In March last year, I wrote a post about my choice to allow my son to use a dummy titled "Am I a Dummy…for using a Dummy?" Little L wasn't even two and I was beginning to think about when we would eradicate the dummy from our lives altogether.
Being the great procrastinator that I am, every birthday or holiday gave me a reason not to get rid.
- Second birthday – we're going to Australia in the summer and need it to keep him quiet on the plane.
- Christmas – He's not ready it/t's not causing him any harm/we're going to be potty training.
- Easter Holidays – Let's wait till he's 3.
- Third Birthday – Let's wait till the Summer holidays incase I have sleepless nights.
I actually read a post by a blogger friend, Carly from Bungalow Burn, who wrote about her trip to the dentist with her daughter and the impact the dummy had on her teeth. You can read about it here. Her post made me determined to say "bye bye" to the dummy!
I know there are people who get fed up with novelty aspects of a child's life that seem to be developing more and more such as Elf on a Shelf but I firmly believe that you have to embrace the magic and what works for you and your children. My son has a lovely imagination which I want to encourage, plus I love anything magical or creative so I began to plant seeds with my son regarding him giving it up…and the Dummy Fairy (DF) was born in the Roversi household. Our DF took the dummies in the dead of night to give to little babies who needed them more than my son. He seemed okay about the prospect of giving them up, especially when I mentioned there was a present involved.
This is what I did:
- Took my son shopping to pick his present that he would get off the DF. I told him that I would send the present to her and she would only give it to him once he handed his dummies over.
- Made sure that the present was something fairly decent so he didn't want to give it back when he wanted his dummy. I was looking for an offer/bargain on something that was big but didn't cost a fortune. We managed to find a Jungle Run Thomas theTank Engine track in The Entertainer that should have been £25 and was £15 which was my budget.
- Let him collect his dummies from around the house. It became a treasure hunt and he loved finding them…even the dusty ones that had been sat under his bed for months!
- It was L's idea to leave a cup of milk and a biscuit out for the DF. I reckon he was trying to bribe her…or thought she was like Santa.
- Chuck the dummies. It was important that I threw the dummies away in the wheelie bin rather than hide them away so avoid the chance to give in and give him one if he was struggling to settle or very upset.
- Wrote a letter from the Dummy Fairy, ensuring I used words like "kind", "proud" and "big boy". Every child loves praise and I like to think the letter added to our sons imagination and making it all more real. (If you'd like to use the letter, I'm happy for you to steal it!)
As with anything child related, since I was pregnant I have always expected the worst then anything else was a bonus! I'm quite thankful that, after four nights, our little man has done us proud and handled it all quite well. I knew his biggest struggle was going to be settling himself to sleep and I wasn't wrong. On the first night it took an hour for him to go to sleep and in that hour I got:
"Mummy I need a wee!" (I took him.)
"Mummy I want some milk like the Dummy Fairy!" (I got him some.)
"Mummy I want some more milk!" (I refused)
"Mummy PLEASE can I have some more milk?" (Me: shouting from downstairs "NO!" L: "Okay")
"Mummy, I need you." (My response was to talk over the monitor. He couldn't tell me why he needed me, he just did.)
And finally, crying. I chose to ignore the crying. It wasn't real crying and we have a no communication rule at bedtime so he knows he won't get anything from me once he's going to bed: no play, no conversation! I was right to ignore as ten minutes late he was sleeping soundly. Since that night, we have had no shouting or crying and the time it's took him to settle has gone from an hour to 20 minutes last night.
One of the things I didn't expect when our little man gave up the dummy was how grown up he'd seem to me. At three years old. I'm so proud of the little boy he is becoming but he's definitely not my little baby anymore. He's kind, thoughtful, loving, cheeky, imaginative and now, dummy free! What a little star!
As for my original post from last year, Am I a Dummy…for using a Dummy?, no I'm not. It's provided a lot of comfort for my son over the years and helped us out in situations where we needed him calm and settled. Now he's at a age where he understands more and is able to settle himself in other ways. He falls asleep with his teddy or taggie blanket and doesn't sucks thumb or finger, which for a thumb sucking Mummy, i really didn't want for my son. I know how hard it is to stop and taking the dummy away was much easier. Will I use dummies with the new baby? If I need to, of course!
How did you get rid of the dummy from your child? Do you have any tips for those about to "ditch the dummy"? Does your child suck their thumb? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.