Rather than a visit from the tooth fairy this month, our household was visited by the elusive “binkie fairy!” This fairy came to pick up a single pacifier from each toddler over the course of a few nights.
Obviously this is our creative way to slowly wean off the bedtime binkie obsession the girls have had since birth, something that had to be done prior to Reagan’s tooth pull procedure.
The girls have loved their binkies since the green, newborn ones were provided in the NICU and covered half their faces. The first two years of life were spent with single binkies and animal “wubbanubs” littered across the house and often several within grasp. They were so helpful for soothing the littles throughout the first year, especially when three babies need attention and one only has two arms- and I don’t think we would have survived without them. I can’t remember when we pulled them from daily routine, confining them to only nap time and overnights; that adjustment was disliked by all three but especially Reagan.
Even after confined to their bedrooms, the girls still tried to sneak them out of the cribs and snuggle with them throughout the evening routine, not often successfully but not for lack of trying. Very few days succeeded and those were limited to very hard days, like the whole family throwing up from the stomach flu, after one of Emerie’s surgeries, or when going on a long drive and getting stuck on the wrong side of an avalanche! I’m pretty sure I could have used one to sooth myself.
The first night no one noticed a binkie vanishing, which goes to show how many backups remained in the beds. I kid you not, for months Reagan would sleep with one in her mouth and one in each hand. We introduced stuffed animals a while back, hoping to replace the hand backups with something to snuggle. This somewhat worked and they all have specific lovies that must join in bed every night. Harper loves her red octopus from our last SeaLife Center visit and usually a princess or Moana’s pig Pua, Reagan must have her Panda and green Lambie or she will ask you for them a million times until they appear, and Emerie still loves her purple monkey, now named Monk, her soft, purple hippo, and for the moment her SeaLife Center spotted turtle. Other friends randomly join on different days as well and for the most part they don’t fight over who has what.
The following night the girls gave another binkie up and it went into the baby bottle, accompanied by one “fairy” doll to oversee the transaction. As I flipped off the bedroom light I sneakily handed said doll and binkie bottle off to Grandma Sue, who whisked the objects off to babies in need. When the girls woke up the next morning they discovered that same baby bottle was filled with shiny, beaded necklaces in pink, purple and teal. The fairy was kind enough to even leave the tags on! Everyone wore their necklaces on and off throughout the day.
At nap time there was great discussion regarding the remaining (only) two binkies in their cribs. The girls clearly missed that third one but chatted with each other about them going to other babies. That and how much they only have two binkies!
That night two fairies showed up to take another one. The girls each chose one of their two remaining and placed them into the baby bottle. They checked out the two fairies and discussed losing their beloved possessions, getting a bit sidetracked wanting to go home with the fairies. They stopped asking once they understood fairies live in trees and have to go deliver binkies to crying babies who need them. At least that answer seemed to suffice for the night!
The next morning, right on cue, the baby bottle was filled with another goodie, light up squishy lady bugs! These were immediately taken from the plastic bottle and carried around for a bit throughout the morning.
As predicted, the final night giving up the last one was the hardest. It didn’t help that Harper didn’t nap that day and all three had a good amount of afternoon blush from the sun. Anticipating more difficulty we had a night-night nummy (melatonin) to help them become drowsy. Only minimal convincing was needed for each to add their final binkie to the bottle and take a look at all three visiting fairies, their shoes and pretty hair colors. While no one was thrilled at giving them up, everyone agreed the babies needed them. To our astonishment Reagan handled it the best and didn’t even shed a tear, just asked for her ballerina and hugged her panda. Harper, on the other hand, full on cried and didn’t want to lie down with her animals. Emerie did the same but settled after a few more furry friends joined her in the crib.
After lights out everyone flipped. Harper immediately fell asleep, very overtired from the day, and Emerie right behind her. Reagan, on the other hand, stood in her crib and chatted about the “sad snowman” (abominable snowman they watched earlier) and had a hard time settling down. Everyone eventually drifted off to sleep pretty normally and slept most of the night! I popped in and napped for about two hours on the nursery couch; first because Harper was adamant she didn’t want to sleep, I want my binkie! from the confines of her crib and then Emerie followed within the same hour. Otherwise, the night went off without a hitch and I can’t even believe it!
With Reagan’s tooth procedure at 8 AM, a little fairy game-planning occurred after bedtime. Much to my surprise, they all slept pretty well overnight. We woke everyone up before normal wake up time to ensure all three received their present and Reagan didn’t miss out on that excitement. Nap time went easier than expected too, with everyone snuggling with their animals and drifting off to sleep. Waking up early and the dental procedure probably had something to do with that, and coincidentally the fairies left a gift for everyone when they woke up from their first no-binkie nap!
The next night we received a few questions at bedtime about where the binkies were, but overall discussion was pretty limited. The girls later laid in bed and discussed the vanishing act, with Emerie commenting that the little babies need them while Harper insisted the little babies are mean and took my binkies. It is fun to see their understanding of the event and helpful that they are old enough to comprehend giving something away to someone else. While we still have the normal overnight wake ups off and on, I’m happy we are able to settle them even without the use of a pacifier. The third night everyone slept through without a single peep, telling us that in the not too distant future binkies will be all but forgotten and we can continue to move onto the next stage of bedtime (shhh not yet!).
It’s somewhat sad to take away something that gives them comfort, even knowing they are old enough to understand the binkie fairy logic and are more than capable of sleeping without them. Not a single night in three years occurred without them! I keep reminding myself I felt the same way when we stopped using them during the daytime and in the car and we somehow managed those transitions. I felt the same nerves as we transitioned from tight swaddling to arms out to sleep sacks and I’m sure this isn’t the last bedtime change that will give us anxiety and stress! The next step will be big girl beds and I’m definitely not ready to even think about that yet.
After a couple days without them, the fairy dolls showed up one morning for the girls to keep and play with. We still get the occasional question asking where those darn binkies are and that they want them, but only from the comfort of their cribs. All in all, I believe this was a success and went smoother than we anticipated.
For now, if the girls tell you about their fairy visits, you all better praise them for nicely sharing those pacifiers so other babies can use them. Just saying… 🙂