We have a friend here who's daughter just gave up her pacifier at 4.5 years old.   She just made the decision on her own and gave them up.   Her mom told me that they tried to get her to give it up when she was around 2 and 1/2 but the pediatrician told them it was horrible to do that to their daughter who was going through some transition at the time.   Of course, I immediately thought back to Andie and her complete and utter dependence/addiction to the pacifier.

Andie used to twirl two pacifiers in her hand and keep one in her mouth.   She was dependent on them for sleeping and went to them anytime she felt needy.   I felt a lot of paci shame from other parents and my own insecurities, and felt like when she was about 2 and 1/2 that it was time to give them up.  I started by having her only use them in bed, then we cut the ends so she couldn't get that suction.  Nothing really worked.  So.....we used the Paci fairy trick.  Poor Andie.  She had no foresight into the future and the torment that would follow.  We simply presented the idea to her with such gusto, she couldn't say no.  "Do you want a new toy?  If you could have any toy in the world, what would you want?!  If you give up your pacis to the paci fairy she will bring you that exact toy!  How wonderful!"   Except, the joy of the new toy lasted 10 minutes while the pain and withdrawal of the paci lasted at least a year...maybe more.  I actually think she hasn't slept the same since we took away that paci.  She still struggles to fall asleep at night and it's been five years!  

Of course, I am not sitting here planning to give my eight year old a pacifier.  But, I look at her teeth, know that she will need braces regardless of giving that up, and wonder....why was I in such a rush?  Why didn't I let my sweet girl have her pacifier if it helped her ease the transition of a new sister, a new bed, and the life struggles of a two year old.   She eventually would have given it up.  Sometimes we are in such a rush to grow these kids up while other times we want them to be babies forever.  I need to watch myself that I let them develop naturally, pushing for independence when appropriate and still allowing them to be children at the same time.  

I have so much guilt over that damn paci.   I seriously think about it at least once a week.  I KNOW I need to let it go.  I know it's NOT a HUGE deal in the grand scheme of life.   I know I sound dramatic.  I just need to learn from the situation and move on.  Maybe me writing this is part of that process. I hope so.   

PS.   Zoë is also obsessed with sucking/soothing.  Instead of a pacifier, it's her thumb and a disgusting blankie carried everywhere we go.   She actually keeps it in her backpack at school and walks out of class just to get a "hit" every now and again.   I can't take away her thumb and I haven't really tried with the blankie.  Guess that's the benefits (or drawbacks depending on your viewpoint) of not being the first child.
Two at once!

Is that four pacifiers I see there?

And then this one with her blankie and thumb!