Monday, November 9

My Pacifier Complex and the Unexpected Blessing of a Runny Nose

We have two daughters, one is 2 ½ and the other is 9 months old today. I have often joked about my role as a paci pusher. Our 2 ½ year old has a love affair with her paci—from the time she was small it would calm her instantly. It was the miracle tool that brought peace to car rides, it was our snooze button on many mornings, and it has been a comfort and security for many falls, bangs and bruises. She still looks forward to her 2 ½ hour-long naps in the afternoon when she can grab paci, ducky and blankie and curl up in bed, away from the worries and chaos of life. Even though I know we should seriously be considering an intervention to go paci free with her sooner rather than later, I enjoy the security of having a way to calm her during some of these moments and so I let it go day after day.

Naturally, when our second daughter came along I offered her a pacifier as well. Knowing the immediate comfort it had brought to her sister(and therefore myself!) so often, I thought for sure she needed one as well. She fought us on it in the beginning—spitting it out or making faces when we tried to put it in. She was colicky in the first couple of months, and during those days of colic I drove from drugstore to drugstore laying down good money for different brands of paci’s with different types of nipples in an effort to find one that would “work” for her. Finally, she took the paci, and it did seem to calm some of her crying. It seemed as if all woes were answered, until…

At eight and a half months the youngest was still not sleeping through the night. Ack! We blamed it on her colic, and then on our move to a new house, and then on teeth, and indigestion and…well, we were out of excuses and about out of our minds from the broken nights. Our oldest slept through the night at 3 ½ months—an amount of time acceptable to the new parent who is expecting to lose some sleep…but by six, seven, eight months…well, for those of you who have been there, you know the frustration. It would be nothing for us to have to go into her room four, five, six, seven times a night to plug her paci back in. Sure, she’d fall right back to sleep, but often we wouldn’t and the toll was beginning to add up.

Finally, just last week, my husband and I were lamenting the long nights that were sure to be ahead when we noticed our daughter’s runny nose. We propped her mattress up, put a humidifier in her room, wiped her nose as well as possible, and ran into her bedroom every half hour to forty-five minutes the first night of her cold—she couldn’t breathe through her nose, so she couldn’t keep her paci in, so she couldn’t sleep! The next day during one of her naps I decided putting her down without her paci to sleep wasn’t any more or less ridiculous than our running into her room every half hour and so I did just that—I put her to sleep without her paci and she slept for 2 straight hours!

That night, we thought we would try again and guess what? She slept the entire night, let me repeat that, the ENTIRE NIGHT without so much as a peep-- and then the next, night and the next night and the next night. She has slept through the night, with a runny nose and not a sound for six nights in a row now and we have finally figured out the culprit of our sleepless nights!!

So while her bigger sister keeps trying to push the paci on her when she cries because she believes it to be the ultimate answer to all of life's woes, at nine months our little one is paci free and we are all sleeping a whole lot better for it. Bye, bye paci. Hello sleep. Amen to that!

Oh, and by the way, today I'm thankful for:
1. Sleep!
2. Sleep!
3. Sleep!
4. And the beautiful and unexpected blue skies and 70 degree weather we have had here in Buffalo.

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