Down with Pacifiers, Part 2

Last time I mentioned trying to convince the girls they were ready to give up their pacis, we didn't really know what our plan was going to be. 

We debated taking them away at Christmas, maybe leaving them for Santa to "pick up" when he delivered their new toys.  Ultimately, we decided against that, not wanting them to have memories of Santa "taking" their pacis.  It was sometime around Christmas, though, that we started talking up the idea that once they turned three in a few months, they would have to give up their pacis. 

On that last post, my friend Laura Beth reminded me what I'd read about her experiences helping her daughter give up the paci.  I liked their approach--talking about it for months ahead of time so it comes as no surprise, and getting a gift in return.  Because we have waited so long to fight this battle, I felt that talking it through with A & M would help them grasp the concept that we weren't taking the pacifier away just because we wanted to, but because they were growing up.

We picked Addison & Mackenzie's third birthday, April 2, as THE day.  We talked it up for months, casually mentioning every so often that once they turned three, they would be big girls and no longer need the pacis. Addison particularly latched onto the "big girl" idea, and would often tell us that when she was "free" (three!), she would be a big girl and not need a paci anymore. 

In the weeks preceding their birthday, I noticed Mackenzie getting especially demanding for her paci.  She has not had one in the car in more than a year, but she started asking for the old one in the cupholder.  I let her have it, figuring she was getting in her last little bit of time with her beloved paci.  Addison may have actually backed off on her devotion to her paci in the last few weeks before her birthday, so maybe the talking thing helped her.

I decided that the night before their birthday would be the night we left the pacis out for the "Paci Fairy" (ridiculous, I know).  It was the evening of their birthday party, and I knew my girls would be exhausted. 

The exhaustion may very well have worked against me, because both girls WAILED when we told them it was time to leave the pacis on the coffee table.  I expected most of it, but it was heartbreaking.  We rocked and sang and read, and still they wailed on.  Mackenzie was particularly inconsolable, and I was actually afraid she was going to make herself sick.  I wanted to cry myself!  Finally, in a moment of desperation, I bargained with the girls that they could have their pacis to fall asleep, but that I would sneak in before morning and leave the pacis for the paci fairy.  I emphasized over and over that when they woke the next morning, there would be no pacifier. 

In retrospect, I probably should have waited until the night of their actual birthday to institute this life change (sorry again, girls!).  To be quite honest, the morning of their birthday SUCKED for all of us.  We had planned to go to the Nashville Zoo, and at one point, I thought we weren't going to make it.  (Although I was determined I was NOT going to stay home all day with whining, crying children!)  Even the present from the paci fairy had little to no effect on their attitudes.  Addison very seriously told us she wanted a gun for her birthday (???), so the paci fairy delivered two pretty cool Nerf guns:

Eventually, after much sobbing from the girls and many declarations on my part that I was sorry, but the pacis would NOT be coming back, we were able to take off for the zoo.

The day itself went pretty well, with only Mackenzie's angry grunts at me when she was overtired on the way home (Jeremy remarked that he was pretty sure she was cursing at me, she just doesn't know the right words yet!).  And surprisingly, most days since then have been pretty much okay.  Sometimes they are just whiny and won't really say why, but I'm sure it's partly due to the pacis.  Occasionally Mackenzie will say she wants a paci, but we just gently remind her that they are all gone.  

The part of this whole ditching-the-paci thing that worried Jeremy and me the most was bedtime.  The girls have always been great sleepers, and sleep is not something we take for granted in our house.  To be quite honest, we were a little bit petrified to mess with the formula.  To my astonishment, bedtime has not been nearly the drama-fest I imagined.  If M is going to whine about her paci, it is pretty much either after nap or first thing in the morning.  It has hardly been mentioned at bedtime at all!  AND there have been no more nighttime wakings than usual.  Sometimes it takes a little longer to get the girls settled for bed, which I largely attribute to the vast increase in talking and singing we have seen since ditching the pacis, but I can deal with that.  (Just to be clear, my kids talked plenty before--the pacis certainly never deterred them--but without them to work around, they are absolutely unstoppable.  They talk and sing from morning until night.  It's pretty great!)

Overall, I guess I would say we had a fairly good experience getting rid of the pacifiers.  It certainly could have been worse.  Would it have been easier a year ago?  Maybe in some ways...but then again, I got LOTS of extra peace and quiet by keeping them, so I won't say that was a mistake.  : )

I am just glad to be over this hurdle.  My girls are potty trained, eat and drink everything we do, can put on their own shoes, and have no pacis.  Does this mean they really ARE big girls now??  Waaahhhh!  It happens so quickly in the grand scheme of things, doesn't it?

