Weaning from a pacifier in this house is a very, very long process. I'm not a "cold turkey" kind of mom if I can avoid it - so we drag this out for months on end. I know - that sounds exhausting. Actually, it is so much easier!
For the past several months we've slowly implemented "no paci when you're out of bed." At first I was more lax on this. If he was having a 'moment' and needed it, I'd rather give it to him than hear him scream about it. I have found that telling an older toddler "You can have it for 5 minutes" and then "only one minute left!" works wonders.
Eventually, having the pacifier in his mouth equaled doing NOTHING fun. He had to be in his bed, laying down, to have it. He often settled for just holding it in his hand. If he asked for it during the day I'd say, "Sure, you can have your pacifier... but you have to go lay down in your bed." Trust me, an active 2 year old isn't going to want to do that for very long!
Here we are, almost 3 years old. After months of limiting it, we are now down to really only having it at nap time and at bedtime. Not in the car, not while watching tv on the couch... only during sleep times. Amazingly, this morning Samuel woke up and pulled his paci out of his mouth, put it on the counter and said, "I don't need this." AWESOME! I nearly broke out into a cheer - complete with a toe touch - I was so excited!
I've started some different things with him to encourage his "big boy-ness" and help him relate that to "big boys don't need paci's."
One really simple thing that has helped tremendously with no paci in the van is simply moving his car seat. He's always wanted to sit in the very back (his seat is in the middle row) and it has just never been on my list of things I love to do to have to reach back that far to get him in and out each day. This week, I figured it was time. I told him that since he's done such a great job not needing his paci that I would move his carseat into the back like the big kids. He jumped up and down and did his own little cheer. Super cute stuff.
Now he gets to ride in style in the back. He could not be more proud! He never even asks for a pacifier in the van now... whew!
The fact that he's 100% potty trained now (even at night!!) helps a ton with him feeling so grown up. He still wears pull ups to bed "just in case" but he never needs them anymore. I think this is a record with our kids... we'll see if this keeps up.
All of these major changes in the past few months have me really excited to watch Samuel gain his independance and figure out "who" he is... but I have to admit it is HARD to let him go! Even just the fact that his carseat is farther away from me in the van now makes me sad. He loves it.. but of course Mommy is the one struggling to let him go and grow up like he wants, and needs to.
Over the past few weeks he's even been begging to go to school like Carter and Madison! Umm.. hold up little man! Not yet! He asked when he could go and I said, "when you're four years old." He sort of growled at me and said, "Ohh Man!!!" I suppose spending one more year at home with me full time is not what he's looking for. Why do your youngest children have to grow up so darn fast?! Why does he INSIST on being like the big kids? I want my baby back!