On Tuesday this week our (rather dashing) dentist showed me how Rose’s pearly whites have been affected by her having a dummy when she sleeps. When he asked her to bite her teeth together at our routine check-up I could immediately see that her beautiful little top and bottom teggies don’t meet at the front. Apparently they should move back by themselves within approximately six months but when he pointed out the recommended age to ditch the dummy is three (in order to allow time for this to happen by itself), I realised we were already ten months late and therefore running out of time for her bite to correct itself.
Rose looked up at me and sobbed “But Mummy I love my dummy!!” (and she really did… she put quite a lot of effort over the last couple of years into trying to incorporate it into daytime usage…) and I realised in that moment that she was taking it as gospel that it had to go – and so it was decided. It had to go.
I knew I would feel absolutely awful removing a source of comfort from our very sensitive almost-four year old, but I think my future self would feel even worse about my potentially self-conscious and hormonal teenage daughter needing a painful brace to straighten her smile, so I did what had to be done. I made up a complete load of bullshit about a Fairy, got out the glue and glitter and spent way too much money on ‘Dummy Fairy’ gifts. Thank the Lord for Amazon next day delivery!!
We wrote the Dummy Fairy a letter while Rose enjoyed one last suck of her favourite dummy, decorated the paper (glitter = toddler equivalent to a nice, warm cup of tea: solves absolutely every problem there is) and trotted off to the post box, where a seemingly more settled and even slightly excited Posey merrily bid her dummies a fond farewell, sealing the goodbye with a kiss for the post box. Urgh.
And it’s a bloody good job we did post them because I had a right wobble at around 8.45pm that night, a whole 90 minutes after bedtime, when Rose stubbornly informed me that she didn’t want the Dummy Fairy’s treats, in fact she didn’t want any treats at all, and she most certainly didn’t want to go to sleep. EVER. AGAIN. Gulp.
During those whimper-filled, guilt-ridden 45 minutes I considered:
– popping to an all night Tesco to buy replacement dummies
– giving her one of her sister’s dummies out of the cupboard (asked about her, absolutely no rush, she can keep it until she’s three)
– braces must have come on so much since I had one that they’re probably virtually invisible these days
– suggesting she suck her thumb instead
– letting her suck my thumb
– dry nursing
– there might be a trend for buck teeth one day in the future (oh come on, I’ve read about feather eyebrows this week. Feathers. Seriously. Buck teeth isn’t all that ridiculous, surely?!)
– running away until morning
I had meant to get round to this sooner, I really had. But there was never a good time. Every time I considered it she was either poorly or going through something big (baby sister’s arrival, starting preschool, realising sandwiches aren’t always square shaped) and I just couldn’t face making those experiences harder when her teeth looked absolutely fine to me anyway. So I had decided to just let her have it until she was done with it.
Well, it turns out her teeth aren’t fine, and I had also had a sneaking suspicion that the damn dummy was a factor in her constant colds/ear infections and as there wasn’t ever going to be a Right Time I went for Right Now. In fairness, it’s four weeks until our wedding so she’s got loads of time until we have to sleep away from home, for once she actually isn’t poorly, she’s off preschool this week on Easter holidays, oh and, rather conveniently, the dentist just told her it’s damaging her teeth so I can blame all of this on him, so this was probably as good as it’s going to ruddy get.
Night one was rough. She stirred a few times, realised she hadn’t just misplaced it and therefore needed lots of cuddles and reassurance (we co-sleep so this wasn’t a huge problem for us) and then night two gave a much easier bedtime, after she accepted her offer to trade her least favourite part of her Dummy Fairy treat for her dummy back wasn’t going to work, and we had just one night time wake-up which was swiftly resolved. Last night (night #3) you wouldn’t even know she used to have one and the only thing which woke her was an annoying cough which is just arriving.
I am so proud of her. I can’t even begin to imagine how strange that first night must have been. It’s like someone insisting I sleep with a dummy IN all of a sudden. Thankfully we didn’t allow daytime dummies as I think we would have had to adopt a much more gradual approach, but for us cold turkey won out. Only 16 months until we have to do it all over again! Eek!! 😬