Another tether severed. Goodbye Paci.


pink pacifierYes. My two-and-a-half year old still used a pacifier. Or, as we call it, paci.

Since the tender age of 3 months or so, she has only used it to sleep. She has never crawled, toddled, or walked with it hanging from her mouth.

That fact makes me proud.

It has also made me less interested in taking it away from her.

Like diapers, the pacifier is one of those final tethers to babyhood. It symbolizes a baby in the house.

Cutting that tether symbolizes a little girl who is growing up. Who no longer depends wholly on external people (or things) for soothing but who can soothe herself. A little girl who is just that. A little girl. Not a baby anymore.

A little girl on the path to being her own person.

When I go to check on her at night, I see legs growing long and lanky, replacing tiny, baby fat covered limbs. I see arms, that were once swaddled tightly at her sides, flung above her head or tucked around a lovey. I see a face, growing less baby-like and more big kid every day.

But when I see the pacifier, I can hold onto Baby for just a bit longer.

This week, however, it was time. We suggested to her that in a few days we should give her pacis away to her best friend’s new baby sister. Unsurprisingly, she was adamantly against it. So we said we’d let her think it over and talk about it later.

It’s amazing the way a toddler mind ponders things during the moments in between. Because by yesterday she had made her decision. She announced that it was time. She insisted that we walk right down the street and give her pacis to the new baby. She happily piled all of them into a bag, ceremoniously kissed the bag goodbye, and off we went.

On the way home, she announced, with all the pride in the world, that tonight, she would sleep without her paci.

And she did just that.

My Baby is not a baby anymore. She is capable of thinking things over and coming to a conclusion. Making a decision and following through. And she is capable of sleeping without her paci.

It’s in these moments that I get glimpses into her future. She won’t jump quickly into things. She won’t be easily convinced. She’ll take things in and give herself time to think. She’ll be thoughtful about her decisions and move when she is ready.

And I’ll be the mother that encourages her to take that time. With pride in my heart and tears in my eyes.


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  1. I can relate! My 2 1/2 year old is potty trained- so I feel your no more baby pain! That was the last of his babyness.

    • It’s so sad, isn’t it!?! I’m happy for her independence and relieved to be rid of diapers and pacifiers… but oh how I miss the baby.

  2. I love that she kissed the bag goodbye. That’s a great detail!

    Kids really are amazing.

  3. What a lucky glimpse into her character! It’s good to have a girl who takes the time to make up her own mind. Society is hellbent on trying to make up our minds for us much of the time.

  4. Yay for the success of Operation Paci!!

  5. This is such a beautiful post, Tricia. We ought to celebrate every step with the kids, they grow up in a blink of an eye! πŸ™‚

  6. oh man i’m welling up. i’m in a similar place right now with my girl (actually told her it’s time to give hers up for a baby to have, too- but we don’t know any babies so i’m not sure how to proceed!)- and while i’ll be so proud of her, it stings a little too. she’s my one and only. she’ll always be my baby but it’s just going SO fast.

    • I just cannot believe how fast it goes! Good luck with your little one and her paci and hope you find a baby to gift them to.

  7. That is a hard adjustment for moms and dads, the kids just blink and move on in the quest to grow up.

    Congrats for handling it so well.


  8. aww….brings back memories of my oldest and his paci addiction.

  9. What a sweet tale of a sweet rite of passage. One day in the future you will look back and realize she was always her own person, all along. It is a fun, yet bittersweet, thing to watch them grow. Ellen

  10. What a sweet reminder to appreciate every milestone in our children’s lives πŸ™‚

  11. I so get this. My little boy just finished potty training, and it was so hard for me to grip the fact that this meant he was no longer a baby. All the baby things are gone and he is officially a little boy. I love your final line, “With pride in my heart and tears in my eyes.”

  12. Wow, that was surprisingly easy for you! She must be very mature for her age…

  13. Oh it is so bittersweet when they start to grow up, isn’t it? My last baby is 19 months old now. She’s already given up the pacifier and the bottle. This week she went tinkle on the potty for the first time. It makes a mama’s heart ache even though I’m so proud of her. Great post!

  14. I have a friend who got rid of her pacifier by planting it in the ground to grow a “pacifier tree.” Her parents then secretly planted a tree in that spot. She believed this was true about as long as she believed in santa. I’m only kind of glad my first never took a pacifier since I never had to get rid of it. My second (only 7 weeks old) is loving it and it’s giving me much needed breaks! I’m keeping all of these stories in mind for when he has to give it up. Great post!

  15. Watching them become kids and not babies is really something, isn’t it? Good for her for giving up the paci and making a decision on her own. That’s fantastic! And good for you, Mama, for letting her make it her own decision.

  16. It goes by incredibly fast. Before you know it she’ll be waling down to that neighbors house to babysit for them.

  17. Yay for you guys! That could have been bad.

  18. Yeah, I feel you. Mine are 11 and 12. You blink, and it’s gone. At least you recognize it, and it makes you appreciate what you have even more.

  19. oy, i am resisting cutting my baby’s hair – and he’s seventeen months old. it’s that same idea. will he still be my baby when those curls are gone? so happy for you that your baby is growing up to be such a sweet, sharing little girl!

  20. This is beautiful! I honestly don’t remember how old my youngest was or how he gave it up … somewhere between 2 and 3. I just figured that as long as he didn’t want to carry it to Kindergarten we were okay! πŸ™‚ I’m pretty laid back most of the time.

  21. Sounds like a very mature kid you’ve got there. And you had a great way of looking at this change and told it in a very sweet voice. Bravo!

  22. When my youngest son gave up sucking his thumb my heart broke just a little. When people say ‘they grow up so fast’ it’s this kind of thing – the giving up of thumbs and pacis that make that statement so true.
    Beautiful post.

  23. How great that she just decided and then did it! What a strong sense of self-determination. Great story!

  24. I love that you gave her the power to decide it was time to give it up rather than struggling with her to give it up! I have an almost two year old who uses her “Bussy” (that’s what we’ve named the pacifier) only at bedtime…She does try to sneak it into the waking world on occasion but not often and she knows when she’s caught and spits it out! πŸ™‚ Wonder when we will have the conversation about giving it up?…

  25. She is like you… πŸ™‚

  26. We tried, unsuccessfully to rid the paci from our 2 year old a few weeks ago. I had blogged about our success
    I did not chose to update the post two days later when after two and half hours of crying during nap time, kicking and screaming, and myself with a migraine, I caved and gave the paci back!
    I’m hoping the next time she & the paci break up, it’s as clean cut as your daughter!

  27. I thought we would have to yank the paci from my Little Dude’s mouth to get rid of it, but one day, around 15 or 16 months old, he just lost interest and didn’t want it anymore. And that was that. Thankfully. I do love watching how his mind processes complex thoughts now. Sounds like you’ve got a toddler with a good head on her shoulders.

  28. Seems a million years ago that I had these concerns – but no matter how you fight it, they do grow up and there are many little milestones that indicate that’s happening. Good luck with it

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