The Binky/Bedtime Chronicles Part II

Oh fine, I've put it off long enough. It's time to talk about How We Gave the Binky Back  (in italics because it's the running title of our upcoming worst-seller). Honestly, I'd be surprised if this doesn't become national news. I can just see Robin Roberts from GMA now: "Next up we'll interview some pathetic Council Bluffs parents -- stay tuned."

My first mistake was proclaiming in the comments of my Big Girl Panties post that May 24, a month prior to Faith's 2nd birthday, would be D-day. Well, Rob and I ended up with party plans that night and it hardly seemed fair to turn beloved gammy Janny into She-who-should-not-be-Named in Faith's eyes.

So the next night, May 25, as we were driving home from Missouri Valley, I was lining up excuses in my head to put off the "extraction" until her 16th birthday. The next day we'd be going on a long car trip and a nap would be essential. The following weekend she'd be staying the night with Rob's mom. Without warning, Rob told Faith she was a big girl, that she didn't need her binky and to hand it over. For no other reason than God is good, Faith placed it in his paw.

When we got home she was still wide awake. Since following through on my proclamation wasn't my idea, I told Rob bedtime duties were all him. Faith didn't disappoint. She wailed for a solid 10 minutes, holding the I in binky like it was the last note in a song. After about 3 minutes, I couldn't stand it and left the room. I started to cry, too. Hearing your kid that distressed is upsetting. Knowing you could easily fix the problem by putting in a plug makes it even more unbearable. But since Rob was born with that trait they call patience, he waited her out. She eventually calmed down and slept well that night. The next day we had the true test of a nap in the car. After putting up a 10-minute fight, she was out. This isn't so bad, I thought. The next night she went down so easily I was in disbelief. It was just like the books said, they cry one night and then they're over it.

And then Faith decided to join the circus. Or at least audition. That Monday, Rob's first official day as a stay-at-home dad for the summer, Faith tried to climb out of her crib. I wasn't there, but Rob tells me he had just made it downstairs when he heard screaming. Pained screaming. Faith got her foot stuck between the outer crib rail and the inner rail and was somewhat dangling inside the crib. She could've broken her leg, but thankfully was fine. If it scared Rob, I knew it must've been bad. He doesn't rattle easily.

That night Faith and I went to Target to pick out new bedding while Rob converted the crib to a bed. There weren't a lot of options for toddler girls, but there was the perfect option for Faith. Pink and purple cupcakes and ice cream.

We hoped she wouldn't realize she could just get out of the bed, unlike the crib. Those hopes were quickly dashed and then smashed when we realized she thought it was a train. She kept getting off and back on, saying "All Aboaaard."

Let's see here.
The first night she fell out.

And then for the next 2.5 weeks, her bedtimes (which used to be an enjoyable routine for all involved) became Cryfest, Sobstock and Wahwahpalooza all rolled into one. I must have tried to put her back in bed 10 times one night. And that was it. I calmly walked to the edge of the stairs and asked Rob if I could give her back the pacifier. (We threw all but one away.) I knew she was tired,and that she just needed her bink to get a wink of sleep. Oddly enough, Mr. Tough Guy obliged. I thought it was weird, but wasn't about to question it. I handed over "pink bink" and Faith rolled over and immediately went to sleep. I felt instant euphoria, followed by instant guilt. I hung my head and went downstairs. Rob held up his hand for a high-five and then he fessed up with little to no interrogation. Just 5 hours before that he'd cracked. After trying for more than 1.5 hours to get Faith to nap, he caved and gave her the pacifier. He claimed he was going to tell me when I came downstairs. I think he was hoping it was a one time thing. Not the case.

Since that night, bedtime (with a bink) HAS gotten easier. She still gets up a few times before she's down for the count. And sometimes she falls asleep in the hallway, behind her door, on her rug and even in our bed twice when I accidentally left the door open.

But there's no crying, whining or wailing from any of us. And I have my evenings back to blog, read and relax, though we still get up once or twice a night to tend to her.

I think her struggles of staying in bed initially had more to do with the transition from the crib than giving up her binky, but we would have never taken it away had we planned to switch to a big-girl bed just three days later. So yes, now we have to do wean all over again. But we've been very strict that it doesn't leave her bedroom from now on (unless we're driving home from somewhere at bedtime and then she gets it in the car). She can even reach the drawer it goes in and knows to put it away once she's up for the day.

Since I'm anti-cut off the tip and/or dip it in something nasty, I think we'll go the binky fairy route when she's old enough to understand it. Probably by age 10. ;)

p.s. Thanks to EVERYONE who offered their support and words of wisdom on my last post about binkies (in the comments and on Facebook). You have no idea how much it means!

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