(Disclaimer-- I stole this tactic from another mom.)
A few weeks ago, I found the one toy that could be Norah's weakness. The one toy that might outweigh the need for a nuk. It was walkie talkies.
I figured this out because Norah thought our baby monitor was sort of like walkie talkies. She'd go in her room and try to talk to me on the monitor. Or she'd have me stay in her room and pretend to be her, and she'd be me, and I'd pretend to wake her up through the monitor, and she'd come to her room and yell at me for waking her up. (I don't know where she gets this-- seriously. I am awesome at putting on a happy face in the morning.)
Anyway. I explained to her what walkie talkies were all about.
"Ooooooo," she replied, eyes widening.
So I'd plant little seeds every once in a while.
"Wouldn't it be cool to play with walkie talkies?"
"YES! Let's get some right now."
Then I started telling her about the agents that work for the Nuk Fairy as well as Toys R Us. I told her if you're ready to give up the nuk, you can trade it for walkie talkies at Toys R Us. She looked incredulous, to say the least. And she shook her head. She wasn't ready.
That was okay. I kept reminding her. Soon, she started to believe it.
She'd start telling me to get ready to go to the toy store. I'd remind her that it's forever. No bedtime nuk after you trade it in. Then she'd back down.
Was I sabotaging her? Or making sure she was truly prepared? Not sure. Maybe a little of both.
Then on Sunday, she said, "Let's go to the toy store!" She grabbed her nuk payment. The three of us were on our way.
She picked out black walkie talkies (of course), and we also got some foam swords and shields. Hell, I probably would have bought her anything she wanted. I was so scared. Nervous. Sad. Guilty. But she was happily dancing around the store, looking at giant crayon banks and clearance toys near the registers.
I went up to the cashier first. A dude in his twenties with a goatee.
"Hi. Can you do me a huge favor?"
He looked at me blankly.
"My daughter is trying to give up her nuk, and we made a deal with her."
"Do you know what the Nuk Fairy is?"
Blank stare. Ok. Time was a-ticking. Norah and Ryan were making there way to the register. No time for a back story.
"Here's how this is going to go down," I said. "My daughter is going to give you her nuk. You are going to give her the walkie talkies she wants to buy. Then she and I are going to play on that coin-operated horse, and my husband will give you actual money and you can give the nuk back. Is that ok?"
The transaction took place. She did it with a big smile. I didn't make a big deal out of it, although I wanted her to say goodbye or something. Look at it solemnly for a moment before releasing it to this stranger. Nope. Not Norah's way. She practically threw it at the dude. Okay.
Then we took her to McDonalds. I still felt guilty about making her ditch the nuk and was trying to buy back her love, even though she made no signs of being pissed in the first place.
We went home and played walkie talkie (which was a lot of "Hold it in the whole time you talk! Then let go!" She'll get it.) She laughed hysterically. She made us all go to different parts of the house. She tried to make Mongo meow in it. Her Smurf figures took turns. Then we played swords. Mongo exited pretty swiftly when the swords came out.
Then it was bedtime. Ryan settled her down, and I went to my room to read more Sookie Stackhouse, and I listened in. No trouble. One "I miss my nukkie." That was it. She went to bed.
The next day there was no utterance of the nuk.