I forgot sometimes how dependent I am on things for my happiness. Take, for example, the lowly pacifier.
This is one of the simple joys of infanthood. But take away that joy at your own risk.
My weekend pacifier trials began early Friday morning, at 3 a.m., when my daughter awoke and started crying for her paci, which had somehow gotten lost in her crib sheet. Usually, she wakes, whimpers adorably, I pop her pacifier back in her mouth, and we both get to sleep another 2-3 hours.
I usually keep an extra paci on my nightstand for just this reason.
But this night, I forgot my backup, and I couldn’t find the paci in my desperate in-the-dark search of the crib. By now she was starting to wake up, and her cries were gaining volume quickly. So I picked her up in a tight, mama-bear grip and sprinted around the house, searching, searching for a fix.
We own at least 8 pacifiers. Eight. I found zero on my first sweep of the house.
Finally I found one in the bottom of the car seat, among the stale puff treats that had convinced her to pull the plug on her last trip outside.
She immediately quieted down and even went back to sleep right away. Meanwhile, I went back through the house, turning off all the lights I had turned on and restoring order to the diaper bag, which I had unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the living room during my quest.
Later that morning, I found the lost paci, so we now had 2 accounted for, but somehow neither one made it into the car or the diaper bag for our trip to the sitter. This was the first time I had forgotten a paci for the sitter. “What happened?” she asked? “You usually have 2 or 3 in this bag.”
“Don’t ask!” I said.
Unfortunately, my daughter and the sitter did not have a good day. Apparently she refuses to go to sleep without her Binky. We had never tried putting her to sleep without a paci before. And now it is official: It doesn’t work.
Fast forward to Saturday. We had a much better night. I had my backup paci back in place, and we didn’t even need it. Baby girl slept through straight on to morning, thanks to a lack of daytime naps…
About 10:30 a.m., I decided to take the kids over to a park near the house with fountains that children can play in. My son was off and running in the water as soon as we arrived, while baby girl and I watched from a safe, not-in-the-splash-zone distance. I was holding her on my hip so she could watch her brother when a man asked me if I had dropped a pacifier. Sure enough, the light blue Binky we had arrived with was gone.
A woman had asked the man if it belonged to his kids. “She’s right over there,” he pointed out.
I thanked him and approached the woman, grateful for the tip. With the run we were on, I couldn’t afford to lose any more pacis.
But when I asked the woman if she had found a pacifier, she gave me a blank look and shook her head. I told her a man had told me to talk to her, but she just shook her head again. No paci.
“Well,” I told her, “if you find a light-blue paci, could you please let me know?” Sure, sure.
I walked back to my post, dumbfounded. What happened there? Who takes a stranger’s paci? I mean, that’s worse than taking candy from a baby.
Even my 3-year-old son knows the value of a paci. He knows that if he hands over one of those, my daughter will drop whatever toy of his that she was playing with to get it. He’ll run through the house screaming “Paci! Paci!” so he can have something to trade in order to get back his favorite toy car or firetruck.
But about 5 minutes later, while I was considering whether it would just be better to go buy more pacifiers, because obviously you can never have enough, the woman I had talked to came up to me holding the paci in a paper towel. “We found it!” she said. “I washed it for you.”
I thanked her profusely and tucked it into my diaper bag. One hot sanitizing wash, and it would be as good as new.
A Binky might not look like much, but I know better. That little piece of plastic is worth its weight in gold.
Jennifer Jhon is the youth editor of Teenlink.
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