I've had this realization on a daily basis in the last two and a half years, and a perfect example of that is with the pacifier. Anna took one for a few weeks when she was a newborn, but once she figured out how to take out the paci on her own, she really had no interest in it.
Anna, right about the time she dumped the paci. I die.
I was totally relieved that Anna wasn't into the paci. In fact, she was never a 'lovie' kid. It was like she'd given me a gift in that department. So when Aaron came along, I was hoping for the same-- take the paci for a couple months, then dump it on his own.
Not so much.
As with many things for a woman in her thirties, the paci with Aaron has been all about negotiation. You can have it until you're one. Okay, you can have it at home only, until you're one and a half. You can have it until you're two, but only for sleep. You can have it until you're two and a half, but only...
When Aaron turned two, I made myself a promise at Target: I was DONE buying pacifiers. Once that package was gone, it was time to give up the paci. Firm. Done.
Full disclosure: It was an economy pack.
I figured I'd struck a good deal. I had an end date in sight, but that big giant stack of pacis seemed like it would last forever.
Then I looked at my stash two weeks ago and realized I was down to one. ONE.
My face, pretty much.
I negotiated internally some more. People have very strong opinions about pacifiers, from 'Who cares! Don't worry about it!' to 'HOW could you let him still have that thing past 15 months?' I made myself a promise awhile back to stop letting other parents tell me how to parent, so I shook all those opinions off (Thanks, Taylor!) and went back to my staunch woman-in-her-thirties stubbornness and said it was time. No more paci.
It was hard, people. Sleep, as I've mentioned thirty million times, is a struggle here. I was dreading adding to that struggle. But all signs pointed to this being the right thing to do, so it was off to Target Buddy and I went. Only this time, it was to buy his 'Big Boy Toy' to take the place of his paci (or Bubba, as it's known here...)
He picked a sword from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Then we made a big show about throwing away the Bubba. Because...
'Bubbas are for babies. And you are a big boy.' (I have repeated this phrase uncountable times in the last two weeks..)
It was hard. I'm not going to lie. It's still hard. One look at my eyes will tell you that. However, we did it. And when a woman in her thirties says it's time to give up the Bubba... no matter what that proverbial Bubba might be... IT IS TIME TO GIVE UP THE BUBBA.
And she celebrates her success with a glass of wine, two or seven cups of coffee in the morning, and a pat on the back for a job (finally) well done.