For those who don’t know, the paci is our family’s nickname for a pacifier. Sometimes called a binky, dummy, Susie or chooch (don’t ask), this piece of plastic has been in the mouths of babies around the world. Most commonly used in very young infants, the Dunk has a tenacious grip on his paci. Going on two years old, he still needs his paci.
A necessary part of car rides, nap time, or anytime he is not directly putting food in his mouth, the Dunk truly needs his paci; he calms and becomes civilised (for a two year old). Without one he’s lost, unable to soothe himself and increasingly agitated, hitting, biting, and injuring all around him. Open the glovebox of the van, my purse or check Hubby’s pockets, you will find half a dozen pacis at any time, like a first aid kit, they are an essential part of family life.
I know using a paci this long can affect his speech development and the alignment of his teeth. And trust me, we try to go paci-free for as long as we can during the day. But when he clamps down on my thumb, or arm, or leg, with a pitbull like grip that requires two adults to pry his jaws open, we give up and hand him the paci. He sucks on it like an old friend and instantly calms from the frenzied hitting-biting-force of destruction that has wreaked havoc in so many playgroups.
Well-meaning mothers in the community look at the Dunk sucking furiously on a puzzle piece and cluck at him, admonishing , “No, dirty!” Dunk looks at them wide eyed while I explain they are simply wasting their breath. He was literally born sucking his thumb and as the third child we have watched him consume substances far stranger than that puzzle piece.
A recent trip to our Early Years Centre found the Dunk eating purple animal crackers. Not a specialty treat, he decided once snack time was over and painting time had begun to snatch a handful of animal crackers, and ate them with paint covered hands. As his face turned a distinct shade of lavender, worried mothers suggested I wipe him off. I explained that I had, five times already, and I was giving up.
Child interruption: while I was writing this the Dunk ran out of his bedroom, bit my arm, then removed his diaper and pooped on the floor.
Clearly we are picking our battles here.
The paci wins.