Okay. It’s not REALLY a secret. But it should be….because admitting this will surely and most deservedly make me the object of great scorn and derision.

Here goes…

Sometimes, Ali still gets a pacifier to sleep.

Yes, yes, I know I tried to take it away. But…

Here’s the deal: she’s three and a half years old, and still takes a 3+ hour nap. Which I desperately need her to continue doing, seeing as how I work two jobs and write three blogs almost solely during said naptime.

And, you see, although she goes to sleep without the paci, she wakes up halfway through her nap every day, at which point I give her the esteemed and most coveted oral device, and she goes instantaneously back to sleep, thereby doubling the nap (and therefore work) portion assigned to me for that day.

Okay, and she also gets her paci if she ever wakes up before 7am, because, again, she’ll go right back to sleep.

And one more confession: if she is to ever have a nap in the car, she gets the paci from the onset of said nap, because despite the unidealistic nap situation, she will close her eyes immediately for the lovely and much anticipated treat of getting a paci.


…and she will even pretend to nap for up to an hour after waking up, so as to be allowed to savor the moments of Stolen Paci Bliss.

She absolutely must still get a Ring of Mordor power trip or get high or something off that thing.

So obviously, I keep the thing around because it benefits me quite a bit.

But my guilt is overwhelming. She should have let that thing go two and a half years ago. I am sure I’m on some Top Ten Paci Offending Parents list somewhere.

I know that I’ve really got to address this issue at some point – I’m not looking forward to explaining to her husband that he needs to just stick her paci in her mouth if she wakes up crying on their honeymoon.

Maybe when she’s a tween and wants to start shaving her legs to desperately fit in with the pre-adolescent crowd, I’ll make a deal with her…you can shave, but only if you give up the paci.

(At this point, she’d pick hairy legs and pits hands down. Good thing her Greek Gene of Super-Hair hasn’t caught up to her to that extent yet.)

Please, someone tell me that their kid had a paci at three too. Or, if that’s not the case, then by all means, share your deepest, darkest, Mommy secret, whatever it may be.

Feel free to alleviate my guilt of total Mommy Failureishness.

41 thoughts on “My Deepest, Darkest, Mommy Secret.

  1. I totally understand! My daughter had her pie-pie until she was three.

    I had this great plan to get her to give it up, and even enlisted my mom to call using a fake voice. My mom called (in her fake voice) as the pie-pie fairy asking for any pie-pies we could share with the new babies who needed them. So, we set Sissy's last pie-pie outside our front door in a jewelry box, and the pie-pie fairy came and took it. Of course the pie-pie fairy left lots of costume jewelry in the box as a thank you. No tears- no whining. I thought it worked beautifully.

    And now she sucks her thumb.

  2. I'm a complete failure in a different sense. I ADAMANTLY took Joe's away right after his first b'day. Now he is 7 and a half and sucks his thumb in the bad. I am the worst :(

  3. I really don't see what the big deal is. It's not like she's walking around in the grocery store with a paci hanging out of her mouth (like I've definitely seen on a 3+ year old before). I'm a big believer in "do what you gotta do". It's definitely not worth making yourself feel guilty.

    I'm sure we're going to walk down this same road with Tessa. She's completely paci addicted, unlike Eli who gave it up himself at 6 months. Take notes (I know you are :)) and share your wisdom with me later.

  4. I have nothing to say that will validate you other than that if that is what it takes…then that is what it takes.

    Both my boys were paci junkies, but they both gave them up with little complaint around 18 months.

    Sorry :(

  5. OOOOOooo!!! I've got one! I totally let the TV babysit my boys sometimes. There! Does that make you feel like mom of the year?

  6. Jack would never take a paci and won't suck his thumb so I guess I got off easy on those two. But…I still snuggle him to sleep every night. He's gonna have to marry a cuddler.

  7. You have to do what works! And I agree with Lindsay…its not like she is running the streets with it hanging out of her mouth.

    So…my deep, dark Mommy secret…
    I let my 3yr old crawl in bed with us in the mornings, and I let him watch cartoons. Because he will let me sleep for another hour or two, and be perfectly content. :)

  8. Okay, I really shouldn't admit this, but T had her paci at bedtime until she was 4.5. She went all day without it, but just would not go to sleep without it. She finally gave it up just after P was born. P had his until he was 3 and E gave his up on his own when he was about 18 months.

    It's a hard thing to take away…especially at naptime / bedtime. But if Ali doesn't have it during the day I wouldn't sweat it too much! I don't think she'll be going off to college with it!

