Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Suck It

Nuks, that is. Pacifiers, binkies, whatever. These cute little plastic plugs seem to inspire some hostile attitudes in some people.

Daycare frowns upon nuks. I can sort of understand that policy, because toddlers don't seem to understand how germs are spread and that it's socially unacceptable to take something out of someone's mouth and put it in your own.

Family members make a sour face and yank it out of the kid's mouth, invariably saying, "You don't need that."

Strangers make passive-aggressive comments.

Me (at a store): "Norah, can you say thank you?"

Norah: "Tank you."

Clerk: "Aww.. I heard her. ...Through her plug."

So why am I the only person who isn't disgusted by my two-year-old using a pacifier occasionally? Am I just a pathetic enabler?

For what it's worth, I've read plenty about the subject. I've read plenty about every subject involving babies and toddlers. Mostly because I freely admit that I'm an idiot and need a special amount of studying to just keep me from being harmful. I know that the American Association of Pediatrics recommends that you ditch the nuk at two. Nuk usage at two may mess us baby teeth. And nuk usage at three and above may mess up permanent teeth. I am concerned with this.

I also know the theoretical arguments, such as nuks impede speech development. Norah is a crazy talker, though, and I'm not very concerned about that.

So, what are the benefits of a nuk?


Um, okay. It's soothing. That's all I've got. Sucking is the first soothing strategy a human learns. Before nuks were invented, babies sucked their fingers and hands, and of course their food source. Sucking is a calming force. That's why nuks were invented.

I guess I'm a little hesitant to take it away because of this. Her soothing mechanism. When she's upset, she wants nuk. When she's sleepy, nuk. And I give it to her. I want to make her happy. I don't want to be the cause of her angst. I don't want to force her to face her nuk addiction. Maybe it's because I smoked for so many years, and I know what it's like to quit. I don't know.

Anyway, we're establishing a new rule: Nuks Are For Nigh-Nighs. Of course, if she's completely freaking out about something, like we only let her brush her teeth for 20 minutes, and she screaming and begging for the nuk, we'll probably give it to her. I don't want to be a total hardass about this. But for the majority of the time, Nuks Are For Nigh-Nighs.

But if you see a toddler with a nuk when you're out grocery shopping or whatever, and you feel the urge to spout off some judgmental bullshit, try to restrain yourself. Think about what the toddler is doing to the nuk. That's right. Suck it.


  1. I totally agree. I love this post! My son is 2 years old and still uses pacifier when he feels sleepy. This piece of plastic is their happiness so why not give it to them?
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  2. Thank you! It's nice to know we're not alone.