Monday, May 2, 2011

The World's Clumsiest Binky Fairy

My kids have all been binky-obsessed. ALL. And I do mean obsessed.

It's totally great for awhile! The binky has helped all three of my babies to become good sleepers at a young age, and been a total lifesaver on car rides and anywhere where we need them to be quiet. Just pop it in their mouth. . . all quiet! Baby crying in the middle of the night? Just find the binky, stick it back in their mouths, and. . . blessed silence. It has without a doubt been my favorite "parenting crutch."

But sometimes. . . Enough is ENOUGH.

Kirsten, at 3 1/2 years old, had never slept a single night of her life without her binky. I had to hide it from her during the day, put it on the highest possible shelf out of her reach. Because if I didn't, she'd wait until my back was turned and sneak it back into her mouth. I think that girl would have sucked on her binky all day if I let her. Yes, at 3 1/2 years old! Natalie (almost 2) wasn't quite as obsessed as Kirsten but still slept with her binky for every single nap and nighttime sleep. The two of them combined were the die-hardiest of binky fans I've ever seen.

I meant to take Kirsten's away from her earlier. . . I really did! But right before she turned 2, baby Natalie came into her life and turned her world upside down, and I just couldn't bear to take away her one source of comfort. Natalie started using the same kind of binky Kirsten used, and then before I knew it I had a new problem on my hands. If I took Kirsten's away, she'd just be stealing Natalie's binky all day long. I had to take them away at the same time. I always limited the binky to sleeping or very long car rides starting between 1 year and 18 months, but they ran to those binkies like they were candy when I let them have them. Excited, smiling, blissful and content.

I reached the very end of my rope about it when Kirsten started refusing to nap. Obviously very tired but insisting she was "too big for naps", I said, "Alright, fine! A girl who is too big for naps is also too big for a binky!" I was so sick and tired of that binky I couldn't stand it for one more night!

So I talked up the binky fairy. A LOT. I made that fairy sound like a hero! I wove tales of the beautiful binky fairy who would come take their binkies away and give them to little babies who needed them. I talked about the presents she would leave for them in exchange, because they were such big girls. Natalie would have none of it, and didn't really understand, but on the night of the Binky Fairy's arrival, Kirsten seemed ready and even kissed her binky goodbye and put it in a special box. That lasted for. . . about 5 minutes, until it was time to actually go to sleep without it. She didn't care one bit for the present or the nice note the Binky Fairy left on her pillow. Oh, the screaming and wailing that were coming out of Kirsten and Natalie's room was heartbreaking! I felt so cruel! How's a mom supposed to feel when her daughter is telling her, "Mommy, you need to fly and go find the binky fairy and get our binkies back from her!" in the midst of sobbing and weeping?

I started to think about the other option I'd read about. . . cutting just the very tip off the binky and letting them have it, and then gradually cutting a tiny bit more off each night until your child loses the pleasure from it and no longer wants it. It seemed like that option was going to go over more easily in our house. Except the binky fairy already took the binkies away. . .

So I came up with a genius solution! I took Kirsten's orange binky and Natalie's pink binky, cut a tiny bit of the tip off, and went back up to the bedroom full of screaming and crying. And told them what happened:
"Look what we found! Your binkies! The binky fairy must have accidentally dropped them as she was flying out the window, because Daddy found them outside on the ground. But look. . . they fell such a long way down that they're broken now. I'm sorry!"
(Yes, I truly hope I didn't give Kirsten a complex about some crazed, clumsy binky fairy dropping her precious to the ground as she was flying away. I'll let you know in a few years).

Natalie wasn't having anything to do with the broken binky. She cried and moaned, and threw it across the room. But Kirsten clutched her binky, stuck it right into her mouth, and sucked on it anyway. She slept with the binky that night, and I wondered if I'd made the right decision.

Kirsten sure was a stubborn one. She talked a lot about the broken binky over the next few days, and slept with it either in her mouth or in her hand at night. She came up with some brilliant solutions too. . .
"Mommy, we need to take the binky to the doctor so he can fix it!"
When I told her doctors can't fix binkies, she came up with this one: "I know!!! Tape!!! Let's fix it with some tape!"

Bedtimes were rough, and we dealt with a lot of crying from both of them. I cut small amounts off Kirsten's binky for the next few nights, hoping she would just lose interest and wouldn't be trying to suck on a tiny little stub of plastic anymore. And you know what? It took an entire week, but it eventually happened. . . both girls fell asleep without their binkies and completely stopped asking for them.

