Friday, September 3, 2010

Bop Be Gone.

Shortly before he turned 1, we had completely weaned Rohan of the daytime pacifier use (or Bop, in our house). It was fairly easy to do as he was never much of a day Bopper, except in the car when he was tired or hungry or just not in the mood to be harnessed at 5 points.

We went through this same two-part process with Luca, weaning during daytime well before we cut off her nighttime Bopping. It was tough, but after about three nights, she was pretty much over the Bop and able to get herself to sleep without it. We tried snipping the tip off, the theory being that the suction won't be as effective and soothing if you do that, and most kids give up the ghost on their own. That turned into cold turkey for Luca because she just threw it across the room in disgust.

Well, honoring the expectation that this will take Rohan about three days as well, we decided a long weekend was the perfect opportunity to wean him. The irony is that when he was a tiny baby, he didn't care either way about the Bop, but as he's gotten older he has become more and more attached. The Bop, his blankie, and then bed has been the routine for months and months now. So tonight I did a covert mini-snip of the tip of the Bop before giving it to him and carrying him up to bed. Less than 5 minutes later he was talking and saying 'Up', and since it was about 15 minutes before his 'normal' bedtime, I took him out and brought him back downstairs to play a bit and have some milk.

About 20 minutes later he was red-eyed and sleepy, so Darrick took him up to bed with the mangled Bop in mouth. I got Luca into her jammies and took her to her room, and by then I could hear him crying in his crib. I went in and saw him standing up, Bop on the floor. He was not impressed with how I'd altered it, but was still in a good mood. I decided to try to rock him to sleep, so I lifted him and began to sway side to side, singing his favorite bedtime song and wrapping him in blankie. It seemed like it might work at first, and he reached a hand around my neck and started to play with my hair like he's done to help himself fall asleep since he was a tiny baby. But then he was getting restless, turning his face one way and then the other and wanting to be cradled then held like a koala baby.

I'm not sure I can accurately express how tiring it is to rock Rohan. He's tall. He's heavy. But it's more than that. He's like a solid wall of baby, and after a few minutes of standing and swaying and singing my lower back starts to feel it and my arms throb and my fingers lose sensation from his heft cutting off their circulation. So I started to strongly consider lying in my bed with him cuddled up on me, and within minutes I'd decided this was the only answer.

If this had been a parenting pop quiz, I'd have failed.

When I first laid down, he snuggled up on me and felt like he was drifting off. And then, he switched positions. And then switched again. And again. And then finally he was kneeling and trying to climb over me to get off the bed, so I moved him gently so he was lying down again and tried to get him to calm down, which did nothing but incite a riot from him, complete with tears and whining "ALL DONE!" and trying to escape me frantically. He still had the Bop in his mouth at this point, but it was like a light went off in his mind and he realized the offended was it and not me, because he pulled it from his mouth and stared at it with disdain. He shoved it back in his mouth and bit down, hard, and then yanked it out again and threw it. This was followed with the kind of crying toddlers do when their feelings are really, really hurt, which hurt my feelings as well.

So I did the only thing I thought might help: I stood cradling him, shushing and rocking and kissing his little nose. And I watched while he tried his fingers in his mouth to see how that felt, and then pulled them out, and then tried them again. He rubbed his sleepy eyes and tried to look at me, but he was so exhausted he couldn't focus. Through it all I just kept rocking and shushing, rocking and shushing. Finally, with his middle and ring fingers in his mouth and his handover his chin, he closed his eyes and started to drift. I took him into his room and continued to rock him until I felt his body shift into sleep, his limbs dropping with gravity and his sad expression smoothing into peaceful sleep.

I worry I'll be up a few times tonight, and I know it will be hard to stick to my guns and not give him a regular Bop just to get him back to sleep. But so far I would call Night 1 not a total loss.


Rheslie said...

You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your stories, you are a great blog story teller.

Muffin Cake said...

Aw, thanks Leslie!! It's a mutual love. Your blog makes me laugh and smile!


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