Last night was Night 2 of no more pacifiers for Tyler. For years, Benny has been trying to convince me to get rid of Tyler’s pacifiers. He never wanted Tyler to even start using them. Tyler had an attached tongue and we had a lot of trouble breastfeeding when he was born. As a result, he was never really able to latch on or to fulfill his need to suckle. He kept crying and crying. One night I put a paci in his mouth and it was like he found peace for the first time. He didn’t even need any help learning how to latch on to it.
When he was about 1, his pacifiers were only for use during bedtime or nap time. He wasn’t allowed to have them during the day. Benny kept wanting to get rid of them, but every time the issue came up I refused to get rid of them. I can still remember how important my teddy bear, Stitch, was to me as I was growing up. I still have him. I also know that Tyler needs anchors when he is having an emotional meltdown and that his paci was always something that helped to bring him back.
I am just as bad about Ash’s Frog and Dog. He has two little blankies that have animal heads. They are Frog and Dog. I don’t know why Frog is first because he likes Dog so much more, but that is what they are called. Ash however is only two and the discussion of whether or not he should continue to have these is not one that I want to have for awhile. He only sucks his thumb when he has Frog and Dog and that is the problem. Paci sucking is bad, but thumb sucking is worse. However, I repeat…he is only two! And he is still my baby, so I have a few mommy hangups.
Back to Tyler.
Last night was his second night with no pacifiers. We woke up in the middle of the night to him in our bed and Ash wandering around the house. Tyler must have woken up and not been able to get back to sleep with no paci. So he got up and came into our room, leaving the door to his and Ash’s room open. Thankfully, Benny got Ash back into bed and the three of us slept in the big bed.
It is actually going better than I thought. The first night there was a lot of, “I need my paci. Where’s my paci? I need my paci.” over and over again. Finally exhaustion kicked in and he fell asleep. Last night I tried the distraction tactic, which I regretted almost instantly. I decided to get silly with the boys so Tyler wouldn’t think about his paci, but the silliness went on for about two hours, which is about 1 hour and 45 minutes longer than I wanted it to go on for.
This morning I dropped Tyler off at school and thought a lot about that and the paci thing while I drove to work. His paci was a link to the time when he was still my baby Tyler. I have always been sentimental, but I never knew how hard it would be for me to let go of the things that hold them to their younger years. My gosh, he is only four and I am already having trouble helping him move to the next stage. While I totally take responsibility for my own lameness on this issue, it still makes me really sad that he has to grow up.
And to compound that with him being at school all day! It is like he has this totally independent life from me now. Granted I have always had to work, so he has been going to the grandparents since he was a baby, but they are family. I may not agree with how my mother-in-law decides to discipline them, feed them, etc, but I know how much she loves them and wants the best for them.
Now he is four and has a life apart from us. Am I crazy for being blown away by this? Am I insane to mourn the loss of the paci? I tend to focus on helping Tyler get past his emotional meltdowns and all the other issues that come with autism. So when a regular part of growing up comes along, I am not prepared for it.
When Tyler was a newborn, I had to stay up with him all night. He needed to be held or he would cry. The first 6 weeks was rough. I handled it by sitting on the couch with him and watching Tivo’d House episodes. I was so miserable during this time. I hated it!
A few months later, I did not hate it. I missed it! When Ash came along, I was really looking forward to my nights with just him and me. I started recording shows I was going to watch. Turns out Ash couldn’t sleep if I was holding him. He has only ever fallen asleep with me holding him twice and both times he was older and very sick with a cold. I still spent time sleeping on the couch, because if I had slept on the bed it would have been too difficult to keep getting up every hour or so.
So even though there are a lot of hard times right now. The fussiness, the fighting, the potty training, the meltdowns, etc. I know when I look back I will cherish this time and mourn its passing. I celebrate their growth, but at the same time it makes my heart stop for a few seconds when a growth spurt sneaks up on me. I will miss Ash’s crocodile tears and Tyler’s black and white interpretation of the world. I will miss them needing me to do everything.
As I push them to greater heights, I have an image of myself getting left behind as I push them higher than they could go on their own. Mommy needs to get back in the game and keep climbing too. Still a long way to go. Deep breath. Keep climbing. Don’t stop moving or it will be harder to get started again. And for goodness sake, Rachel, stop looking back. Not helpful.
From my heart,
(c) Rachel Flinchum 9/9/2013