Oh, wait, they still sleep in cribs...that means they're not all grown up yet!  The beds will be our next big step, but I wanted to get fully adjusted from the paci ordeal before we even considered a bed change.  (We plan to just take off the front of the crib and use it as a toddler/daybed for the foreseeable future.)

Have you switched to toddler beds (or big-kid beds) yet?  How did that go?  Prepare me!


  1. Yah for you and the girls. Ava never took a paci and I was so jealous of moms who their kids did. Now I am proud that was one thing I didn't have to deal with. As for the big girl bed. Yes we converted Ava's crib into a bed but she sleeps with us. :) I guess we all have our battles.

  2. I avoided the paci totally and I'm so glad I did. I have heard some horror stories! Glad you're transition was easy.

    We switched the girls to big girl beds right after christmas when we potty trained. I keep a potty in their room, with tissues as tp, so they can go as they please. The switch was pretty much flawless. We played up the big girl bit, and left the side rails of the crib (we have convertible cribs) sitting in their room as a reminder that if they got up the rails went back on. They would be a baby again and couldn't do big girls things.

    I do hear them get up a night, they like to hoard books in their bed. They always go right back to their beds. I also don't force the sleep issue, but the rule is we stay in bed and I don't leave a light on. For the most part they lay and talk(sometimes over an hour) before they drift off. I only intervene when I hear the tell-tale "Shhh sissy go sleep!"

  3. So glad things went pretty well!

    You may know I'm HOLDING OUT on the bed transition, though. I might also use the word "petrified" to describe my thoughts towards the change. ;) KNOCK ON WOOD, our girls sleep so very well...and I just don't want to mess with that!

    The big thing I'm looking forward to with moving out of cribs is the ability to travel more easily. They still sleep in their pack-n-plays, which I know can't be comfortable. I look forward to further paring down our travel items...at least in the next couple of years. HA!!!

  4. oy...getting rid of pacifiers is hard! we did it when our girls were 2.

    and honestly...i thought the transition to toddler bed sucked. my twins went from napping/sleeping like angels, to fighting us at every nap/sleep time.
    one of my girls would fall asleep just fine, the other would get out of bed, no matter what we did.

    finally...a year later...it's slightly better. keep them in the crib as long as you can, IMHO :)

  5. Yay you!

    Well, you know I didn't allow dummies unless for sleep at night or naps but mine are verrrrrry attached to those - they even try and lie to me to get those dummies.

    I just got yet another bee in my bonnet and decided to do it cold turkey with a day's warning - Kendra is suffering the most...

    Our bed transitions (first within the cot with the side off) and then to big beds were mostly uneventful but the big beds seem to be a big party. For about two weeks we (they) took an hour to go sleep but these days they're fine!

    Good luck!!!

  6. Gosh that post sounds a lot like what we went through lol.
    We took the paci's before they started preschool last September, so they were about 3.5-I felt like it was the right time, and they only had them at bedtime so like you, I wasn't going to give up on our sleep until I knew it had to be done. We just switched to toddler beds about a month ago, and I kid you not I'm about ready to give them back.
    We had the convertible cribs also, so when they were bad we told them they had to put the rails back on. We had to do that a couple times, at times they even asked because they were so tired I think. Now the cribs are gone, and I want them back. They are waking up at 2, 3, 4am, walking downstairs alone, in the dark searching for their coloring books. I have no idea why. Its nuts. I don't know if their confused about the time....when they were in their cribs it was time to get up when we went in the get them, not when they woke up.
    I plan on getting an alarm clock with the sun and moon pictures to show them when they can get up. If that doesn't work, we are going to have to separate them. Something I never, ever thought would happen.
    Just make sure your ready to switch over, and don't rush it. If they are not nighttime potty trained, I would stay in cribs for as long as possible....maybe like 10. :p

  7. The bye bye paci event was relatively painless for us. Lyla just gave it up on her own about a month before they turned 3 and Lexi took some bribing but she just said she was a big girl and threw it away right before their birthday. We had converted their cribs to the toddler beds after they turned 2 but they always slept in the same bed together! We ended up just buying a full size bed for them since they will NOT sleep in separate beds. Kind of weird I know but it works for us. We'll be getting them bunk beds probably in December for their 4th bday


Thanks for commenting! I love to respond by email, so make sure yours is connected with your profile. : )