I have noticed several differences between my two girls. Aside from the obvious fact that Penelope has issues that Charlotte did not, there are other, smaller differences between the two. For one, Penelope tends to wake up happy in the morning or after her nap- she is full of smiles and coos contentedly. Charlotte, on the other hand, is terrible at waking up. More often than not, she wakes up crying. If she’s not in actual tears, she is usually subdued and grumpy for awhile until she is fully awake. For another, Penelope, at almost fifteen months, has remained a cuddly little girl. Charlotte rapidly grew out of the cuddly baby stage and preferred playing on her mat or in her exersaucer to being held. And then there is another major difference between these two girls, involving a device that every parent is likely familiar with- the soother.
Binky. Dummy. Bo-bo. Pacifier. This little piece of infant paraphernalia has many different names. In our house, it was known as “soosie” or “soo-soo” and once Charlotte started taking one, it became one of the most important pieces of baby gear that needed to be on hand at all times. If we were leaving the house, I was more concerned with bringing an adequate number of soothers with us than I was with bringing diapers.
At first, it seemed like a great solution to calm her down when she was crying and to keep her happy. But it quickly lost its appeal and became a constant source of irritation. Charlotte was completely addicted to her soosie. She wanted one at all times. Even at meal times, she would pop her soosie into her mouth between bites. As she got older, she formed an emotional attachment to it. At bedtime, we had to put a pile of soothers into the crib with her, because they would fall out of her mouth when she fell asleep and then fall out of the crib. I can’t tell you how many times I fumbled around in the dark, in the middle of the night, searching for a soother to give to her. Oh, wait, yes, I can tell you- it was every night from the time she was two months old until the Tooth Fairy came and took the soother away when she was three (I don’t know why it was the Tooth Fairy who came to claim the soother- it seemed as reasonable explanation as I could provide. Give me a break, I hadn’t slept through the night in over three years). At that point, she was old enough to understand that she couldn’t have her soosie anymore, and she adjusted to a post-soother life very well.
This is one of the starkest differences between Charlotte and Penelope. I tried to get Penelope to take a soother, but she adamantly refused. Maybe it was because her brain could not coordinate the muscles in her mouth to suck on one, or maybe she just didn’t like it. Whatever the reason, she wouldn’t take one, and it was for the best, for many reasons. Certainly, there were moments in Penelope’s infancy when I wished she would take a soother- like when she needed bloodwork or vaccinations or when she was waking up every hour to nurse- but I have to admit, it’s a relief not to be constantly dealing with soother anxiety.
So if you are one of those frustrated parents whose baby won’t take a soother, take heart- you will be spared the nightmare that comes along with soother addiction. And if you are a parent in the throes of soother troubles, know that it won’t last forever. Charlotte was as addicted as it gets to her soosie, and she is now a well-adjusted, happy girl in a soother-free home.