Even as adults, people form habits that are hard to break, things they don’t even realize they are doing many times. But breaking a child of a habit can be even harder because they don’t understand the concept of “no,” they just think you are being mean.
Around the office and as a student in school, I would watch as people would chew on their pencils or pens, gnaw on the inside of their cheek, pick at their hair or curl it around their fingers, tapping their feet or fingers incessantly on something. Most of the time they were oblivious to what they were doing.
Once they realize their nervous habit, or just everyday habit having nothing to do with nerves, they stop, but other times they are so consumed in what they are doing they never come to the realization of what they are doing.
At times as I work I find myself chewing on a finger or nail, curling my hair, tapping my feet and the such, but none of those things are necessarily bad for my health.
The job of ridding Little Man of his paci (oral exerciser, as my father calls it), is a whole ‘nother task.
I was not a fan of pacifiers from the start, but it helped soothe him when he was upset and gave him something to help ease the pain of cutting teeth. My oppositions are they are hard to keep up with, hard to keep clean and they carry on the bacteria and germs even after a child’s mouth has been washed.
Of course, getting an infant started on a paci isn’t usually a problem, although some little ones won’t take them. It’s the getting rid of the paci part that is difficult on the child and the parents, and the other caregivers.
Last week, one of Little Man’s pacis floated away in the Fisher River as I understand it. And then that same night he just put down his other one and went to sleep without a paci for the first time since he was a tiny infant.
The following day he only asked for it and used it about 20 minutes, and then the three following days he completely forgot about it.
So Saturday as I thought, finally I can announce to the world on social media that we are paci free, I walked into Little Man’s grandparents’ house and there he was sucking on that paci again. I must have jinxed myself.
Apparently, he had gotten tired and on his own, days after not asking for it, like a smoker trying to quit, he went and found the one spare paci I had kept for major emergencies hidden in a compartment in his diaper bag.
Of course, since then he’s used it when falling asleep, until Monday night when he didn’t ask for it again, and when he got really sleepy before going down for a nap.
So, the paci-ridding battle begins again.
I may be jinxing myself again, but after not asking for it Monday night, Tuesday morning he didn’t ask for it either. And now that I think about it, I forgot to put it in his bags as we rushed out the door to the babysitter’s house, so he won’t have it all day.
We’ll see how long this lasts. And before you suggest having him give it away to the baby birds, or the baby raccoons that visit our porch with their mother, we’ve tried and he tells us to go to the store to buy them one, rather than give away his precious paci.
Wendy Byerly Wood is the associate editor of The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1923.