It seems like just yesterday I spent 36 hours in labour to finally meet my son Sam. In the blink of an eye, two years has flown by and his second birthday is tomorrow.
Not that I'm tooting my own horn... ok, I am tooting it just a bit (TOOT TOOT!), but I happen to think my husband and I are pretty decent parents. Beside the odd accident here and there, Sam is growing up to be a happy, funny, polite, respectful, creative little boy (TOOT TOOT!). We are far from perfect, however, and my two biggest issues, which I have admittedly been trying to ignore, have now come to the forefront. Notice I said "my" issues. Sam only has these issues because of me and I am the one that needs to fix them. I've read lots of articles and books, and asked numerous people for advice. However good my intentions are, my execution is definitely lacking.
Here is my first dilemma... when Sam turned one I said that we would get rid of the soother. Well, his first birthday has obviously come and gone and we still allow him to use his soother for sleeping. I have to say, Sam is very good about it, he puts his soother down in his crib before we get him out and we've been doing that for quite some time. However, I've been noticing a fair number of older children walking around with soothers lately and I've been focusing on their teeth... crooked teeth. I'm not trying to be judgemental, but this is something I do not want for Sam... crooked teeth. So, for the past few months, I have been slowly tossing out the soothers and we are down to one at my house and one at each of the grandparents.
I have been telling my inner circle that when Sam turns two, we will finally get rid of the soother. I like to say these types of things out loud because then I have to hold myself accountable. Normally this works for me, but as I sit in Sam's room waiting for him to fall asleep (we'll get to this issue in just a moment), I can hear him happily sucking away on his final remaining soother and I lose my nerve. Who is the person in control here?
Sam's second birthday is a mere day away and now I'm not sure what to do or how to do it. Can you feel the panic set in? Plan A was to have him throw it out himself, as many a parent has said can happen. I've asked Sam numerous times over the past few weeks if he's ready to put "shushi" in the garbage and of course he says no... or rather "No Mommy, I need it." (sigh... he said need). To my surprise and delight he actually said yes the other day and wanted to put it in the garbage himself! Maybe this was going to be easier than I thought!! YIPPEE! We walked to the bathroom together and I opened the lid on the garbage for him, and then it happend. He froze, "shushi" in hand, staring wide-eyed at the open garbage can. I froze and before I could think of something positive and encouraging to say... he bolted...ran back to his room crying and put the soother in his crib. "No Mommy, no garbage! Shushi goes here!!" (inserting breaking heart here). Geez, I am such a sucker.
So, Plan B is to cut a hole in it so it loses it's suction (also recommended my numerous parents). Would be considered cruel on the eve of his birthday (insert arrow pointing to me, the wimp). I have no back up soother so am I in for a long night? Quite possibly. Do I have the courage or don't I? I know my husband would do it for me, but the last time we tried something like this, both Sam and I ended up in tears and Paul just got frustrated. Poor guy.
This brings me to our second dilemma, which involves putting Sam to sleep, and actually goes hand-in-hand with the soother dilemma. Is it smart to get rid of the soother when we're still having bed time issues?
Allow me to explain. From the time Sam was born, Paul and I decided to put him in his crib in his own room. We also have a double bed in his room so when we were on our all night feeding schedule, I just slept in there so we wouldn't wake my husband. Once Sam started eating infant cereal at 3.5 months, he would sleep through the night. Sam continues to be a fantastic sleeper and my husband and I are extremely lucky (knocking on wood). However, when we took a family trip to Italy this past summer, Sam slept with us in various hotel rooms for two full weeks. He was definitely suffering from seperation anxiety on that vacation, which has slowly gotten better over the past few months. With one exception... since we have been back from Italy, he refuses to fall asleep by himself in his room. He still sleeps in his crib and he's not trying to get out, but he will cry and cry and cry until he works himself into a complete dither. To say I tried the "cry out" method would be a lie. I have to be honest... I lasted less than 3 minutes. I fully admit that I am the wimp here. While I am glad this method has worked for other people, I just can't fathom the thought (or sound) of my son crying himself to sleep... no matter how many glasses of wine I've had.
So, here I am, sitting on the double bed in my son's room, while he falls asleep in his crib. I have put myself in a terrible position. Sam now fully expects one of us, including the grandparents when they are Sammy-sitting, to sit and wait until he falls asleep. I have created this "monster" of an issue and now I don't know how to fix it. Some have suggested moving Sam to a toddler bed, but are we all ready for that? On a positive note, this time spent waiting has allowed me to start writing my blog. That's gotta count for something right?
So, with the big birthday looming... should I just take the plunge and shell-shock the poor kid into loosing both his soother and his crib? Will I be able to stand my ground? Stay tuned...