Dummy 'v' Mummy

I have to say, I have come up against a lot of challenges as a parent and yet none quite as challenging as my mission to remove that revolting piece of plastic from the leech like suction of my eldest daughters mouth. Dummy, you are my nemesis!!

Lewis never had a dummy, despite those times at 3am when he screamed and screamed and I desperately tried to shove one in his mouth, he was just never interested. When Eva came along I had no intention of giving her a dummy either and yet almost twelve months in, when she just wouldn’t take her bottle and started crying relentlessly through the night, I remembered the dummy lurking downstairs in a cupboard, included as part of  a “Tommee Tippee starter set”, and I had ran upstairs holding it in front of me like the Holy Grail. And by some miracle, it had worked!! She had lay there, happily sucking away, and slept the whole night through. And we had thanked the Lord for dummies, congratulated ourselves on our full nights sleep and high fived ourselves for being so clever to have discovered the answer. Or so we thought.

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Because it turns out that actually, not only does a dummy look terrible (not to mention ruin so many good photo opportunities!), it brings a whole host of problems with it. I think that we have collectively wasted several weeks of our lives just looking for the dreaded dummies, desperately rummaging down the side of the sofa or under the bed while Eva alternated between screaming hysterically and sucking on her fingers as some kind of desperate dummy substitute. We have spent an absolute fortune on dummies, all kinds of special orthodontic ones for fear of ruining her teeth, dummy clips, different sizes, and a whole host of creams for chapped skin from the inevitable “dummy drool” down her chin. And you wouldn’t believe that one child, particularly when she was still just a baby, could differentiate between ten identical dummies, and yet her preference for that one particular dummy would cause us to tear the house apart on a daily basis or make an emergency dash to the shop in the hope that one of them would stop the incessant whine. And when we found the perfect dummy, we would snap up as many as possible for fear of them going out of stock and the melt down that would follow should we lose them all!

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We have lived in constant fear of leaving home without the dummy. There would be dummies in every pocket of every coat we have ever owned, in my dressing gown pocket, the nappy bag, my handbag, the glove compartment in the car. We would fathom contraptions to attach the dummies to her cot, her pram, her clothes. We would tuck her into bed at night surrounded by dummies, one in her mouth, one in each hand and several under her pillow, all too aware that should she wake in the night and not find it, she would scream blue murder. We have spent car journeys from Hell, swerving across the motorway, one hand on the steering wheel, the other rummaging desperately in the nappy bag, the hysterical screams from the back seat for the Goddam dummy pushing us to our very limit. There have been times when we have foolishly left the house without a single dummy, spent hours hunting down a supermarket or a gift shop where we could buy one, resulting in an eclectic collection of the tackiest novelty dummies ranging from vampire fangs, tongue piercings and a whole host of personalised dummies, none of which say Eva.

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The older she has got, the more attached she has become to her dummy. And it has taken a huge amount of willpower but we have managed to whittle down the times that she is allowed her dummy so it is now limited to bed time, nap time or if she is poorly. She knows that there are rules, no dummy for nursery or playgroup, no dummy when we leave the house or on days out. She knows to leave the dummy on the window sill in the porch as we leave, safe in the knowledge that it will be there when she returns home, or on the side in the kitchen where she can see it throughout the day. She still asks for it, several times each day, but with distraction she can go a full day without it until she starts getting tired and the cries for, “Dummeeeeeeee!!” will resume.

And we have tried everything. The dummy fairy, Father Christmas, reward charts, bribery, you name it, we’ve tried it. We have told her far fetched tales of how she will turn into a bunny rabbit if she continues to have her dummy or warned her that her teeth will fall out. We have resolutely told her she can’t have it, have hidden the dummies and left her for hours crying, pleading and clawing at us like an addict climbing the walls. We have ordered countless books from the Internet, books that claim to “Ditch the dummy in just seven days!” or boast a “100% success rate”, and nothing, I mean nothing, has worked. She will happily tell us to take away her toys, to tell Father Christmas not to bring her any presents, tell the fairies not to stop by our house. And she will sit there with that dummy, the pink one which is her all time favourite, and she will literally beam with happiness and tell you, “I love my dummy more than anything else in the whole wide world!!”.

