As soon as I said the words I regretted them instantly. Mostly because my three year old daughter was giving me that wide-eyed I’m not sure I should believe you look and I was worried I would ruin the whole Santa thing for her forever.
But rightly or wrongly (I admit not one of my finest parenting moments), I looked down at my youngest child who had passed the three year old mark many months before and said enough is enough. I explained that on Christmas Eve Santa would come through our front door with the magic key (we don’t have a chimney) to deliver his presents but he would also take all of Sweet Pea’s binkies and give them to babies who didn’t have any binkies. As soon as the I’m ruining Santa for my child guilt kicked in I added that Santa would leave her a special “Bye Bye Binky” present.
Sweet Pea wasn’t sad or argumentative. I could see that for the weeks leading up to Christmas she thought long and hard about every word I had said.
That didn’t make me feel any better because rest assured… a thinking toddler is a very dangerous thing.
We discussed what Santa would bring her as her special bye bye binky present and she settled early on for a baby doll with a blanket, a bottle and wait for it… a binky.
We also actively had conversations with friends and family and pre-school teachers where I probed Sweet Pea to tell them who was coming to take her binky. Every time she answered “Santa” I could tell by the looks my fellow adult was giving me that they seriously questioned whether or not I was scarring my child for good. I seriously questioned it myself but while I may have blurted out this plan without thinking it through I was definitely sticking with it.
I set my alarm early Christmas Morning (like 4:30am early) and like any good mom I snuck into Sweet Pea’s room and pulled a binky out of her mouth then rooted around the bed for any extras I hadn’t casually picked up the night before.
I then placed the prized baby doll with a blanket, a bottle AND a binky next to her bed and tossed the binkies into my husband’s sock drawer (I mean I may be certain I’m carrying out this half-baked plan but I’m certainly not going to trust that it’s actually going to work!).
The next morning Sweet Pea woke up, yelled “my binkies gone” as if delivering a news report and then moved very quickly into excited that she was the only child in our house with a present right beside her bed.
Christmas morning – because of everything else that was going on – turned out to be a perfect time for her to be distracted enough not to worry about the binky.
Of course it took Sweet Pea about 5 nights to figure out how to self-soothe herself to sleep at night without the binky but she never cried for it and we never had a meltdown.
Once when she was overtired she climbed into my lap and whined a bit that she wanted her binky back and could I call Santa and make that happen. We had an extra long snuggle with her favourite yellow blanket and that was the last time I heard about the binky.
From the day we brought her home from the hospital to that fateful Christmas morning, my daughter – and by default my purse, coat pocket and car – have not been without a binky. In fact I m sure there are people who have never seen Sweet Pea’s beautiful smile unblocked by a bright pink binky.
But here we are – binky free.
You and I will both have to wait until next year though to see whether or not I’ve done any permanent damage over the whole Santa thing!
PS: If you haven’t already heard Elmo’s “Bye Bye Binky” song you should. My older kids sang it to Sweet Pea leading up to Christmas Eve. I warn you, it’s one of those songs you can’t get out of your head. Enjoy!