Fist Bump to the Nukie Fairy

Oh hey, Julia of one (very easy) child? Guess what! Your second kid is going to be a different person, and therefore you are going to be a different mom to her. And you know how you got rid of Truman's pacifier at fifteen months and felt sort of bad that you didn't ditch it at one year like 'they' say you should? Well, Cecelia will need a pacifier for three entire years, so yeah. Go ahead and turn an eyebrow up at your present day self, but dude: every kid is so different!

Someday I will actually learn that concept.

(Thanks for helping me learn, Cecelia!)
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I honestly don't feel too guilty for letting the pacifier stick around this long, because Cecelia needed her self-soothing technique until now. For the past six months or so, we've talked about how the 'Nukie Fairy' was going to come once CC turned three. One night she tried to inform me that, 'maybe she will come when I turn four,' but SORRY, sister. Now is the time. We even had a false start one night a few months ago when Cecelia thought she wanted the fairy to come, but then changed her mind at the end of the bedtime routine when her two remaining pacifiers were sitting in a bowl outside of her bedroom door. She wasn't ready then, but last week she was.

CC has kept her white nukie and her random red 'lips' nukie in a blue bowl, on top of her bed's bookshelf for about a year now. Pacifiers have only been allowed when sleeping (naps and night) OR if she needed a rest (aka recharging and resetting her attitude during a particularly emotional meltdown or twelve each day). Nate and I both knew that removing the pacifier would mean that CC has to deal with her emotions head on and she can't use it to help her fall to sleep, which honestly scared us a little. She was my fantastic nurser who went strong until I weaned her at sixteen months. Sister has always loved her pacifier and must have a very strong suck-to-soothe connection. Or something.

RIP, White Nukie. You were seriously so disgustingly-worn out but I know she loved you.
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RIP, Red Lips Nukie. Picture from April 2014 and sweet baby CC still has baby fat cheeks!! Pacifier is still a joke, not sure why it persisted as one of the two that were not lost over the years.

We just kept telling her that she is a big girl, and babies need pacifiers, so the Nukie Fairy would come and take them to the babies that need them. I'm not really sure how this concept of a magical fairy became our ticket out of pacifier days, but I'm certain that Cecelia is the one who added the notion of candy being given in exchange for her personal sacrifice. Yes, always with the candy bribes over here. No shame in this game, either.

Friday night (6/19/15 for my psychotic self who needs to remember these things), I simply said to CC at dinner: "Hey! Maybe the Nukie Fairy should come tonight!!! I think you are totally ready to be a big girl and let the babies have your nuks, don't you?" And the fates smiled down upon us when Cecelia excitedly said, 'Yeah!!! And the Nukie Fairy brings me candy!!!!!' Yes, child, she does. Now let's do the dang thing already.

Seriously, so pretty and so stinking BIG. This pictures is 100% Cecelia, in all of her glory.

So that night we kept talking it up and acted all excited, and I told CC as we got ready for bed that I would call the Nukie Fairy as soon as Cecelia was asleep. And she put her two (well-loved, really ridiculous) pacifiers in her blue bowl and set them outside of her door. She climbed into her bed and held her froggy lovey a little tighter, but was super brave and I was nutso-proud of my big girl already. We reviewed the fact that *if* the Nukie Fairy did bring candy, it would not be allowed until her clock turned yellow....because I could totally see CC waking up at 3 am and checking the bowl, chowing on some Smarties in celebration while we all slept.

That night she fell asleep without a peep. When I went to bed I took the two pacifiers, put them in our buffet (so glad CC cannot read right now!!!), and placed a few random Skittles, one sucker, and one Smartie in the bowl. I also wrote a little note to CC from the NF (Nukie Fairy, so much easier to abbreviate, bear with me) just to make things more official. Nate didn't think I should put the bowl back on the floor outside of Cecelia's room, because Henry would totally rain on the NF's parade as he loves to be the candy thief around here. So I had Nate put the bowl next to CC's clock instead.

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The next morning, I heard CC get up and go to the bathroom around 6:15 and I perked up to hear what she would say. I heard her say, 'she didn't bring me anything' and I jumped up because my heart kind of broke thinking about Cecelia feeling so let down. I told her that the Fairy DID come, but she wanted to put the bowl out of Henry's way, and I showed sister where to look.

As soon as she saw the bowl, her eyes literally started to sparkle. I said, 'Oh my goodness, she even left you a note, CC!' and I read it to her and Truman, since he was also awake and excited about this visit from the magical character land. I gave CC a big hug and said I was so proud of her...and then encouraged her to go back to bed until 6:55 am when her clock turned yellow. Ha, I am not THAT easily swayed from our rigid morning and bedtime routines, lady!

