Sunday, October 31, 2010


Dear Dummy,

I have loved you over the years. So great was my belief in you, my reliance upon you, I have been willing to sing your praises from the rooftops despite an oft-found sentiment that you were neither healthy nor necessary. But, I argued, you worked for me, for us, so I loved you.

I stuck you in L's mouth on day two of her life, after a night dealing with an unsettled baby who just wanted to suck. I know now that she really needed to be on my breast, but I was taking the independent route, establishing a routine early on, that sort of thing. She took to you like a fish to water and we never looked back. There was a brief period at about five months where I found myself getting up too many times a night to stick you back in her little mouth and quell her crying. That was when I tried to get rid of you, to no avail. Soon after she learned to stick you back in herself, and long, glorious, sleep-filled nights followed. My baby was a brilliant sleeper, and as a toddler she'd happily stay in her cot till 9am, playing and chatting and probably sleeping a bit more - because she had you. At an appropriate age you were reserved only for bedtime. And the love affair continues.

I had a few of you in my hospital bag when I went in to have the twins. I think I called you into action on that first exhausting night. With two babies to deal with, and stitches in more than one place, I was going to need the extra help you could provide. There was no question of trying without you. The girls didn't suck instantly, but with a bit of cajoling, you became firm friends too. You have been used day and night, not just for bedtime but to calm them down at anytime. There has always been a quiet niggling that I have overused you - I have used you in the car, in the high chair at mealtimes, even in the bath. I have always taken the easy path - stick in the plug and enjoy the peace and quiet, even if it lasts only a few minutes.

You became a problem at night-time months ago. Not only were we being woken to stick you back in several times a night, but often you failed to put the girls back to sleep. They were so dependent on you, and on us to provide you, but I knew from previous experience how hard it would be to wean them off you, so I persisted, waiting for the golden days when the girls could retrieve you themselves. At nearly eight months, they weren't even close.

When the kind and gentle women of the Tresillian Resort and Spa said they'd try to get rid of you for me, I was cynical. "Sure," I thought, "you know your business,  but you don't know my girls. These babies are hooked." I don't think they'd ever been to sleep without you. Until a few weeks ago when, on night one of our four-night stay, P went off for the night - the whole night - dummy-free. And the following day and night, S joined her. Two long day sleeps and an entire night without you. And the next day. And the day after that.

I thought once you were gone that I'd never be able to see you again. But it seems that now we are no longer dependent on you, you are more useful to us. You have more power. So when S and P are really struggling to settle, I can pull you out as a last resort and you work a magic I thought you'd long since tired of. S still wants you most evenings but, once asleep, she's happy without you for the rest of the night.

So I guess I still love you. I just don't need you as much. And my girls certainly don't need you as much either. Our days are a bit different now - I need to get a bit more creative to entertain them when the whingeys set in. But I think it will just take time for P and S to get used to life without you.

Now to try and get the three-year-old to give you up...


PS A lovely side effect of your retreat is I get to see those beautiful sleeping faces without a big piece of plastic blocking the view. Gorgeous.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhhhh.... smooch for those beautiful, unmasked faces :)


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