Posted by: laughs4dads | August 20, 2010

Pacifists

So it’s time to get your child off the pacifier (especially if she’s in high school). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most children discontinue their nonnutritive sucking habit between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Many pick up the habit again as adults, but that’s a subject for another day. And, perhaps, a porn video.

So how do you de-pacify your kid without having to listen to endless screaming for 2-3 months? Here’s my easy, 3-step method:

Step 1. Very gently remove the pacifier (or Binkie, or thumb, or beef jerky stick) from your child’s mouth. Use pliers, if necessary.

Step 2. Take the pacifier with you as you leave the house.

Step 3. Stay away for 2-3 months.

This, of course, won’t prevent endless screaming. But you won’t have to listen to it.

In her post called “Breaking the Binkie Habit,” Julie Z. Rosenberg says, “If your child is 4 or older and still sucking away, this is one of those instances where peer pressure is a good thing.” She tells us that Dr. Charles Shubin of Mercy FamilyCare, a division of Family Health Centers of Baltimore, recommends staging, a series of increasingly restrictive rules that reduce the use of the sucking apparatus in question. She writes:

“For example, tell your child that she can only use a pacifier in the house. Once that rule is well established, limit pacifier use to a particular room, such as her bedroom. Next you limit it by time — only at night, for example. These small steps will ensure that behavior modification endures.”

By the time your child is sucking only a rope, in the library, with Mrs. Peacock, you can pretty much guess the murderer.

Wait, I got sidetracked there.

Well, first of all, what exactly does Ms. Rosenberg mean by “peer pressure?” Is Dr. Shubin four years old? Is Ms. Rosenberg? Then I don’t see how peer pressure comes into play, although, apparently, a dictionary might be helpful. That aside, I must say that Dr. Shubin’s approach seems more reasonable than the one my mother used, which was to put some evil-tasting substance on my thumb.

Or it may have just been some of her cooking. Her liver and onions maybe, a vile concoction with an odor that may have been even more disgusting than its actual taste, which resembled Vegemite, an Australian food spread made from yeast extract that tastes as though you stuck a knife in your car where the dipstick goes and spread that on your bread, which explains why Australia’s chief export is actors who can speak with American accents.

Where was I?

Right, pacifiers.

Ms. Rosenberg goes on to talk about Dr. Shubin’s preference for positive reinforcement:

“If you see her using a pacifier at a prohibited time or place, don’t berate her. Instead, actively ignore the behavior. For example, say something like this out loud to no one in particular: ‘I can’t wait until Sophie stops sucking on her pacifier because I really want to read her favorite Dr. Seuss books with her.’”

This, obviously, will make your child think you are a deranged individual, particularly since his name is Herman.

“If there’s one thing kids hate,” Ms. Rosenberg quotes Dr. Shubin as saying, “it’s to be ignored.”

I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled about it either, when my daughter was a teenager, and I was the ignoree. Or maybe the ignoramus.

In conclusion, let me just say that you should make sure that your kid is pacifier-free by the time he or she goes to college, even if you have to have the pacifier surgically removed. Also, I highly recommend eating pacifiers over my mother’s liver and onions, especially if you spread some Vegemite on them.

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