Sunday, April 03, 2011

Security blankets

The twins have security blankets. Well, in the case of Evan, it is a security Duck Duck and Jordan has a security Ellie (Elephant). They bring it everywhere. I break out into sweat whenever I imagine Evan losing his Duck Duck because it seems like they don't make it anymore and nothing else would suffice. We even have difficulty prying it from his strong little hands when we have to get it washed.

We've pretty much accepted that Ellie and Duck Duck are permanent fixtures. Evan has conversations with his Duck Duck and is surprisingly gentle with him. Jordan has given Ellie a bath before because she felt that Ellie was just a bit too dirty.

The ones we've managed to get rid off have been Jordan's pacifier, their milk bottles and most recently and hopefully permanently, Jordan's night diapers.

The pacifier was the most urgent because Jordan was lisping because of it. We had to constantly tell her to take her pacifier out of her mouth when she talked. It was her source of comfort. When she fell down and was hysterical, while still sobbing with tears, she would drag a stool to reach the box it was kept it. I worried. I didn't want her to be one of those children who looked like they'd obviously outgrown the dummy.

As with everything we need the kids to do for us, we give them ample warning. About 2 months before their third birthday, we started psyching Jordan about throwing away her pacifier. We wanted her to do it instead of us. She had to want to. But the problem was how to do that. It took 3 months, 2 plane rides and a week in another country before she let it go. Thankfully, without much of a fuss. Actually, we were the ones that made the fuss. We had a whole ceremony where we gave her each pacifier, told her to suck it for the very last time and then spit it into the bin.

We were plain terrified that she would look for it and make our lives a living hell because she used it to go to sleep. Surprisingly she didn't.

The same thing with the milk bottles. I was quite embarrassed that they were still on the bottle but I had heard horror stories of how children stop drinking milk when their bottles got taken away. And since my kids were already on the small side, I kept hedging. All the while, at the back of my head, a voice kept nagging; it's bad for their teeth, American child care centres wouldn't take in charges unless they were off the bottle (so it could be done!) and so on.

Once again, the twins surprised me. I presented them colourful sipper cups and told them they were big children and didn't need the bottles anymore. Evan even added "Only babies drink from bottles." Indeed. Of course, if given the opportunity, they would prefer the bottle. Afterall, it is easy, it is familiar and they have had the same bottle since they were 1!

So I learnt two lessons from getting rid of two of their security blankets.

1. It's a breeze when they are ready. And it's much easier when you've already pom-pomed them into a state where they believe that they are.

2. Always get rid of the temptation to fall back. Throw it away. I left the milk bottles in their box and in a moment of collaborative weakness between caregiver and child, the bottle was used when I was not home.

Evan hasn't gotten rid of sucking his thumb. That's my next big project. I've told him that he doesn't need to get rid of his Duck Duck. He just needs to stop sucking his thumb. But the 2 are inextricably linked. Hold the Duck Duck and in goes the thumb. I just need to get rid of that association.

One battle at a time.

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