  9. Honey, is that the worst you got? Just kidding. I know it seems like a big deal to you, but it really isn't. If she had to have it constantly I would be concerned, but all toddlers have their things. James still sleeps with his Soft Puppy everynight. I can guarantee you she won't be walking around at 16 with a paci in her mouth. You are a great mom and doing a great job!

  10. I don't think that it's that big of a deal. If it were interfering with her conversation skills then I would be concerned. She'll give it up sooner or later.

    It could be much worse. She could be one of the 5 year olds still being breastfed that I saw on Oprah once!

  11. My Mom was 10 times worse than you! I held onto the paci until I was almost 4 and it wasn't just at naptime. There are pictures of me playing with my friends with the paci in my mouth right before my 4th birthday. My Mom had no shame and we still laugh about it to this day! She thought I was horrible for taking J's away before his 2nd birthday. :)

  12. If she still has the paci in high school, no boys will be interested. Nothing wrong with that!

  13. My pediatrician said not to let my oldest son on the bus for kindergarten with it. We showed him – We homeschool. HAH! Oh. He did give it up by force when he was 4. Little brother was a year old and he was done with his, so when we cleaned it out, we just went around and tossed them all. At that point he had the reasoning skills/vocabulary, that it was his choice. He has beautiful teeth, a beautiful smile, and wonderful speech. :) And his friends don't remember. :) But – I do remember the guilt and shame imposed by the aunts and self righteous grocery shoppers. :)

  14. My pediatrician always said he'd never seen a kid walk high school graduation with one, so not to worry about it. My daughter could do so many tricks with her paci. I should have put her in the circus. I'll bet she excels at cherry stem tying in college. Oops, that might not be a good thing.

  15. My Ally is 2.5 with no signs of giving it up anytime soon, and I'm not in a big rush for her to give it up, because I know she will eventually. Right now she only gets it when she's tired or upset. Otherwise, she hands it over pretty willingly.

    Also, she sleeps with us.

    And I let her watch cartoons so that I can have a break.

    If there's a trophy for deep, dark, mommy secrets, you don't win. :)

  16. I still think you're a rock star mom because your kid memorizes states & presidents off the place mats. I'm still trying to catch up with that!

  17. Our youngest use to clench her teeth on to hers and when she was old enough to reason with, we told her it had to go (kept a spare in the high cabinet just in case) and she watched us throw them all in the garbage can. No complaints, she just had to do it in her own time.

    When she sees other kids don't have them she probably won't want hers either.

  18. Like everyone says, she won't go to college with it. No biggie!

    My secret? Uhm, we keep a crib mattress on the floor or our bedroom for whichever of the 3 girls gets up in the middle of the night. They have learned (except for little bitsy) to come in and lay down and just go back to sleep. I MUST sleep, and I figure they will quit when they are ready. Even the 9 yr old does it occasionally! And we won't even discuss the number of times I have put Emi to bed on "the pallet" (what we call it) because I just CAN.NOT.GO.UPSTAIRS.ANYMORE. So paci? Not a problem. :-)

  19. THAT is your deepest darkest? Well, if that's the case, I'm definitely not sharing mine. Just know you really have nothing to feel guilty about. :)

  20. I am sooo judging you! I'm just kidding. :) Unfortunately my story is going to make you want to keep the pacifier. It was hard to move Lola to just having it when she slept. She was a complete addict. But at 2 1/2 I decided to take it away completely. That was when she stopped napping all together and it takes her a little while to go to sleep at night now. We figured that one out though. She looks at a book by the light of her night light until she falls asleep. Usually not too long. But back in the pacie days….her eyes rolled back in her head as soon as she put it in her mouth. On a plus side she didn't start sucking her thumb. And in case Ali does stop napping (or as much) when you do decide to take it away…just have quiet time. That's what mine do instead of naps now. Quiet time is they stay in their room and play quietly by themselves. Occasionally they can watch a movie too. Oh and to make you feel better. Lola is three and not completely potty trained….at all. :)

  21. Arianna still has a "pah" as she has dubbed it and she is 3.5. She had TERRIBLE acid reflux/eating problems from 2-12 months so the paci was the crutch. she only gets it at nap and bed time now. I'm willing to do away with it, but she's got Daddy wrapped around his little fingers!

  22. i'm with previous poster…the tv is my electronic babysitter occasionally. that's how I get a shower. :)

    ok. Eden JUST gave up her Nuk. and now she takes a one hour nap (as opposed to a two hour nap) and wakes up around 6:45 a.m. It's a total killer. But our dentist gave us the ultimate parental guilt trip when he examined her teeth and told us that she's going to have to wear one of those teeth separator things that cranks with a "key" someday when she's about 12. awesome…. so, we decided to make the dentist the bad guy "The Dentist said, no more nuks!" and she eventually was cool with. we're still dealing with the lack of sleep in the a.m.!

