Monday, April 11, 2011

The Devil Binky

The Mr. and I had successfully nurtured 3 children through infancy and toddler hood with an inconsequential amount of physical or psychological damage (for us and for them). While others bemoaned sleepless nights and fussy babies, we reveled in the blessedness of our easy-going infants. We might have wondered (to ourselves) at times what other parents were doing wrong. Oh, how lucky we were. And, then The Baby came along with her suitcase packed for a sojourn in the Hamlet of Colic, a long stint in the Village of No Sleep Unless My Mother Wraps Me Tightly to Her Chest 24/7, and many return trips to the Town of Teething. We have not had a night of uninterrupted sleep in approximately 435 days (this is not counting the last trimester of pregnancy).

There are days, weeks even, when we are fooled into believing that whatever specters or demons have haunted The Baby at night have run their course. During the lull, there are no abrupt siren screams to wake us from the first precious minutes of deep sleep. Not even a whimper. The next morning, we sigh relief and laugh about our old zombie days. And then, bam! The incubus is back again- to keep us all from peace. This time the devil is disguised as a seemingly innocuous binky (pacifier, nukie, soothie, baba, Tokoyo (as my best friend, Robyn, calls it), whatever.

As an infant, The Baby did not use Binky very often-save for car rides or bedtime. I nursed her and I was her pacifier. But, when she turned 8 months old, she began to refuse nursing sessions. And despite my most concerted efforts, she self-weaned completely by 9 months. It was around this time that 4 more teeth were breaking through her tender gums. She was having a difficult time with the pain- despite our tried and true remedies and conventional pain relievers. But, she found solace in a special teething pacifier which she slobbered over throughout the day like a little puppy with a chew toy. We did not anticipate a night time reliance on Binky to develop. And, it was not an issue until recently.
Binky used to sleep serenely with The Baby, content to live within the confines of the crib. But as of the past 3 weeks, The Devil Binky has made numerous attempts to flee, escaping only so far and the little space beneath a dresser 3 feet away from the crib.  Binky seems to have decided that The Baby is old enough to fare well on her own now. But, The Baby is disturbed by the abandonment. So much so that upon realizing-when rolling over in her sleep, searching with her little hand for her comfort cork- that Binky is not there, she lets loose a blood curdling scream that you cannot ignore. We must check on her, whatever the hour, to be certain she isn't sick or hurt in some way. But, it's always the same thing: Devil Binky has rolled out of the crib- often within eyesight- but so far out of reach. The Baby is completely fine once she is reunited with her cagey pal. But, at 2:00 AM, we are not as well-finding it difficult to regain the hold of deep and restful sleep.

There are contraptions and means for keeping Binky tethered a bit longer to her charge. My sister went so far as to sew the back of my nephew's pacifier into the tail end of a Beanie Baby to weigh it down and keep it from deserting. But The Baby is 14 months old, and I worry about perpetuating this dependency any further- that she'll end up a five year old girl with a plug in her pie hole. Also, she has a fabulous throwing arm- if she wants my to get my attention during nap time, she'll just toss that butt plugged Beanie Baby against the window. You cannot imagine how resonant a lone pacifier against a hard wood floor is. At night, when Binky falls, I hear the children on the third floor grumble in anticipation of what will follow. "Oh, no. Plug your ears. Wait for it. (wailing from the second floor). There it is."

While in the stupor of sleep deprivation, my desire grows to banish The Devil Binky from our home for good- willing to ride out the discomfort of the nights of withdrawal. But, then it dawns on me that the poor baby is cutting molars and this is why it has been so critical over the past few weeks to have her thing of comfort at the ready. As with so many issues that have arisen with our lovely, high needs baby (thank you Dr. Sears for that label), I cannot rest on my past experience. With this baby, I find that I am slower to work things out. The only thing I know for certain is that it usually does work out. She won't be on the pacifier forever. We won't need to enroll her in a 12 step program for pacifier addiction. And there are only so many teeth that she can teethe, right? So, for now I am going to "borrow" one of Princess Commando's stuffed animals, surgically implant Binky in the bum and saddle it down with a deep pressure, weighted vest-and hope that we will all enjoy a restful sleep soon.


  1. Oh the binky. I used to have the most fun playing "Where's Binky" with the kiddo.

    Best line of the post, because I too lived it: "...Binky is not there, she lets loose a blood curdling scream...2:00 am..."

    After several months and startled awakenings, I quit washing that sucker after it fell onto the carpet. That taught her! (side-eyes)

  2. Haha I loved the "high needs baby" term.

    In all honesty though, I think society's pressure on mom’s when it comes to weaning off baby habits, it’s a bit kooky sometimes. I’m sure every baby is different as well as their needs, plus I’m sure most mothers know when the right time is to intervene and say “ok that’s enough of that”.

    I love how you say it like it is, and kudos to you for being unapologetic for your choices! Mommy’s know what’s best for their babies because Mommy’s know their babies best!