24 April 2008
House Sitting Part II: Bring on the ShortBus (or: The Truth About Oral Fixation)
Babies are born with certain innate reflexes, and for the most part they go away between two and six months of age. Replaced by actual learned behaviors, once they begin to figure out the world around them, the innate 'reflex' behaviors disappear.
The Sucking reflex is one of those.
When the ShortBus was born, he had a couple of issues, and spent his first three days of life in the nursery under observation instead of with me in my room. I asked the nurses (multiple times even) to NOT give him a pacifier. I told them to call me if he was crying, any time day or night, if he was crying I would go and soothe him. That first night, I slept, and when I woke in the morning, I was shocked that no one had come to get me. So, I make my gimpy way to the nursery (pulled groin muscles are NOT fun), and walk in to see my precious little bundle of joy sucking away on a hunk of plastic.
Long story a little less long, I explained that my kid was not to have a pacifier, they tried to talk me into it, I stood my ground, and every time I left the room, they shoved one into his mouth. *grumble grumble kaiser grumble grumble* So yes, my son came home from the hospital with an oral fixation.
Around two years old, the "binky" became an "only while you are sleeping" thing. And, honestly, that transition went really smoothly - though, heaven help you if you didn't have it at bedtime.
The other night while house sitting for my parents, we lost it. When I say "we" I actually mean "he." When I say "lost," I actually mean "lost." Just like magic, one second he had it, the next it was gone, and though we both looked all over the house, it had apparently vanished into thin air.
The poor kid was heartbroken, but he managed to fall asleep without it. And, since he has only asked about it a couple of times a day (usually, first thing in the morning, and last thing at night). Over all, it has gone much more easily than I expected.
Me? I've been dreaming about the stupid thing.
Two nights in a row now.
And, maybe that symbolism is a loss of childhood innocence. A bit of the old "my baby is growing up, and becoming more independent" syndrome. A little tugging at the heartstrings.
Or, maybe its because I haven't gone through his room yet to be absolutely sure they are all gone. To have gone through the sadness and heartbreak of this little 3 1/2 year old... only to have him find a binky and have to start all over again.
Sometimes, a pacifier is just a pacifier.