  23. I'm with everyone else…no biggie, she only takes it at night/naptime, so no one would ever know if you didn't blog about it! :)

    What I wouldn't give if just ONE of my children would take a 3+ hour nap, do what ever you need to to keep that long nap!

  24. Somehow we got David to sleep through the night early on (and take great naps) without a paci. He never sucked his thumb either. I know that's kinda rare that he didn't want either. So I can't relate in that….HOWEVER, I would do almost anything for the 3 hour naps to continue. I love David's naps. He's 5 1/2 and still takes naps when we are home on the weekend and daily at school. Next year (kindergarten) will be much different, so I'm treasuring the naps while I can. :) I think the tween bartering may work for Ali! :)

  25. Aww, she does look awfully little and sweet with the paci! K would never take one and is a bad thumb sucker. We keep saying when she turns three no more thumb sucking. We'll see how that goes. :). Boo is starting to take the pacifier now but it makes me nervous to think about how hard it might be to take it away later!

  26. I swear those pacis are coated with some sort of baby-nip. How can their power be so great!? I don't understand!

    Be glad it's the paci. Schyler still sucks her thumb at night – you can't take that away (I mean you could, but I'm pretty sure that's frowned upon).

    And pacis now are much easier on teeth than thumbs. This habit could cost me tons in braces!

  27. WOW – I feel sooooo vindicated in my over-paci-use now!!

    And, since at least two of you said your kids quit napping after taking it away, I'm going to continue my abuse of the thing…at least for now. And I'm going to quit feeling guilty about it…at least for today.

  28. First of all – my son is almost 8 and only in the last year has he stopped sucking his thumb, which is essentially the "natural" equivalent of the paci (he wouldn't take one – loved his thumb early on) and my daughter is 5 and still sucks her thumb regularly at bedtime. I think the key is that you are giving it to her so that she sees it as a "treat" and she's not walking around with it 24/7 so as to impede her speech, etc. I babysat my niece and they took hers away around 20 months and now she sucks her thumb more than anyone else! So go for it! Oh, and we sleep in every Saturday morning thanks to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the Nintendo DS :-)

  29. I know a lot of three year olds that still have pacifiers. I admit I think it's a bit weird for said three year olds to wander around with them (or worse, to be given them when they are out of sorts or have fallen down and hurt themselves which I see all the time!) It's easy to be smug about that since Elizabeth doesn't use a pacifier at all. We tried. She used one for two weeks. And then stopped. Now she uses Mommy instead which I think will be a LOT harder to explain on her wedding day ;) But she's not three yet so I have time…

  30. i have recently become a fan of your blog. i quite like the witty banter and nonchalant way about putting it out there.

    i have to say it takes a bunch to admit the binkie thing, and i feel the same guilty shame that comes with admitting it. BUT i really think its fine. my son just turned three, and we are down to binkie at nap time only, unless you count the ones he hides lol.

    im not at all concerned with the having a binkie still thing, its the 3+ hour nap thing that gets me.

    first of all, HOW!? second… thats healthy???? i guess if you go to bed late and get up early, but that seems a bit stretching it to me isnt it? and she in turn will pretend to nap so as to get the binky still is clever on her part, but idk about that. i am ucky if i get a complete one hour nap out of my son. but he seems to have a lot of energy. id ont know, it just doesnt seem fair to have her sleep just so you can get the blog and other job things done. what about coloring quietly or a movie or play dough or sand or water play or dolls or cars, or something. i could not imagine. i dont mean to sound judgemental, but i hardly doubt that you had no idea some would have questions or thoughts on the matter. is she hyper the rest of the limited time she is awake? the doc says its ok to sleep that long? i partly ask because maybe my 1 hr nap isnt long enough??

    i dont think her paci, pinki,binky, pie pie (!??) will have any effect on the latter things in life, not the teeth or shaving, maybe a little speech thing but you never really know with those things. my FIL still complains about our binky use. like he is the aficionado. but then again our car/house/etc is never clean enough either. .. ok im ranting a bit. sorry i do like the blog tho. granny butt thing cinched the deal

  31. A friend of mine – the other Rachel =) – has kids who are naturally able to sleep a lot. Mine sleep WAY less than I wish they would, and no amount of Mommy-firmness has changed that. My other Rachel, on the other hand, has the opposite: no amount of Mommy-firmness keeps her kids awake longer than their bodies want.

    I agree with most everyone – the paci? at naptime or bedtime only? I don't think it's a big deal.