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Once we all went downstairs, we all really played up the occasion for Cecelia. I had to take pictures so I could show GoGo that the NF visited, we talked about how great it was for little babies to have CC's pacifiers, and sister got to partake in some very early morning candy. Her first nap was fair, just a little whimper here and there when I was tucking her in for her snooze---but I reminded her that she is a big girl and doesn't need the nuks anymore. Lots of encouragement and positive talk, and yes--more bribes for the first two times or so;) Promises of getting one Smartie upon waking from a 'big girl sleep' really seemed to help transition things along the nuk-free path.

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We've had a few bedtimes full of minor tears and whining, asking for the Nuks, and general discontent. Any and all tantrums (we prefer 'emotional moments' as a descriptor, really) have to be managed without comfort sucking. IT SORT OF SUCKS, yes, pun intended but also it's really great to know that CC can deal with emotions and sleeping without the nuk. She's proud of herself and we are, too. Now we just have to continue working on coping mechanisms for crazy intense emotions. But the sleeping part hasn't really changed since she's still going to bed around 7:30-8 and waking around 6 (but stays in bed until that beloved clock is yellow at 6:55). She's still napping 2-3 hours easily. I sort of can't believe the bottom didn't drop out with sleep sans nuk, but hey---what do you know? Sometimes my kids surprise me.

Mostly I feel this big milestone of ditching the pacifier was much much worse in anticipation than reality. I'm sure it helped that we waited until Cecelia really did seem ready and mostly alright with the idea. She was skeptical but very motivated by the candy and also motivated by the concept of babies NEEDING her nuks. She originally wanted to give Porter her white pacifier and a baby at daycare was going to get her red lip pacifier, but alas---Porter hasn't taking a pacifier since he was maybe four months old, and I'm sure that other baby at Lori's is over it now, too!

This isn't to say it was supremely easy and everything is perfect in Cecelia-ville, there is definitely still plenty of whining and stalling at bedtime, and requests for the nuks. But it just hasn't been as bad as I expected as the world did not stop turning without the pacifier and Cecelia didn't crumble into a million pieces without it.

Kind of strange to have zero children with pacifiers anymore. Wah, my babies are so big now!! This is a common theme in my head lately, fiercely holding onto Porter's babyhood while it lasts. Because Cecelia is practically ready for college now that the pacifier is gone.

This doesn't really belong here except both little ones are entirely too adorable in this shot.

So that is the story about how we ditched Cecelia's pacifier. I know a few of you requested a post about this and I have no idea if our method would work for anyone else. And I'm sure the candy reward is probably not a great idea but it sure did help us. She hasn't even finished the entire bowl of candy yet, five days later, which is surprising but appreciated. And now she is officially Nukie-free!


  1. "we prefer 'emotional moments' as a descriptor, really" <-----I don't know why, but that made me lol. Oh, these emotional girls!

    Yay CeCe!! Good job, girlie.

  2. We took the pacifier from our son just shy of 3 and it was a total disaster. 3 years later sometimes I wish he still had it, ha! Our daycare told us 'oh by the way, when Trent goes to the 3 classroom next week, he can't have a pacifier'. So we thought it was perfect timing to get rid of it, but it was awful! My sister let her oldest decide when he gave it up, and he was 5 but by then was using it maybe 10 minutes a day. Yes, he had a pacifier for forever, but she had ZERO drama getting rid of it. Our daughter, Drew, never would take a paci but nursed until 2.5 so go figure, ha! So glad your transition went smoothly. And how awesome to be totally pacifier free!!!

  3. Dude. The candy reward was of course a good idea. What else would bring a kid as much joy? Man does she look proud in that morning picture!

    We all know who "they" is, don't we? ;) Which is why we ditched Henry's pacifier so early (15 months as well!) and it makes me sad to think about, since he probably still needed it! We let Ben have it longer, and while Ellie doesn't seem as addicted as her bros were, she can have it longer, too, if need be. They grow up fast enough!

    Good job, Cece!

  4. Woo hoo! Great job Cecelia and great job mama! I can't believe she is that grown up already. She is so absolutely gorgeous and spunky! She reminds me so much of Mac. I just love posts about this little firecracker. :)

  5. Great post! Our 3 year old still has his nuks and we tried to take them away once but it did not go well (emotional moments of the century that day). I think I want to try and go this route, though... see what happens.

  6. Julia, this gives me hope! My little guy is 3 1/2 and STILL has a pacifier. CC and my son do sound a lot alike when it comes to needing the paci to calm themselves down during their 'emotional moments'. It is such a soother for him and I do hate to take it away but he will be 4 in October and I think I might try your trick of talking about it for a couple months and see what happens. Thank you for this post.


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