There comes a time in a child’s life when Mommy and Daddy have to become the bad guys and take away their most precious “babyhood” item: the soother. Well, it might not happen to everyone, but for those of us that need to be the bad guy it is comforting to think we aren’t the only one and everyone else had to do it too.
I personally do not think there is a particular timeline or a specific age when this has to happen. Each child is an individual and will be ready at different times for this major change. For us, we tried a few different times but could tell our son was not quite ready. We accepted this quite easily when he was younger as he had yet to attach himself to any stuffed toy or blankie, but seemed to favour his soothie and bink link holder.
We often got looks from strangers while out, and some even made comments telling me he was too old to be having a soother. At the time of these comments he wasn’t even two years old but because he was so tall everyone assumed he must be older and wondered why I would let him use something for babies. In my eyes he still was a baby, plus it is the only thing that would soothe him when he was teething, and of course no one would complain when we were out at a restaurant and he wasn’t crying because he had it in. But that’s besides the point. Again, I will reiterate that all kids will be ready at different times.
After our son turned two we thought, “Okay you have had it long enough we are going to get rid of it.” We started just cutting him back throughout the day, only trying to give it to him at night, but unfortunately he was too smart for us. He would find another one that had been lost for months. He would climb on counters and chairs to try to get his soothie. He would even sneak them in his pockets out of the house. Then of course his molars started to come in and for everyone to sleep and get through the day he got his soothie back.
We also transitioned him to his big boy bed and were trying a bit of potty training at this time so we didn’t want there to be too many changes at once.
Once the molars were in and he was enjoying his new room and bed, we noticed that while at the wonderful home daycare he attends, as soon as we would drop him off, he would walk over to his bin and plunk it in. We were told he didn’t get it out until nap and once it was over he put it back. Yet every time my husband or I would pick him up he plunked it back in. We tried the bin method at home but after a while he got tired of it and started climbing to retrieve the soothie from the bin- this was not safe and we knew we had to come up with something new.
We thought about the “cutting the end off and seeing what happens” method….
Seemed like a good idea, but knowing our observant little boy, he would then start searching the garbage for the soothie, or try using scissors on things he doesn’t want or like anymore, or worse: our things.
So next we thought we would try the Soother Fairy idea. We liked it at first, but I can not stress how observant and what a great memory our son has. We did not want to ruin the idea of the Tooth Fairy for later on if it was not a successful process.
You might be thinking, “Then how did you do it?” The title of the article is true, we did say “bye bye” to our soothie. Well, sort of….
First, we started talking to our son about how he has a baby brother on the way and how he will need to give up his soothies for his brother which he seemed on board with. This helped us limit him to his two favourite bink links and soothies. Next, we tried an idea a co-worker suggested to me, and yes it involves Build-A-Bear!
So to help our then 2.5 year old to get rid of his soother, we went to Build-A-Bear and made it a keepsake. Of course, we had to make it super special so we sat down with him and explained what we were going to do and showed him some options on the website so he could pre-plan what he was going to build. He got to pick the day and even where we went to dinner. He chose East Side Marios.
Our Big Guy enjoying his special super!
On the way to the restaurant, at the restaurant, and on our way to Build-A-Bear we let him hold on to his soothie. He didn’t use it too much. I think he just liked having it close.
Once we got to Build-A-Bear he ran right over to the large Wall of Selection and made his choice very quickly.
Next, we went to the stuffing station, we explained to the lady that Mas was getting ready to be a big brother and he was hoping to put his soothies in his new stuffy. The lady was so pleasant and she was thrilled and glad to help. Before we could stuff the dog, Mom got suckered in and agreed to get the noise maker for the toy – his puppy barks. At this point I would have probably said yes to anything seeing how excited he was and wanting this to be a success, so once we chose our bark it was off to the stuffing station.
Here he is stuffing his dog (still with his soothies). He was so proud to be helping.
When we asked if he was ready to put his soothies in he said, “yes” right away and jumped at the chance. (First picture he is putting them in, second he is patting the dogs back when its shut.)
Puppy is all sealed and ready for his first hug. This moment made the entire trip worth it! He was so proud and even said, “Mommy, Daddy I’m a big big boy!”
After his snuggle, we picked out a super hero outfit and went off to make his puppy a birth certificate. Before we made it to the check out, he saw a mini puppy (pre-stuffed) that we got for his baby brother.
Here is our proud big boy taking his puppy – which he later named “Sheila” after my brothers dog who recently had had puppies.
And here is our little man, sorry, big man tucking his new best friend and soothies, into bed with him the first night.
It has been over a month since we did this and we have had no issues. There are soothers in the nursery for when his baby brother arrives and he has yet to try to take one or even ask about those. The odd time the first week after we out them in his puppy he would ask, “Where is my soothie?” we just reminded him they were in Sheila and he would either go get her and give her a big squeeze or say, “oh ya”. Now he sleeps with Sheila, but there is no more questions or worries about where the soothies went. We were a little nervous at first that he might try to take them out, but thankfully it has been a smooth process and I wouldn’t change anything we did.
This might not work for your child, but I wish you the best of luck in trying to find your own way to get rid of the soother. Just remember, when do you ever see a 6, 10, 12 year old walking around with one? When they are ready you will know!