Pacify or Bust


Have you ever known an addict who just begged you for another hit of whatever they’re into, and they cry and whine and plead and promise things and you just get really worn out from being a sober companion? Do you seriously consider giving in so you can get one freaking evening to yourself without all the crying and calling and yelling already?

Congratulations.  You know what it’s like to break a three-year-old of his precious pacifier.

I know there are probably those parents out there who have not had to fight this particular battle.  Perhaps they just instruct their mild-mannered kids that the Magical Passy Fairy scooped up all the little suckers and it’s all just a glittery land of nod for all.  Or maybe you sliced the big fat plug of plastic with scissors to ruin all the sucking fun and your child just chucked them by the bedside as they drifted peacefully to sleep dreaming of turtles. Or maybe you just went cold turkey and it wasn’t a big deal.  Well right now I’m hating on all you people because this is WAR I tell you, and I’m so losing.  Well I’m winning, actually, because there’s no passy around, but my emotional health and sanity is gone, so who’s the real winner?

It starts off at 7:30, with a lovely hot bubble bath to calm down the soul.  Then we brush brush and off to bed with jammies and smiles spit spot, chop chop, like Mary Poppins on her very best night. My daughter just dutifully crawls into bed with classic novels and turns off her own light when she’s done and I’m sitting in bed reading to my son.  “One more,” he demands.  I give in, because of course reading is always a winner and I’ll just read as much as he wants because vocabulary’s a win and illiteracy’s a loss and so we read about trucks and trains and pigs and sheep and finally after seven books I’m like Mommy’s tired, kid.  Lay the heck down.

But then comes the “please don’t leave me” bit around 8:15 pm, because apparently in another life I abandoned him along the roadside and he was raised temporarily by a pack of gypsies and ended up in Pensacola, so he is deathly afraid I’ll leave him again when the lights go off, so I have to reassure him that I’m sitting right outside and won’t get in my car for a Starbucks run.  He quiets. It’s 8:30, and I’m golden.

Until at 8:32 when he suddenly remembers.  My beloved and cherished passy! It’s miiiissing! Has he told me lately how much he wants it?  Has he screamed at me thirty-seven times to find it, or to look for it, or that the loss of this plug has caused a deep wound in his heart? Apparently not! Yay for reminders! I pour a glass of wine and breathe deep.

9:00 pm rolls around and my son comes wobbling in, exhausted beyond belief.  He just can’t sleep, he says.  I explain that sleeping’s hard when you’re screaming, or yelling for momma, and perhaps just laying there is a better option.  He looks at me like I’m some sort of alien.  Uh, hello there, you moron.  Did I remind you that my passy’s missing?  Yeah. You mentioned it.

So at 9:45, folks, I’m really worn down.  I’ve patted and tucked and loved and kissed.  I’ve convinced him I’m not putting him up for adoption and that he’s not ending up in a van and yes I’ll open the door or sit right here or scratch your back or sing you lullabies and hells bells I have a life please for the love just close your eyes and go to sleep. 

There really needs to be an AA program for passys.  I’m a terrible sober companion. I think it’s just called “growing up,” but seriously.  It seems like a long way away from here.




  1. I so remember when our son and his wife was breaking their son Josiah of the binky, my son said “Josiah, they are gone. We gave them to other little boys and girls who would like them and need them. You are a big boy you don’t need them any more.”… Josiah was very quiet. Always a thinker.
    And then he said in a very serious tone to his voice, “give me the names, I want the names of those kids.” we all laughed later… at the hit man ‘gonna get those kids’ Josiah.
    Mommy and daddy didn’t give it back. Now the third son is almost two and he is losing his very soon.
    Those binky, pacifiers should only be for very tiny babies. NOT toddlers. I even saw a girl today who seemed to be age four, with one in the grocery store. Really?

  2. I thanked God for that binky, believe me. Only one of my kids loved it and she gave it up when she was about a year old, all on her own. But my grandkids all loved them and sometimes it was a real struggle. I feel your pain, I do. (And it’s not quite as bad for your teeth as a thumb or finger, right?) Sigh.

  3. smiling, remembering those long, exhausting, endless evenings when little ones wouldn’t nod off …


  4. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? says:

    I loved the pacifier. It was my best friend. Fortunately, my son loved it too!! I’m super blessed that when it was time to give it up, he went cold turkey and never had an issue. He was probably between 2 & 3. Right at the stage that he was getting too old for it, and I explained that he was a big boy now and bless his heart, it worked! Of course, for years and years I kept finding random ones around the apartment. Even 5 years later when we moved, I found three! Apparently he was addicted! So, I wish you luck and am sending up prayers for your sanity!

  5. Beth Anne Reed says:

    My heart goes out to you! My older son never much cared for his pacifier, but my younger son… Well our saving grace was when we accidentally lost his favorite and he didn’t care for the taste or shape of the replacement hurriedly bought late into the night. He was tactile in other ways, so giving him something made of a fabric that he liked to touch became his new soother. (Until his father made him man up and throw it away when mommy was out of the house…)

    He’s 23 now and I still struggle at times how to soothe him.

  6. This is great, Amanda. Love the idea of an AA program for passys!

  7. WHY do I come over here after filling my mouth up with a beverage, only to have said beverage fly through my nostrils?!?!?!

  8. girl, you slay me.

    every. time.

  9. “raised by gypsies”

    Seriously, snort-larfing over this one and girl, I needed that! Today has been high-stress! Oh, and thanks for not ignoring the Starbucks people. :)

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