie trying to play with the excavator in the dark and the second time Ryan went in and convinced him to go to sleep.
I’m sure the next few days (possibly week) will still be really hard, but I’m so proud of my big boy!
Til next time,