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And I expect that many of you are reading this, absolutely horrified, thinking that we should just lay down the law and tell her, no more dummy! But the hardest part for me, as a parent, is that regardless of the fact that she is far too old to have a dummy, she does love that dummy more than anything else in the whole world. It is so much more than just a dummy to her. It’s her comfort blanket, her favourite teddy bear,  it’s the mask in which she hides behind when she is feeling insecure, when she is scared or feeling un-well. It is the one thing that makes her feel safe and comforted, the tiny little piece of her baby days that she just isn’t ready to let go of. And in that way, I just cant bear to take it from her just yet.

I expect that there shall come a time when we realise that a night has passed without her asking for the dummy, when a week has gone by and the dummy lies abandoned on the bedside table. I expect that as times goes on, as her confidence grows and she finds other ways to seek comfort, she will depend on her dummy less and less. It’s hard for her to understand why we want to take away something that gives her so much pleasure and yet it’s so hard for us as parents to feel under this huge pressure to take it from her, to be judged by those who comment, “What? She still has a dummy?!” or make un-helpful comments about the potential damage to her teeth. It’s hard being a Mummy, but it’s hard work being an almost four year old, and if that grubby little piece of plastic is making my little girl happy, then so be it.

So for now I admit defeat.

Dummy 1, Mummy 0.

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35 Comments

  1. January 14, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    So I was always worried about the whole dummy thing, then I went through a phase of thank god I didn’t, and then I started wondering whether I had missed out on something but now reading this I am now swinging back in the other direction. Because every sleep crutch seems to come with about ten zillion other problems! Arghhhhh! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub x

    Talya – http://www.motherhoodtherealdeal.com

    • January 14, 2016 / 2:23 pm

      I know! If only I had just let her cry it out, now she’s crying for a whole different reason!! 😬 xx

  2. katy255
    January 14, 2016 / 4:15 pm

    I always used to be a bit miffed that my little boy didn’t take to a dummy, but now I’m thanking my lucky stars having read this! Mind you, he’s a big fan of his thumb, so no doubt I’ll have just as many problems a couple of years down the line, but for now it’s not a problem I’m willing to tackle! Best of luck to you! #brilliantblogposts

    Katy | http://hotpinkwellingtons.co.uk

    • January 14, 2016 / 4:18 pm

      Oh yes you’ve escaped the dreaded dummy! Thank god my youngest two don’t have dummies either, I honestly could not cope with any more dummy-lovers!! We had a chat earlier, she knows the score, the dummy days are numbered!!!! 😬 xx

  3. January 14, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    Ahhh it’s a tough one. Both mine love/loved their dummies. It is hard when they bring them so much comfort. Mine had silent reflux and I swear the dummies brought them so much relief. I phased mine out slowly with the oldest (3) and he was fine eventually. His sister (1) seems much more attached though and I think she is going to be a tougher character than her brother! Don’t be too hard on yourself. I am sure she will start to phase it out herself in time. #brilliantblogposts #momsterlink

  4. January 15, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    Both my boys never took to the dummy so it’s a challenge I have never had to face. That said I’m sure there are plenty of other parenting challenges that will come and bite me on the bum! Good luck when the time comes. Thanks for linking to #FridayFrolics

    • January 15, 2016 / 6:07 pm

      We’ve made progress since I wrote this! If she can go a week without it I will take her swimming. Fingers crossed this is the start of letting go!!! Xx

