This happened in our home a few weeks ago; I hope it will help other parents going through the same ordeal:
It’s a developmental milestone, a right of passage, a time in his life I’ve been eagerly anticipating and dreading at the same time. Tonight the Binky Fairy will visit Devin and take all his pacifiers (which he calls na-na’s) to the little babies who need them. In return she will leave him a very special toy he picked out for just this occasion. Now that he’s nearly three, he must say farewell to his beloved companions forever.
8:02pm Devin comes downstairs with a binky in his mouth and four others in his hands. Dad encourages him to leave them on the fireplace and to “pitouey” the last one. He hesitates but spits it out and carefully lines them up. Dad non-chalantly leads him upstairs.
8:28pm Dad tries to leave the boys’ room as usual, but Devin asks in the voice of an angel for his na-na’s; he sounds pitiful.
8:44pm Devin is now screaming, “I want my na-na’s!” Dad reassures him he’s a big boy, that he doesn’t need them, and how great the Toy Story Moving Day Adventure Pack will be. He refuses to be consoled.
9:10pm I go into his room. Surprised to see me, he politely asks me for his na-na’s. I tell him I know it’s hard but he’s a big boy and he can do this. I’ll stay next to him to help him settle down.
9:22pm No longer tight like a ball, his body is all stretched out and his breathing is more relaxed. I’m doing a victory dance in my head when I start to slink out of the room. That’s when he pops up and starts flashing his flashlight. He begins pleading for his na-na’s and Daddy again. I leave him crying and screaming.
9:34pm Dad goes up to his room to lie next to him. Devin finally settles down again.
9:50pm Dad comes downstairs--triumphant that Devin is asleep.
10:10pm The Binky Fairy gets busy working on a special note with stickers and glitter, thanking Devin for his bravery and contribution for the babies of the world. The special toy is left on the fireplace and the binkies are tossed into the trash. I couldn’t cave and give Devin a binky now if I wanted to. It’s a little hard knowing one day these are essential to our existence, our sanity, our peace. Now they’re nothing more than garbage.
11:33pm Just as I nestle under the covers, Devin begins crying. Dad is able to settle him down.
11:41pm Devin cries again; Dad pops up.
11:49pm Repeat above scenario for another HOUR. My presence only makes it worse. I lose count of how many different techniques Dad uses to break the cycle of unhappiness. Oh, this really sucks!
1:05am Devin finally asks if the Binky Fairy had come yet. He and Dad go downstairs to discover she has indeed taken the binkies and left the much-anticipated toy. Exhausted but elated, he settles into his bed clutching Buzz, Woody, and the rocket.
The Day After BF
6:05am After such a stressful night, I’m hoping the boys will sleep in. Nope. Devin is already pressing the button non-stop that repeats, “This isn’t flying; it’s falling with style.” Devin asks if he can keep the toy and get the na-na’s back. “Sorry, pal.”
6:50am His older and wiser brother Bobby knows what Devin is going through. The Binky Fairy visited him 3 ½ years ago. “You know she will never, never, never, never bring your binkies back,” he confides. I’m waiting for a trail of tears to begin, but Devin responds, “I know.” Maybe we’re over the hump.
All morning: I do my best to keep him busy and hide all of his little sister’s pacifiers. Since they’re a different style, I doubt he’ll confiscate them for his own, but I don’t put it past him.
1:45pm It’s nap time and Dad takes him upstairs. Normally he would have a na-na in his mouth before he climbs into bed. Devin sheepishly asks him for a na-na, to which Dad responds, “Do we have any na-na’s?” He answers sadly, “No” and lets it go.
Night time seems to go easily; he slips into our bed during the night but no crying.
Two Days After BF
Devin has school for 5 hours and seems exhausted when I pick him up. A small misunderstanding puts him into a tailspin of anger and frustration. In the old days he would have settled down quickly with a binky, but those days are gone. Now I have to just listen to the crying until he passes out. Thankfully he takes a long nap, not once waking to ask for a na-na.
At Bobby’s baseball game, Devin is pushing the envelope of obedience. When Dad says, “One more time and you’ll lose your bedtime stories,” I cringe. Please don’t do it, please don’t do it. He does it. Dad has no choice now but to take away the last soothing aspect of going to bed.
7:45pm When he remembers his punishment, Devin pleads for his books but Dad stands strong. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Devin becomes hysterical. A na-na would have shut this behavior down, but we march forward.
9:15pm Devin finally settles down and sleeps in his own bed all night without a peep.
The Two Weeks After BF
From this point on, the days blend together: some good, some bad. Just when we think we’re in the clear, Devin cries inconsolably from 2-3am. But there have been no more requests for his beloveds and he even proudly fetches a binky for his little sister when needed. There are moments when I literally ache from the growing pains Devin has endured recently. But then he blows me away with his newfound confidence and independence. He no longer hides his radiant smile behind a piece of plastic. It’s there for everyone to see that he has earned his new standing of a BIG BOY.