Yep, it worked! Hallelujah!

Today when I was doing some organizing in their room, I found the two broken binkies under Kirsten's bed. I put them in a box of trash, and Kirsten wandered into the room and saw them. "The binkies!" She picked them up, held them for a few minutes, and then when I explained they were going away forever she slowly set them back down in the box. And now all traces of the binkies are gone. Whew! It's like a weight has been lifted off me!

So I learned a few things. I learned to use the solution that works best for your own children, and if the first thing you try doesn't work, feel free to get creative and change it up until it does work. I learned to be patient and give kids about a week to get over it. I also learned to get rid of the binky at a younger age. The younger they are, the easier they'll get over it!

Brookie is still going strong with her binky. The older two girls don't steal Brooke's, because I bought a different brand for Brooke to avoid the problems, and she'll still have hers for awhile. I think I'll be a little sad when my last baby gets rid of their binky someday. It just seems like the last mark of babyhood, and they're suddenly older and more mature without it. Funny all the power that a little piece of plastic can have over a kid and their parents, isn't it?

* * * * * * * * *

So pretty much EVERYTHING has been changing at our house over these last couple of months.
1. No more naps for Kirsten. Now she just has "quiet time" on the couch with a movie, even though it's not usually all that quiet.
2. Kirsten and Natalie are now sharing a room. Yes, they keep each other awake for hours. Bedtime is almost always a battle, and it's kind of awful. I miss their own rooms!
3. The clumsy binky fairy came, dropped those binkies and broke them, and now the older two girls are binky-free!
4. Natalie has learned how to do something that Kirsten never did. . . climb out of the crib. Right before she turned 2, she started getting out. And oh, the irony. . . Kirsten is the one who taught her how to do it. Thanks a lot, Kirsten. Natalie's naps have been pretty much non-existent now that she can just climb out of her crib and play in the bedroom.

See what I mean. . . BIG changes.

Here's something that's (regretfully) staying the same:
Their favorite pasttime when we stay at home. . . Getting into things, making messes, scattering things around the house, and getting into trouble. It's maddening and frustrating and. . . doesn't this picture kind of speak for itself? People wonder how I can take three little kids out to so many places every day, and this is my answer.
(Yes, Kirsten made this mess by herself while I was feeding the baby. She climbed from the dresser to the top bunk and threw a ton of stuff down, for the fun of it).
I feel like I'm constantly cleaning. And every time I turn around after I've just cleaned something, there's another area or room to clean. And the cycle just goes on. Tell me, more experienced moms of older children, does it EVER end???

Motherhood is crazy and frustrating and wonderful and terrible and amazing and boring and exhilarating and incredible. . . all at the same time!!! How is such a thing possible? In the end I try to remind myself that I am privileged to be making these sweet little faces smile and laugh every day, and blessed to be able to spend so much time with them.

So is that clumsy binky fairy going to be visiting YOUR house sometime in the future? :)


  1. Sorry Ashley, the cleaning NEVER ends! My older kids are just into more creative messes. Josiah (5) has been getting things out of the recycling and taping them together into contraptions and art projects. He got tape for his birthday because he kept using up ours...he snips up the paper into a thousand pieces for who knows what reason, but it looks cool! I am wishing constantly the house was cleaner, but I simply CANNOT keep up with it. Yeah maybe a maid but... Anyway, happy mommy-ing it is all worth it. <3

  2. We have been binky free now for about 2 weeks. It wasn't too hard on us. Cold turkey worked for us, but if it hadn't I was going to cut the binky. It is frustrating to be in the car and not be able to just pop in the binky to stop her screaming, and nap and bedtimes take a little longer, but she is still usually in bed by 8pm at the latest, so we are glad we did it now. I was actually thinking of waiting until the new baby, but I am glad we didn't.

  3. Natalie never took to a binky, and I'm so glad for it now (although at the time I would have gladly duct taped it to her mouth if I knew if would work!). We'll see what this one does. I've been told the snipping off a little at a time thing before, and I think it's a great idea. I'm glad that you found what works for you.

