As newborns, both of my daughters would take a pacifier now and then, but once the first couple of weeks of their lives had passed and they actually became aware of what was going on they didn't really care for them. After I had determined that Charlotte was not going to be a pacifier girl I lamented the fact that it was now 100% on me and my boobs to satisfy her constant need to suck, but I also breathed a sigh of relief that I would never have to break one of my children of a pacifier habit. I boiled all my pacifiers and handed them off to my friend Carolyn whose baby daughter, it seemed, WAS a pacifier girl. It turned out though that she had discriminating taste and only liked soothie pacifiers, so Carolyn recently returned the rest. I tossed the bag into my box of outgrown sippy cups and baby food making paraphanalia and forgot about it.
Emily and Charlotte would periodically dig the bag of pacifiers out of the box, suck on them, giggle, scatter them everywhere and then move on. I'd dutifully wash them all, put them back in the bag, and put the bag back in the box. I should perhaps move the box, but the rest of my house is so jam-packed with outgrown baby stuff waiting to be passed down to my sisters or sisters-in-law when they start procreating (please get on that girls! Emily and Charlotte need cousins!) that there's not really anywhere else to put it that is safe from stinkbugs (i.e. not my garage or attic or back porch).
About a week ago, Charlotte dug out some pacifiers as usual, only this time she remained interested in them. She chose one and kept it in her mouth as she went about her business. When bedtime rolled around, she still had her pacifier with her, and for the past week she has had one in her mouth almost constantly.
I believe I have mentioned before that Charlotte has been a pretty tough baby. Tougher than Emily anyway, and those are the only two babies I have experience raising. Charlotte also seems to have inherited my sister's "JPL" (just plain loud) gene, and is capable of keeping up an almost constant series of earsplitting shouts and moans if you are not doing exactly what she wants you to do, ESPECIALLY in the car.
But since bonding with her pacifier? She will happily play in her crib for a bit at night, then fall asleep without a peep instead of screaming for 10 minutes after I leave the room like she does EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. She calmly sat on my mom's lap at Will's graduation for about 45 minutes, which is completely unprecedented. She is SO.MUCH.QUIETER. She is more patient on shopping trips. She'll occupy herself while I do some dishes. The list goes on and on.
It has really been like a miracle. It's like all the toughest parts of Charlotte's personality are gone, and I'm left to enjoy the (many) wonderful parts!
Of course, being a mom, my first reactions have been guilt and worry. Will she become dependant on the pacifier to the point where I WILL have to break her of it at some point? Will it mess up her teeth or delay further speech development? Am I being a pushover letting her have it all the time just to make my life easier? I do miss being able to see her mouth. And how weird is it for a 16 month old who never cared about pacifiers before to all of a sudden become obsessed with them?
Then again, she has ALWAYS loved to suck...maybe she is just naturally anxious and having something to suck on is relieving those feelings of anxiety? And if I have found a fairly commonly used and harmless way to make my day to day life go SO much more smoothly, well, don't I deserve a break from all the pawing and screaming and whining and biting?
For now I'm allowing it. There may come a time when it seems to be an issue, but for now I've decided to enjoy myself and enjoy my daughter. We'll let tomorrow take care of itself.