Oral Fixation: Part 2

"I will break you."

Chris and I patted our backs in congratulations over Lorelei’s pacifier wean far, FAR too early.

Last week, after I posted my “Oral Fixation” post, Lorelei had a rough night. She woke and cried and woke and cried and woke and cried. Eventually, we let her just cry it out. And then . . . . silence. Lesson learned, we figured.

At exactly 4:37 a.m., she woke again. “Cover her up,” I said (it was Chris’s turn to rise). “She HAS to sleep some more, or she’ll be CRANKY all day.” Chris sleepily padded down the hall and I attempted re-doze for the umpteenth time that night. All of a sudden, I heard the pat-pat-pat-pat of a toddler bee-lining down the hall. I sat up and saw Lorelei barreling toward me, triumphantly sucking on a pacifier.

I was ticked. “What the heck? Why on earth did you give her a pacifier?!”

Chris was testy. “I. Didn’t. The twerp had it in her mouth when I went in to cover her up. She’s probably had it for the last 3 hours or so.”

I was incredulous. “That’s impossible. I scoured her room for pacifiers the night we weaned her. I checked between the mattress and wall, in her blankets, EVERYWHERE.”

Chris looked at me thoughtfully. “You don’t think she, like, hid a couple for later use, sort of like a dog with a bone, do you?”

I shrugged helplessly. “Either that or she made it appear out of thin air.”

Lorelei, meanwhile, watched this exchanged while sitting up in our bed, smirking behind her pacifier. Then, genius that she is, she looked at me angelically and snuggled up to me, head on my chest.

Show me a mum who isn’t a major sucker for her little one snuggling against her chest.

From a behavioral/reinforcement perspective, Lorelei finding that dang binky was pretty much the worst thing that could’ve happened. Sure, she learned the important life lesson that sometimes you have to try really, really, REALLY hard for what you want in order to get it. But she also learned that she need merely TRY HARDER and a pacifier will be hers.

The next night, she woke up more times than I could count. It became clear that she was replacing the soothing of the pacifier with the soothing a guilt-ridden mommy or daddy could provide, so we concluded we’d have to do old-fashioned cry-it-out the next night. And you know what SUCKS about a 21-month-old crying it out? They’re light years more verbal than infants. Which means that instead of just crying, they can horrifyingly scream, “MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!”

Which Lorelei did. FOR TWO HOURS STRAIGHT.

The next day, she did a repeat performance for an hour and fifteen minutes for her nap.

So, she was a tad hoarse through the weekend.

Last night, she woke up again, and so it went, though she quieted down after less time crying. I’m too nervous to count on it as improvement.

“If I had known how crappy this was going to be, I think I would’ve just let her keep the damn pacifier,” Chris said, acknowledging that Lorelei was breaking him.

“Me too,” I admitted. “But we’re in it this far now. You KNOW we can’t cave.” He knows.

In the meantime, I’m walking around in the sleep-deprived, zombie-like fog of the newborn era, which has reinforced my decision not to create any more children.

Lorelei, bless her sweet little heart, seems to understand that her parents are going batty. She has been extra sweet and affectionate, not to mention charmingly hilarious, like she’s trying to compensate for what she’s putting us through. She even behaved like a dream when we went out to dinner as a family (we were too pooped to cook), something we rarely do these days, as Lorelei is at a difficult (read: horrid) age for dining out. (Charlotte was the same at this age.)

Then again, this child is scary smart. Her charm and sweetness are probably ploys of some sort. I definitely wouldn’t put it past her.

Behaving at Dogfish Head, a rare dinner out for the family.

Revealing her Lorelei sweetness.


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