Friday, April 26

goodbye, old friend.

last night, we said goodbye to an old friend.
someone who had been with us since the beginning.
someone beloved by all in this house.

ellie, one year old


we had tried a few times before to let it go, but it was just too difficult (and nobody was getting any sleep). it helped her through the change from crib to bed. there was a new baby and then she was potty training and i kept thinking "after the next transition, then we can be done."

poppy never did care about a pacifier. once in a while she will take one and kind of chew on it, but i think that has more to do with teething than anything. however, poppy knows all too well about paci. it was one of her first words because of ellie. poppy would bring the prized possession to her sister lovingly, saying "patchi, patchi!"

newborn ellie

for ellie it was different... for ellie it was love at first sight. i remember when she was brand new and we spent hours holding that thing in her mouth because she would scream without it. it was huge, almost as big as her face. i remember how we celebrated when she could keep it her mouth, and when she could put it in herself it was heaven. how many times in the past three years have i gotten up in the middle of the night to search for it while she cried in bed? how many times have i pulled it out from between the mattress and the wall or rescued it from deep under the bed? probably millions. and how many have we gone through because she preferred only the one kind? it was the bounciest kind of all; always rolling far away at the worst moments, sometimes never to be seen again.

she turned three. it seemed like she was just getting more and more attached. she would try to convince me she was tired just so she could have it. she would spot it on the counter, climb up and snatch it and hide with it. sometimes at night she would sleep with one in her mouth and another in her hand. love, i tell you.

then we went to target yesterday. we walked through the aisles of toys and she pointed out all the ones she wanted, which included almost everything - from dolls to dump trucks. after hearing ideas/stories from some friends, i decided to ask her the big question.
"ellie, would you like to come pick a toy from this store?"
"yes!" (duh, obviously, of course)
"well, i was thinking we could go home and get your paci and then we could bring it here and trade it for a toy here. would you want to do that?"
"are you sure? because when we leave it here we will never, ever see it again. you will have to be a big girl. can you do that?"
"yes. i think i can give it a try." (honestly, her words.)

so we waited until daddy came home, then we rounded up the paci and we all went to the store.

ellie got her paci as soon as we walked in and it was in her mouth immediately. i wasn't sure this plan was going to work. we checked out some clothes while she had some time with it (and we tried on a couple of bras together, little lady of mine).

we hit the toy section next. she tried out a lot of toys but when she found the shopping cart that was it. she pushed it all over the aisles until i was convinced of her choice and then i told her she had to hand over the paci.
"time to say goodbye," i said.
she put it in my hand and waved. "goodbye!"
"now ellie, you are going to get this shopping cart and we are going to leave this paci here. you won't get to have it again, do you understand?"
"yeah. i don't need it anymore. i'm a big girl."

i wanted to break down and cry.

she rolled that cart right up to the register and right out the door. as we left i reminded her one more time, made sure it was her choice and made sure she knew that the paci was too far away for her to get it back. she was sure.

she hasn't been taking naps for a couple of months now and that's partly why i had figured it was finally time. the no naps transition sometimes makes her grumpy (understatement! she's slightly insane.) and last night was rough. she stayed up too late. she was too tired to get in her jammies, too tired to relax. we usually let her sit in her room with her lamp on and she's allowed to read or play quietly so long as she doesn't come out.

at first, when we put her to bed, she was mad. she yelled and told me she didn't want the shopping cart, she wanted the paci. she also threatened to stay up all night. she cried "it's too hard! i can't sleep!" we let her cool off then i went in to check on her. she had unloaded all the food around her on her bed and told me all the things that she had: pie crusts, crackers, noodles, milk, eggs, ice cream, etc.
"do you want to clear these things off so you can sleep? we can put them in the cart."
so she did. then, she climbed up in my lap.
"mommy, i can't sleep. i want my paci," she said calmly.
"i know, but we left it at target, remember? you picked this new toy. you're a big girl."
"mommy, i don't want to be a big girl anymore," she said sadly.

she was breaking my heart.

i reminded her of all the fun things she can do because she's a big girl - go to dance class, swing on the big swings, draw beautiful pictures. she still wasn't quite sure.
"how about i rock you for a minute until you fall asleep?"
she smiled and nodded. we turned off the lights and i rocked her, then rubbed her back under the glow-in-the-dark stars until she finally fell asleep.

paci, you were a reliable, loyal, helpful friend. you'll be missed.
we'll take good care of this little woman that you left behind.
she just keeps getting better. we love her so much.


Emily S. said...

Oh man. This had me about in tears. I remember the same emotions when we took Andrew's away. It was rough. Ellie seems to be doing well! I hope it continues. (Now, did you actually give them away or did you keep one for a memento? I still have one of Andrew's, just to remember the little baby he used to be)

Nilasarasvati said...

there's a lot of things I don't have words for.
Except, Bradie you are magnificent. And so is Eleanor. I'm so happy I can read about yall on here. And this story was perfect, along with your parenting skills. You rock.

kathy said...

You have a good method! I do not think I was as smart as you in saying good bye to the old friend! If I remember correctly-- I had to wait until I was off work (evening shift at the hospital) for a few days in a row so that I could BREAK Cory from paci. Uncle Cliff could not do it! LOL. I remember a few nights peaking in his room with him crying for it. Awww. Thay grow up too fast!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

So cute! Your girls are growing up so fast!
Luckily none of my kids have been super addicted to the paci, so we thankfully never had a problem getting them to give it up.
But my SIL would take scissors and and slice the top down the middle so it took out all the suction. After a bit of trying, her kids would eventually give it up on their own.

Erynn said...

what a bitter sweet little story! addie hasn't really been attached to anything like that, but i can't imagine the day she tells me that she is a big girl and doesn't need little things. she is off her bottle and that was more traumatizing for me than her only because i knew it meant no more snuggle time before bed. that is the only way she would let me snuggle her. i miss our snuggle time so much! it is hard to let them grow up and get older. can't they just stay little forever? xoxo