  5. January 15, 2016 / 7:30 pm

    I hear you over here!! As the mummy of 2 little dummy addicts!! One is now reformed, but it took 2 years from saying he needed to give it up, to prize it away from him! The second child is actually worse than the eldest, and at the moment literally wants his in 24/7!! But they have been so amazing for their night time sleep, both were so good at keeping them in, we’ve never had to do the ‘dummy run’ that some people end up trying to get the child to give them up for. And like you said, they can just love them!! I always liken it to someone taking wine away from me-I’d find it outrageous!! But I know they don’t look nice, and I know you can feel they are too old for them (but I think this is mainly worrying that it’s actually other people who are thinking that!) but I always think that they’ll give them up eventually, and if they’ve chosen a sucky, plasticky item as a comforter, so be it! There’s no judgment here, and there shouldn’t be from others. X
    #fridayfrolics

    • January 15, 2016 / 9:29 pm

      Thank you so much for this, has made me feel SO much better!! Eva is the only one of the four with a dummy so it has been hard knowing the best way to handle it! And you are absolutely right, the pressure to take it away from her isn’t coming from me, it’s most definitely from others!! But yes, ultimately if this is what makes her feel happy and secure, it’s hardly the worst thing to happen! Thank you for not judging. Xxx

  6. The Anxious Dragon
    January 15, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    I am very lucky that the father christmas thing worked for both my boys. When I was a kid Insucked my thinb and that lasted until I was 7or 8, so 3 is really not that old at all xx #momsterlink

    • January 15, 2016 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you, I think some people think that 3 is FAR too old but what is the alternative? To make my little girl feel insecure and heartbroken? Not worth it to me, will give her the dummy for as many nights as she needs it. Thank you for reading. Xxx

      • The Anxious Dragon
        January 15, 2016 / 9:38 pm

        If she was walking around with it in her mouth 24/7 then I can see how some people might frown (even though its none of their business) but for sleep and when ill, thats completely acceptable surely xx

        • January 15, 2016 / 9:40 pm

          Very true. Thank you. Xxx

  7. January 15, 2016 / 11:09 pm

    My brother was hugely into his dummy and eventually we got him to give it to Father Christmas, for Rudolph. (Who knew reindeer were such fans of dummies? 😉 Before my daughter was born I was adamant she wouldn’t have a dummy – then the doctors on NICU actually recommended it to get her used to sucking instead of being tube fed. Luckily she lost interest in it on her own when she was about 5 months, but if she still wanted it I wouldn’t begrudge her it. I still sleep with my old childhood teddy sometimes and I’m pushing 30; so a pre-schooler with a dummy shouldn’t be a big deal. 🙂 #fridayfrolics

    • January 15, 2016 / 11:36 pm

      Haha yes the Father Christmas trick seems to be very popular! My youngest two were in NICU too and were both given dummies in there but neither of them took to it.
      I also have my childhood teddy, admittedly in a drawer in my night stand, but it comforts me to know he is still there, holding happy memories and bringing my that security I needed. To take that away from my daughter would break her heart just yet. Everyone tells me when she’s ready she will let me know. Until then I’m just trying to go with the flow…! Thanks for reading! Xx

  8. January 16, 2016 / 1:08 am

    I know of so many in your very shoes. Those damn things. With all 3 of mine I stopped using them when they were 3 months. And bottles at exactly 1 years old on their birthdays. Bottles were hard but the “dummies” they never remembered. Now that they are older though there are certain things that they are attached to. My son has this moon that hangs on his wall and if it’s not turned on when he goes to bed he won’t go to bed. He also insists that I leave the lamp in the living room on at night. And he has a night light that plugs into the wall as well. But like you said if it gives them some kind of comfort or relief from anxiety then let it be. Thanks so much for linking another great post up with me for #momsterslink! 💌Trista

    • January 16, 2016 / 10:19 am

      I so wish we had taken Evas dummy from her earlier, she would have given it up so much easier at a young age. We were lucky with bottles, they were stopped at one and the same with the cot to bed transition, it was all very easy. It’s funny because my other children have very similar “rituals” at night time, my youngest daughter will insist on the landing light being kept on and will repeatedly tell me, “don’t turn the light off!” every night. My youngest has a bunny rabbit that he must be holding by the ear each night to fall asleep and rather oddly (and to his embarrassment when I tell him now at 11) my eldest son could not fall asleep without holding my ear!!! It’s crazy isn’t it, the things that bring us comfort. But that’s exactly what it is, and I guess until Eva is ready to let go of that, I won’t be responsible for making her feel afraid or insecure. Just got to hang in there with it! Thanks for hosting! Xxx

