In my week 21 photo post, I mentioned that we have started to restrict Little O’s use of the dummy just to naps and bedtime and that I felt this deserved a whole post of its own. Yes, it was an interesting week.
On the Monday, Little O took out his dummy when getting into the stroller to go to preschool and did not ask for it back for the whole walk there. Our usual routine would be for me to take it from him when we arrive there and explain that he does not need it during the day at preschool, which often brings tears. However, that day there were no tears; he seemed to have forgotten his reliance on it.
So when I collected him that afternoon I purposely did not take it with me. After about fifteen minutes of him asking for it over and over again, I was beginning to wonder whether I had made a mistake. And when, ten minutes later, he had a public meltdown over refusing to hold my hand while we were walking home, I really began to regret my decision. At home, he had a further meltdown over dinner, and I think we all ended the day exhausted. And bedtime was not the end of it. Oh no, he spent the next hour throwing his dummy out of his cot and then crying for it. We took it in turns to go in and hand it back one time each. Then the next time, I went back in and handed it back but explained that if he threw it out, we believed that he did not need it. He seemed to understand and stuffed it into his mouth, lay down and was asleep within ten minutes. And this really was one of the main reasons why we felt now was as good a time as any: Little O might not really be speaking sentences but he can certainly understand what is being said to him. You can explain things to him now and he can understand, although whether he chooses to accept them is another matter…
I decided that I am a glutton for punishment though and so on Tuesday I took the dummy from him just before we set off for preschool, explaining to him that he is a big boy now and that he only needs the dummy for his daytime nap and at bedtime. There were some tears on our way in but, on the whole, it went okay. Husband collected him from preschool that afternoon and Little O was again asking, asking, asking for his “mam” – his name for a dummy. When they got home, he had another meltdown over not having it and there was some dramatic lying down on the floor and leg kicking (he’s just to progress to throwing himself down, so he carefully gets down on all fours and then lies down!). Of course, we knew that if we gave it to him he would be over the moon, but I suggested that we try a week without it and see where we were. Again, we had the same scenario at bedtime: dummy thrown out, tears, dummy handed back, dummy thrown out, us explaining that we would not retrieve it the next time, and then finally sleep.
Wednesday rolled around and Little O went off to preschool without a backward glance at his dummy. Success! However, preschool pick-up it was the same story of asking and begging and tears. Again, we had the long bedtime scenario but eventually, he settled down to sleep. I know it sounds cruel and like we are depriving him of the dummy, but I really felt that we had come this far and that this was a good point to cut back its use just to sleeping. I don’t think that he uses it so much for comfort as a habit.
On Thursday and Friday things were a bit better during the day, with Little O asking for the dummy far less but the same bedtime dummy throwing contests from Little O. Gradually though, day by day, we have seen improvements. So much so that the beginning of last week (i.e. only a week after we started) he only asked for it once this morning and then once this evening, ten minutes before bedtime. It really feels as if we’re making huge progress on the dummy front.
Now, we just need to solve the problem of him suddenly dropping his daytime nap…