Corinne has always been a big pacifier girl. In the early months Boobah, as we called it, was a lifesaver to us. When she was crying and looking for the comfort that comes from sucking we'd just "stick a plug in it" and she'd be content. Sure there were nuisances with it, like when she'd spit it out in the car and you'd have to drive with one hand, eyes on the road, while crawling your other hand around behind you trying to first locate it and then locate her screaming mouth to plop it back into. Or when it dropped onto a dirty floor at a public place and was the only one you had. Or when she couldn't find it or, in the early weeks, couldn't coordinate her flailing little infant hands to pick it up, and there would be multiple late-night trips into her room give it back to her (S@L use to leave a half dozen or more of them in Zoe's crib so she could always find one). But overall we felt that her ability to soothe herself made it all worthwhile. We worked around the inconveniences by having many Boobah's around, attached to things like her car seat, coat, sling and toys with little cords, and that worked for us.
Then Corinne turned one, the age that we had arbitrarily set as the time to wean off of Boobah, and it became clear that getting rid of Boobah would be no easy task. She loved Boobah, needed Boobah, and frankly it was easier to just let her keep it, especially once we got her PDD-NOS diagnosis. Eventually we got her down to just using it to sleep, and that was OK for awhile. Then she turned two. And then three. The love/hate relationship we had with Boobah began to go south, and we just wanted it gone. Pete, in particular, was frustrated with playing second fiddle to a piece of plastic. There was much discussion about how we could go about ridding ourselves of this unwanted accessory. Pretend to give it to Santa? Sew it into a stuffed animal, so she'd have it but not suck it? Haveher give it to Lily when she was born? Or just go cold turkey and ride out the storm that would surley ensue? We knew that what it would boil down to was a number of sleepless nights of screaming and Boobah withdrawl, and we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Not out of pity for Corinne, but for ourselves. There was nver a time when we felt like subjecting ourselves to this and there was always some other factor that was more pressing: potty training, school starting, a new baby coming, etc.
So imagine our surprise and delight when, last Sunday morning, she informed Pete upon awakening that she had lost Boobah during the night but that was OK because she was a big girl and didn't need him. In the past, as recently as a couple months ago, I would be jarred awake at least once a week with the refrain of "I can't find Boobah", repeated over and over until I wearily dragged myself into her room and relocated the damn thing, usually tangled in her sheets but sometimes under her bed (try crawling around under a bed when you're pregnant). For some reason this time she decided that she could live without him, at least for the night. I think it helped that Pete had been having a lot of discussions with her at bedtime about what a big girl and big sister she is, and all the differences between her and Lily there were, and how Boobah was really the only baby characteristic she still retained. She has been very pleased with being a big girl, and doing things "all by myself", and I think the wheels had been turning in her little head regarding this one last hurdle. Pete spotted Boobah on the floor and quickly stowed him away when she wasn't looking, seizing this once in a lifetime opportunity. He was prepared to have as many sleepless nights as it took.
That night Corinne asked about Boobah and we just kind of brushed it off dismissively, and shockingly she let the issue drop without much protest. I told her that if she could go a whole week without Boobah, I would take her to a toy store and buy her anything she wanted. Every night and at every nap she would ask if we couldlook for Boobah, until I finally told her that the Boobah Fairy must have come and taken Boobah to give to a poor baby whose parents didn't have any money to buy it a Boobah, and how nice it was of her to share her Boobah with a baby that really needed it. Oddly, she has not coveted her own sister's Boobah even once (yes, we opted to introduce Lily to the pacifier as well. Call us glutton's for punishment, but I still maintain that it is worth it for that self-soothing, instant suck satisfaction that it provides. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. When she turns one.)
I won't say Corinne wasn't upset about the loss of this most important of all lovey items (even more so than the beloved Shamu). Just about every night that week she had a meltdown of sorts within a half hour of lights out. Each time it was for a random reason: the cover came off her night light, she wanted her plastic bowl that she liked to fill with toys, Dadda forgot to bring her a drink, or the worst one, when she couldn't find her beloved Zoot (I'm sure that to her it was like, oh no, the last thing I couldn't find I never saw again. Will all my favorite things be disappearing one by one?) It didn't take a therapist to realize that Boobah was the underlying cause of these seemingly petty melodramas. But she made it a week and we made a whole afternoon of going to pick out a special present. I took her to Toys-R-Us, but nothing there seemed like the right reward for this huge victory and sacrifice in her part (plus she was picking out things like easter basket grass and marshmallow peeps as her reward, not to mention a smaller version of Shamu, of which she already has at least three). Instead we went t o Build-A-Bear and she chose a turtle with a removable shell/ backpack. We stuffed it and gave it a beating heart and picked out an outfit, and the whole thing had exactly the ceremonial pomp and circumstance that I had been hoping for. And we named it Boobah, so now when she asks for Boobah, it's the turtle that she gets. I ended up spending $50 on the whole thing, which is ridiculous for a stuffed animal, but Pete and I agreed that it was money well spent to be rid of our nemesis once and for all. I would have bought her a pony if she'd asked for one, just to have this chapter of our lives closed once and for all.
So there you have it, another Corinne victory, and a pretty impressive one, given that it came on the heels of what we thought would be the most traumatic eventof her little life: the birth of her baby sister. Once again, in true Corinne fashion, it's when we expect the worst that we end up pleasantly surprised (and when we least expect it that we get blindsided).
Slacker Family Christmas Letter
5 years ago