About two weeks ago, Owen gave up his last vestige of babydom: his pacifier. We’d been telling him for months that when he turned three, the sucey fairy would come and take his suçe away to give to the babies. But, of course, birthday #3 came and went and neither Duncan nor I was quite ready to give up Owen’s uncomplaining leaps into bed, pacifier in mouth. We were as addicted as he was, you see.
What if he stops napping without it? we thought.
What if he starts waking up in the night?
So months rolled by, with one of us, or Owen, mentioning the sucey fairy every now and then, in an off-hand manner.
Owen was down to three pacifiers in June. Now, I know they say they’re good for 2 weeks or something, but I have never been a germophobe. These babies were months old – years? One, the blue one, developed a crack in it. I threw it out, because that’s dangerous. Owen watched me throw it out, wary. There were two left, and he knew it.
He liked to sit on the toilet with a pacifier perched precariously on his lip, like a gangster’s cigarette.
If that falls in the toilet, I’m throwing it out, I told him.
He often put it on the window sill for safekeeping.
One day, he forgot, and it fell into the toilet bowl, mid sentence. He cried a little, but I did throw it out, as promised. I’m not a germophobe, but the toilet is the toilet.
There was one pacifier left. Owen knew we were down to the last one, and grew alarmed if he left the house with it. “What if I lose it?” he would say. “I don’t want to lose it! That would be terrible!”
But one evening, before bed, we couldn’t find it. I mean, we really couldn’t find it. Duncan and I looked everywhere – in his bed, in our bed, in the bathroom, in the dishwasher, in the toy box… it was gone.
So we gulped a little and steeled ourselves.
“The sucey fairy must have come while you were at daycare!”
We had promised that the sucey fairy left gifts. The gift that Owen assumed she left was a snow globe. He’s obsessed with snow globes. Anyway, we hadn’t found one yet, despite trawling e-bay nightly.We did, however, have a 6-pack of books from Scholastic, so I pulled one out of the middle (which he hadn’t seen). There was a loonie on the counter, so I took that, too. And (inspired by Owen’s daycare educator) I threw in some “fairy feathers” from the craft stash.
While Duncan and Owen were searching for the present, I “hid” it in a place he’d already been by, on the stairs. Then I called out to them.
When he found the present, he was pretty excited, but his lower lip wobbled a little. I think he was secretly hoping to find his pacifier.
“But I don’t know how to sleep without a suçe,” he said.
We reassured him that he did – that he’s been napping at daycare for over a year without a pacifier and – more to the point – that the sucey fairy only comes when you’re ready.
Owen was up twice that night (in the first 15 minutes) and is not quite as addicted to sleep as he was before (he needs to be put to bed twice, still). Even so, the pacifier is not missed by any of us.
Even Owen is glad, after all, that the babies get to use it.