      • January 16, 2016 / 3:23 pm

        It’s funny too to watch the habits my children inherited from me …like for instance I bought my 3 year old some feety pajamas …she was so excited but then after a couple times of wearing them she stopped. I asked her why and she told me she doesn’t like the feet part. I am the same way. I can’t sleep with even blankets on my feet…will be all bundled up with my feet sticking out the ends. Even when I was little my grandma used to cut the feety part off so I did the same for her and she thought I was the best mommy ever.

  9. January 18, 2016 / 11:23 am

    I couldn’t help but laugh at this post, it describes children with dummies perfectly! My boy is nearly 5 and a half and still has a dummy, and I don’t feel guilty about it at all. We limit it to bed time but he rarely sleeps without it. Something I would like to avoid of course, nobody enjoys sleepless nights! Luckily Ellis never wanted one, just need to get out of the juice at bed time habit! And Kinley only has his to sleep, so fingers crossed it won’t be too difficult getting rid when the time comes! She will give it up when she is ready #justanotherlinky xx

    • January 18, 2016 / 11:33 am

      Oh that’s reassuring that we aren’t the only ones! It sometimes feels like everyone is really judging us for it! I just worry about her teeth, that’s the big one for me, but when its a toss up between the dummy and sleep….the dummy wins every time! Thanks for reading! xx

  10. Sassy
    January 18, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    I don’t have children yet but weening dummies is a worry for me, parents have to encourage little ones to not use dummies, and it sounds like you are. I think if it’s a case of a night of good sleep for everyone then it’s worth it. Good luck with the swimming vs dummy 🙂 #AnythingGoes

    • January 18, 2016 / 1:43 pm

      It’s hard isn’t it, when you are in the middle of that nightmare when the baby just wont sleep, you will literally do ANYTHING at all to make the screaming stop! I was so against using a dummy and yet when it worked, all of that went out the window! I just wish we had weaned her off it earlier, she is far too old now to hand it over so willingly and yet still so young that she can’t understand why we would want to take away something that she loves so much. We have made big progress this week so fingers crossed!!! xx

  11. January 19, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    Oh no bless you! I really do feel for you. I really hope you figure out a way soon. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    • January 19, 2016 / 10:12 pm

      We had a bit of a break through after I wrote this, she has agreed to give them to the dummy fairy for her 4th birthday (Feb). Will see how that goes!!! Xx

  12. January 21, 2016 / 5:20 pm

    I can totally relate. My eldest daughter didn’t stop having a dummy until she was ready. She was 4. I didn’t care what others said. The dummy was my daughters comfort just like a blanky is my youngest daughters comfort and I couldn’t take that comfort away from her.
    Thanks for linking up with #justanotherlinky

    • January 21, 2016 / 5:24 pm

      Thank you so much. People seem to think that 4 is absolutely crazy, that we must be “babying” them or failing as parents to allow it to continue. I often wonder how those parents would like it if we took away their child’s favourite teddy bear or comfort blanket? Whether they would see that as completely different? Thanks for the reassurance. Xxx

  13. Laura smith
    June 27, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    Both my daughters love their dummies to the moon and back. Trying to get them to give them up is almost impossible. My eldest is 4 and will have her dummy anytime she can, and my 2 year old has her dummy permanently attached to her face. I get loads of negative comments about them still using dummies but I try to ignore them. The way I see it they will give them up in their own time.

