Since Noodles was barely a week old he’s had a dummy.
Resistant at first, but my poor sore nipples couldn’t put up with his constant oral demands and replacing them with the crook of my little finger was no less tying. So, on Boxing Day 2011, with a guilty heart I headed to Superdrug and purchased a twin pack of the least orthodontically-ruinous pacifiers I could find.
Boo had completely rejected anything plastic to suck on as a baby. The amount of hard-earned expressed breastmilk I wept over tipping down the sink because she refused to take a bottle wasn’t funny. But I’d been able to smugly sit back and inwardly gloat as other parents regaled stories of lost nights’ sleep due to disappeared dummies or of the hell of dummy weaning.
Rule 1 of parenting: Never be smug; you don’t know when it’ll come back to bite you on the arse.
Thus, 4-and-half years later I was about to embark on a long-lasting love/hate relationship with the dummy. Noodles was hooked and by child no 4 I was too tired to fight it.
Instead I just shuddered at every picture of him with a huge chunk of plastic covering his face.
And then on Monday he started nursery. There was no way I was going to let him go with a dummy. For one, judgement. And two, what if it got lost?!?!
By now he was fixated on a solitary dummy. Not a brand or even a make, but one specific dummy, that seemed to be just the right consistency to his liking. Others of the same brand, same style would get a solitary suck and then be discarded. Which was a bugger when he also came to storing it in weird and wonderful places. I quickly came to learn that the small plastic Animal Hospital ambulance was the go-to dummy storage point.
The permanent loss of the Blue Dummy would have been catastrophic.
In fact, last Sunday night I posted this reply on Looking Glass Mama’s blog in response to her son’s fixation to Blue Fork and its subsequent disappearance:
So, yeah, the following morning, carrying Noodles to his first session at nursery, I whipped the dummy out during a giggly game of ‘D’oh, Silly Mummy’. He whined for a minute before I slapped myself on the forehead ‘D’oh, silly Mummy,’ and off he chortled again.
And all was well. Well, apart from the part where he sobbed as I clumsily left him behind for his first steps into the world of education and I went and had my first undisturbed shower in more years than I care to remember. He coped and I actually got to use my hairdryer and the dummy was safe in my coat pocket.
Except it wasn’t.
Because when I went to get it it wasn’t there!
In my heart I knew there was nowhere else it could be either. Sleepless nights of shrieking or not, I wasn’t about to retrace my every step. I was time to bid the dummy goodbye.
The day wasn’t so bad. He asked for it once, but I told him that big boys who go to nursery don’t have baby dummies. At bedtime I was braced though.
‘Dummy?’ he asked.
‘Remember, you don’t have a dummy any more.’ I told him.
‘Dummy!’ he cried.
But what could I do. The Blue Dummy had gone. No replacements, no substitutes. I regretted not re-tracing my steps. But was glad that I would have to stand firm as there was no other option.
But we only had five minutes of wailing before he settled down and one cry at 1am when he wakes like clockwork.
The next night, just one request. I was stunned.
Six days on and it’s lovely to see his face properly all the time. He seemed to have taken it well.
Although I did catch him at various points this weekend sucking on his jumper, his coat zip, a wooden toy hammer handle and a plastic Angry Bird, so maybe he still misses it a bit.
Clearly we’ve still got a little way to go.