    The long nap? Amen. Dont' give it up until you absolutely have to. Having some moments for you to rest and relax during the day make for a much happier mom and a much happier child.

    My only advice – is this unsolicited since you brought up the topic? – is that once you decide to do away with it, stick with it. Ahhh, the joys of motherhood… =)

  32. Faye – Thanks for reading! I'm glad you're enjoying.

    As far as the sleeping thing goes, I've never really thought about it not being healthy at all because I've always gone by my Mom's philosophy that some people need more sleep than others. My Mom needs 5 hours a night, my Dad needs 9. I need 9 hours a night, my husband needs 6. I have lots of friends whose children quit napping all together at this age, and lots who still nap for three+ hours.

    I certainly don't force Ali to go back to sleep – she's usually not even awake when she cries – and if she is, she goes immediately back to sleep. If, for some reason, she does get up after an hour or so, she is unbelievably grumpy and sleepy – an obvious sign of not enough sleep.

    With anything, I think it's a matter of knowing your own kid, and knowing what they need. And I know that she just needs more sleep, and if she doesn't get it, it's obvious. So with your son, I'm sure he's fine with one hour – that's probably how much sleep his body needs.

    Anyway, that's my philosophy on nap length, for what it's worth! :)

    Thanks again for reading, and nice to meet you!

  33. rachel – TOOOO true about sticking with it. I was pretty down on myself for not being able to stick with it the first time. (sigh) I've always been a stickler for that, but alas… :)

  34. I just wanted to come to your defense a little here on the sleep thing. I also have just recently stumbled upon your blog and I think we are "kindred spirits"…anyway, I just wanted to point out to Faye that kids are soooo different and for some kids 3 hrs is perfectly normal. My son took 3-4 hour naps until he was 4 1/2 (when he quit cold turkey) but my daughter never took a nap longer than 1 1/2 hrs in her life (with few exceptions for being up late or being sick) and gave them up altogether at 2 1/2. My son would sleep until 4 in the afternoon and not resist bedtime at 8pm ever. Some kids are just like that…there is a wide range of the acceptable amount of sleep for young kids and some of us are blessed with good sleepers and some just aren't – I got both :-P

    Rachel – enjoy it while it lasts!

  35. deep dark secret: Shocker. I'm 26 years old, and there are times when I find myself sucking my thumb. It's usually when I'm so in tune with a movie or whatever I'm watching that I don't even realize I'm doing it until I take my thumb out of my mouth. Only happens every 6 months or so, but I enjoy it when it happens. :) :) Hopefully Ali won't pick up that bad habbit.

  36. Don't worry about the paci! One day she will just stop using it altogether.
    Also, children need sleep!!! My almost 3 year old still naps for at least two sometimes FOUR(gasp!)hours every day. On days that he misses this glorious nap time he will fall asleep around 6 and sleep till morning. I can tell such a difference on these sad days when he misses his naptime, whiny and overall just not the same happy boy!
    All kids are different, Sarah(11 months) only sleeps for an hour. But that's all she needs!
    As far as my deepest darkest mommy secret… it would have to be the morning babysitter, cartoons. Daniel wakes up at 5 am everyday, and he watches cartoons while he eats his breakfast and mommy gets at least an hour or two of much needed sleep. And the sitter returns around 4pm to watch him while I start getting supper ready. He also has not one but two blankies that are a requirement for bedtime. I'm just glad he doesn't drag them everywhere.
    So, I am a big fan of the you gotta do what you gotta do! I don't remember seeing anyone walking to class with a paci or blankie with them. Everybody needs some comfort measure to get them throught those toddler years!!!

  37. I've been so behind on reading your blog…I'm just now getting around to this post. Yeah, my son still had his paci at 3 (he just turned 4 in March). I forget now how we finally got rid of it. He didn't get a big boy bed until after 3. He also wasn't fully potty-trained until after 3 and a half. I'm totally jealous of the 3-hr nap! We gave up naps long ago. Although on occasion, if I lie down with him, he will sleep. And sometimes in the car. But on those nights, he's usually up til midnight, because his body is so rested and he just can't go to sleep. I totally agree about different kids needing different amounts of sleep. Oh, and I sometimes use cartoons/videos to babysit while I sleep in! So there, judge me! ;-)

  38. (just found your blog through Facebook–a link to the mom jeans post) Anyway, my brother & sis-in-law have let my niece (3yrs) have her way with the paci at naptimes and bedtime, because they don't want her sucking her thumb. They figure that they can always take away the pacifier, but not the thumb. They are basing this theory on the fact that I sucked my thumb until I was 11. hmmmmm.

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