    • June 28, 2016 / 7:46 am

      You’re so right, and actually after I wrote this Eva did give it up willingly, with minimal tears and within three months her teeth had re-aligned and all of my worries were gone. She still talks about it sometimes, just mentions how much she used to love it, but she never asks for it and I can’t believe I was ever so worried about it! xx

  14. Lisa
    July 25, 2016 / 9:31 am

    My daughter is nearly 6 and still has a dummy at bedtime! Well, I say it is just at bedtime when really it is also for when; she is ill, when she is tired, when she is board, when she is upset, or when I haven’t got the energy to take it off her. She is a full blown addict and gets very upset if she can’t have it when she needs it, in truth I am very embarrassed by the whole situation. I know that I should be stronger and just take it away, but I am weak and so I give in to her and let her have the dummy. I get a telling off from the dentist every time we go, because of the fact that her teeth are in completely the wrong position, because of the dummy. Are you still in the same situation, I think that I need professional help!

    • August 3, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Ahhh I completely sympathise!! It’s so hard isn’t it? Especially when they need it for that comfort and others can be so judgemental. We were actually very lucky that just before her fourth birthday she did eventually agree to give up the dummy. The change in her teeth in just six months is unbelievable, the gap in her bite has closed right up, her jaw has changed shape and her over bite has all but gone. It was actually really upsetting for me to see that happen and realise just how damaging the dummy had been to her teeth, but also a huge relief that we were lucky enough to correct that. I completely get how hard it is, and I would never judge another parent on the use of a dummy, but I have to admit that getting rid of it was so beneficial to her teeth and for me, that was the main thing. If truth be told, she still asks for it now and then, when she is overly tired or poorly, but I remind her about her teeth and she is okay with that. I so hope that you are able to wean her off it, please don’t feel embarrassed though, it’s not about being weak, it’s about allowing our children the comfort they need. We would never throw away their favourite teddy bear would we!! Good luck, you can do this!! xxx

      • Lisa
        August 6, 2016 / 10:44 am

        I am hoping that I can reach some sort of agreement with her about trading the dummy for a toy, or something similar. She is too old to get tricked by the dummy fairy, and I don’t have the hart to take it away cold turkey. It is her only comfort object, so I don’t want to snatch it away, but at the same time it is damaging her teeth. I try really hard to limit it to bedtime but she is very sneaky, and she can hide dummies just about anywhere. I have threatened to tell all her school friends about her dummy, but she knows that I won’t do it. I gathered a load of them once and just cut off the nipples, but she just found some more. I am hoping that with her 6th birthday coming up at the end of the month, we might be able to negotiate to at least have dummy only at bedtime.

        • August 6, 2016 / 10:49 am

          I offered bribes of all kind to Eva, promised her any toy she wanted that the dummy fairy would bring. In the end she traded all her dummies for a bag of maltesers!! It really made me laugh, her favourite thing in the whole world and it was only worth some maltesers!!
          I expect any damage done to your daughters teeth is already done, at this age they lose their sucking reflex so as soon as she goes to sleep the dummy will fall out? We just used to take the dummy out of Evas mouth as soon as she was asleep and place it next to her, and although she might reach for it through the night, the same would happen again. It’s hard though, especially when it’s a case of getting some sleep or some peace and quiet or dealing with them screaming and crying for their dummy! Maybe with her birthday that’s a good time to get rid of the dummy once and for all, and just remember that at some point she will make that decision all by herself, you never see an adult sucking on a dummy! xxx

  15. Katie A
    December 14, 2016 / 3:10 pm

    I can totally relate to this, I am in a house full of dummy lovers. My eldest is 6 and a half and won’t sleep without her dummy, although she isn’t as attached as she used to be. My 4 year old still has his, and my 3 year old will have hers 24/7. Luckily my 18 month old will only have hers occasionally. I have thought about ditching the dummies, but a whole house weaning attempt looks impossible. The dummies aren’t doing any damage to their teeth so I am just going to be relaxed about the whole thing. And good on you for doing what is right for you.

    • Laura Dove
      December 14, 2016 / 10:47 pm

      Thank you, my daughter did give hers up after I wrote this, a few months later, but of her own accord. I think that’s the main thing, just letting them give it up themselves rather than taking away their comforter. xx

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