Saturday, October 27, 2007

"The time has come, the walrus said..."

Well, when Autumn was nearing her fifth birthday, we sat down with her and had an earnest discussion about her blanky. She agreed that when she turned five she would give it up. Her fifth birthday came and she gave it up. For three months.

And then something strange happened. I can't even remember all the details. But suddenly she had a blanky again. It must've been a different one. I don't think she found the old one. But all the same, there she was hugging that blanky and sucking her finger. (It's been found that the two go hand-in-hand in most cases. She only sucks on her finger when she is snuggling with that blanky.)

So we talked about it some more. But suddenly she wasn't interested at all. I have never seen her react so negatively as she did to the idea of giving it up again. This last year has included a lot of discussion about her blanky although we've tried to keep it low-key and let it be her decision.

Finally she agreed that when she turned six, she would give it up (talk about procrastination).

She turned six this month and again it's been a struggle. But then we decided to offer her a reward. If she could go without her blanky for two months, she could go to dinner and a movie of her choice with daddy. She was initially excited about this...but then she decided movies didn't really matter. She could see any movie (we had tried to impress on her that the movies she was excited about wouldn't always be in the theater). So we talked about toys...again, she would get really excited about one and then a minute later decide that it really didn't matter. It was actually quite comical.

So we stuck with the movie idea and would occasionally ask her if she was thinking about our deal. She always said she was and would say she was about to do it. Some days she would report to us that she barely used her blanky. This was encouraging, but we still wondered when our little procrastinator would take the plunge.

Understandably, this is no small thing for her. She has had a blanky her entire life and sucked on a finger as she holds the blanky.

So, lest you think I just had this urge to rant about a never-changing situation...we've found a solution...and I'm getting to it! I promise!

Yesterday I had an epiphany! What if we told her she could have a PET at the end of the month (everyone says it takes a month to create a habit, so we decided to cut it down from two months). We talked, and she is so very excited about getting a hamster! That was yesterday, early evening, and within a few hours she surrendered her blanky and was jumping up and down (literally) with excitement over the prospect of having a hamster.

I like that this reward is something that will help her be more responsible. It isn't just a date or another toy she would tire of. It's something that will help her grow and help her feel some pride in being old enough to have a pet. I think it will help her understand that the blanky was part of a younger version of her while the pet is something new, something for an older, more responsible version of herself.

By the way -- Do you think that after this I'd be pro-pacifier? Not a chance! And I have my reasons (I'm more than willing to share them...but as this post is already getting a bit long...that'll have to wait until another time). But that's not to say I begrudge anyone the choice to use them. I think everyone should do what they want to when it comes to these kinds of parenting choices!

1 Comment:

  1. Wendi said...
    Congratz! We got lucky with Shannon. She got a sore on her thumb when she was 13 months old and so we put a bandaid on it. She didn't like sucking her thumb with a bandaid on it and so she stopped. It was total luck that it was so easy. I was a thumbsucker and my parents did the bitter tasting stuff on the thumb. It worked on me.

Post a Comment