Life after Dummy

I WRITE this in utter despair.  Utter “I’m weaning my child off the dummy” Despair.

I won’t say it’s been hell because it hasn’t …. she’s talking much more, saying cute things like “sis” (what’s this?), “star”, “fnn” (fan), “bida” (bye Dad), “sat” (what’s that?)… but for about an hour or more before naps and bedtime the Shit Hits The “Fnn”.

I wash dishes and she cries. I do the laundry and she cries. I drive to the shops and she cries. Push trolleys, she cries. Console her, she cries. Yell to God to help me, she cries. Pick stupid fights with husband who is trying to help, she cries. Lose all rationality, she cries.

It’s exhausting. And I guess she’s pretty tired too.

But I took comfort in something I read recently – not sure now if it was bonafide, government-funded research or just someone’s take on it – that tears and tantrums are “gifts”. Yes, gifts.

Tears are an important and, for really young children, the sole method in stress release. Considering that everything is new to them and, in the case of my child, everything is challenged by the conflicting desires of her sibling, there would be a lot of stress in her life.

And I’ve taken away her dummy. The one piece of plastic that stands between her and the rest of the world.

The article went on to say how we condition our children to control emotion, respond “nicely” and develop more appropriate stomach ulcers rather than vent frustration in ill-advised tears and tantrums.

I’m well versed in the “push it all the way down” school of emotional baggage, so it’s no wonder I have been corking up potential frustrations with a pacifier (and in my case a chocolate croissant… or two).

So, now the dummy’s out of the equation she is left to confront all these frustrations the only God-given way she knows how. Good for her (I can say that now, while she’s fast asleep and oh-so quiet), but what about the rest of us passive-aggressive types with ringing ears?

While the screaming bludgeons our eardrums, and my son vies for attention the next octave up, my own cries of desperation only serve to shock everyone into stunned silence momentarily, before we all start crying.

 And once the noise has abated, I’m physically and emotionally spent. There’s no energy left for my own tears of release or even the ability to articulate all those purple and swollen emotions. Except for here, of course, and while writing this entry, I’ve had a quiet epiphany (the best kind) that perhaps this ought to be a chance to face up to my own issues.

The fears and humiliations I’ve politely endured over the years much like a Jane Austen character (if  Elizabeth Bennet’s parents separated when she was young and she went on to become a binge-drinking uni student before settling into a life of relative domesticity and newspaper deadlines).

But it all requires so much more energy than I currently possess… so, like a good little  girl, I’m going to tuck myself and my hang-ups into bed… right after I finish this bowl of Smarties.

*This post won KleenexMums first So You  Think You Can Blog competition (I won an iPad!!). They said it won “thanks to its whit, charm, honesty and writing style.” But be sure to read all the other finalists – they are brilliant!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marketingtomilk
    Dec 19, 2010 @ 13:47:15

    I feel for you. Hang in there, be strong. Children change overnight when they’re ready.



  2. Chryssie Bailey
    Dec 20, 2010 @ 07:00:32

    Hey Peta You sound like you need a hug! *hugs* I had a quiet epiphany too whilst reading your post. We are expected from a young age to ‘bottle it up’ and behave ‘appropriately’. It is painful listening to those high frequency screams that seems only tolerable to banshees and only understood by a pod of dolphins! It’s enough to make your teeth shatter under the strain of a clenched jaw…

    On the ‘up’ side, you mentioned she is talking more so that’s fabulous, hopefully you won’t need that pod of dolphins and banshees to translate for too much longer! 😀 Thinking of you… {By the way – love your blog !}


    • petajo
      Dec 23, 2010 @ 03:08:54

      Thanks Chryssie, it’s just adding to the “Christmas cheer” in our house… I do believe in the past couple of days, we’ve put at least two people off EVER having children!! 😉


  3. Holly at Itsamummyslife
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 13:16:15

    hi there! What a brilliant post, wow you write amazingly, I could read this stuff all day. Thanks so much for your comment on my posts about the bloody dummy. It’s hard but it is improving and it is a good thing to do. I get the point about the bottling up of emotions and supressing them with a dummy I really do. It makes total sense. Last night was an improvement and I am trying to stay optimistic!


    • petajo
      Jan 08, 2011 @ 03:26:04

      Thanks Holly – I’ve been thoroughly enjoying your posts re: dummy too. I doubt there’s another inanimate object on this earth that has such power to dictate our lives!


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