    As for the house thing - I only have one, and she's a tornado in and of herself. I'll go to pick something up and she'll chase around behind me yelling, "my _________" and then want it back only to throw it on the floor. With two, I might just give up on ever having a clean and organized house (although looking at my house lately it seems I already have!). With three - yikes! :)

  4. Yep, the binky fairy came to our house...she took the binkies and left a beautiful tinkerbell costume that my daughter wore everywhere every day for about 2 months :) It became quite embarrassing at times...but we at least we got rid of the binky! I am stopping by from the Monday Morning Blog Hop! I am your newest follower and cannot wait to read more. I hope you will stop by my blog and follow me back :)

  5. I loved reading this because my three year old was and is still kind of obsessed. He doesn't use them to go to bed or anything, but sometimes when he is not happy he will steal one of Ian's. Its funny

  6. Yay for solving the binky problem!! My little one takes a paci, and I'm hoping when the time comes that the weaning from it will be easy. I HOPE!!

  7. we've been dealing with the combo of crib climbing/toddler bed/sudden night sleep problems. i changed the crib, and after two weeks he is a fabulous sleeper again! no problems going down! he doesn't nap much either. on random days he'll ask for naps, but usually only at my mom's house, not in his own bed. some days he falls asleep on his own on the couch. our only bargaining chip through it all has been his binky. he could fit right in with your girls....super addicted! i'm not super worried about it at the moment, but i think i will pick that as my next battle. it IS just so useful so many times! i feel your pain. we're definitely planning on cutting them soon.

  8. Great story! You are so creative! I was just thinking about how much time I spend cleaning and cleaning up after and how I hardly have time to do anything else unless I just ignore it for a while. Very good description of motherhood you have there - it is certainly a roller-coaster.

  9. Your babies are adorable. I swear cleaning and laundry is never ending here with 3 kids.

    Newest follower and hope you can follow back!!

  10. Your story about the binky fairy made me laugh! Karsen still has his pacifier and we're trying to figure out how we're going to get him to stop wanting it. He keeps chewing on them that I've had to throw so many of them away because I'm afraid he's going to chew the tip off himself and swallow it one night!
    Right now he's only allowed to have it in his bed for naptime and bedtime. We'll see how that goes.
    The hard part is that he gets confused when we give the baby his pacifier and Karsen always wants it.
    At least Karsen has his blankie, which is his other comfort thing.

    And as for the cleaning thing...the picture of the mess that Kirsten made looks like our playroom! We try to pick up all the toys when Karsen is sleeping, but as soon as he is awake, it's a disaster again! It just never ends! I was just ignoring it for awhile until I just couldn't handle it anymore, but with the baby around and me carrying him and not always being able to look where I'm stepping, I'm terrified that I'm going to trip over one of the toys and fall with the baby in my arms! Eeeek!
    I'm afraid that my house won't ever be clean until the kids all move out of the house!

  11. Only Miss Marvel has been attached to a binky, and now that she's 14 months, I've been trying to figure out how to get rid of it. Cutting off the tip is a BRILLIANT idea!

    Love your blog and your insights and your authenticity and your you. :o)

  12. I really enjoyed this blog post! All kids are different and will get over things in various ways. I love your binky fairy. I had never heard of cutting the binky, that's a great idea. And kids ALWAYS make messes! lol. Such is life.

  13. Caden only takes a binky every now and then for a few seconds before chewing on it, throwing it on the floor, and wanting to nurse again. Weaning this guy isn't going to be fun! As for the cleaning up, honestly, the hubby makes more of a mess than the baby! haha

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  15. I've never had my kids become super attached to a binky, mostly they just chew on them as they get older. There was one car trip when Alana was a month old where I used a binky and I'm thinking I'll do the same next week when I have another car trip for Clara. I think it is mixed as you say. It is SO nice to keep them happy and quiet, but of course if the come to love it you have the terrible withdrawal!

  16. I like the bubble pictures! LOL if I was there I would have helped Kirsten throw toys all over her ex-bedroom....but then I would have also helped her clean them up. Toys on a bunk bed and a curious mind are no match for each other! :)

  17. Fun reading the strings. My son was so attached to his pacifier that it started to become a real problem. We could not go anywhere without making sure that we had a pacifier in hand. My friend absolutely raved about the bye bye binky method so we decided to give it a try (she found it at ). All I can say is WOW, worked beautifully for my son with no tantrums, not even one! Super easy and four days later he had no interest in his binky. We really were amazed… highly recommended… Amber

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