As a parent to 8 year old and 3 year old daughters l have seen how a dummy can instantly soothe an upset, sick, tired or cranky baby or toddler. While a dummy is such a simple, plain and boring thing to look at, for a parent it can be a miracle worker at various times of the day and even more so at night.
My eldest daughter is actually my step daughter, she was 14 months old when l first met my partner and was well and truly hooked on her dummy well before l came along. The dummy never bothered me, but l remember “quietly” thinking that our next child will not be getting introduced to a dummy…. well that was what l thought!
Our eldest daughter was fast approaching 4 years old and she was still attached to that damn dummy. Both myself and my partner tried a few different techniques to withdraw our daughter from the dummy without much success. Being a step father, it can be difficult to take control, especially if your partner is not 100% supportive of what you might be considering, but it had to be done.
I checked my wallet, armed myself with a pair of scissors and called out to our eldest daughter, who came running into the lounge room where l was waiting. I had a fist full of 5 and 10 dollar notes. Even though our daughter was not quite 4 years of age, she knew what money looked like and she knew what money could buy. (lollies, toys, lollies, toys) I explained to my daughter that l would like to buy “all” of her dummies. I further explained that l would pay between 5 and 10 dollars each (I knew she had a few dummies). Well, 12 dummies later l had run out of money but l was confident l had them all. (except for the one which the misses put aside in case world war III broke out later on).
12 dummies were sitting on the coffee table and l legally owned all of them. I explained to our daughter, that they were my dummies and l was going to chop them up with scissors. Of course this didn’t go down terribly well, l calmly offered our daughter the opportunity to buy her dummies back from me, but l explained she would have to give me all that money back. (She chose to keep the money)
I felt it was important for our daughter to be involved in the dummy destroying process, so she would understand that the dummies are gone and gone for good. Not wanting to buy back her dummies she held the first one while l cut it with the scissors, as l chopped, the rubber end flew up into the air and our daughter thought it was fantastic, so much so that she could not wait to chop the next dummy. One after the other we chopped every one of those dozen dummies…..at last they were gone!
Later that night at bed time, someone wanted a dummy and she certainly let us know that she “really” wanted a dummy. I remember my partner suggesting she get the “back up” dummy from the cupboard, after a little bit of encouragement it was agreed that the back up dummy was not an option. After a noisy and slightly difficult half hour, our daughter was asleep, Without her dummy!
The following day there were numerous requests for a dummy, but each time we explained that the dummies were gone, we reminded our daughter that we chopped them the night before, which she remembered (possibly because of the rubber part flying off into the air). We got through the day without too much trouble and by the following morning our daughter was perfectly at ease with life without a dummy.
My partner and l spoke about our intentions to not introduce a dummy to our future children and we agreed a “no dummy” policy was the way to go……. well 4 years later we had our second child. Cutting a long story short….. Yes she ended up with a dummy!
Ok we did a back flip, some might accuse us of being weak or lacking authority or what ever. We went against what we had originally intended, but we did so because the dummy offered our newest daughter something which soothed her and helped us get a little more sleep than we would have without the dummy.
Our youngest daughter will officially turn 3 next month and l am likely to try buying her dummies soon after. I am hopeful that the all mighty dollar is as appealing to our youngest as it was to our eldest.
I know there will be plenty of parents out there who cringe at the thought of giving their child a dummy, but l also know that there are plenty parents out there who are just like us. Whether you choose to provide your child with a dummy or not, it is your decision and you should not feel pressured, embarrassed, better or worse for that choice.
Despite the negatives you hear from time to time about a dummy, research suggests a dummy can reduce the risk of SIDS and as for teeth problems, research shows a dummy is unlikely to be an issue unless your child is still on a dummy beyond the age of 4. For more information and some interesting facts on dummies please check Wikipedia.
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