February 6, 2011

Passing the Fist

Back when Cruz resided in my tummy and was to known to the world as Baby E, we did two 3D ultrasounds. The first time, I took my mom along, as she lives far away and hadn't been to any Baby E appointments. The second time, Tovi and I went together. While we had a great experience all around, the ultrasounds were frankly a little disappointing. In the first, Baby E looked a lot like Horatio Sanz playing Saddam Houssein. True Story. I spent the next few weeks seriously worried about how cute my kid was going to be. During the second ultrasound, we could barely see the baby's face (lesson learned) because he chewed on his teensy fists for about thirty minutes. 

So we knew from an early age that this kid would want something to suck on.

Have you ever seen my copy of The Baby Book by Dr Sears? We recently received our new yellow pages phone book. The Baby Book is at least three times as thick, and no where in those many many pages does it promote using a pacifier. Instead, says the good doctor, let the baby suck on your finger. Rub his back and sing him a lullaby. Ha. Give a mama-in-training some help, Dr Sears!

{Does it count as more granola if the pacis are BPA free?}

Given the amount of fist sucking we saw in womb, I knew Cruz would want to use one, and I packed one in our hospital bag when he was born. And guess what? The kid LOVED it. 

I felt like I was breaking all the rules! By now, you should know that I love stripes, long showers, and following the rules. Cruz was only two days old and I was already rebelling against Dr. Sears! I remember lying in the hospital, Cruz peacefully sucking on his paci, it might have been the middle of the night. The nurse walked in the room and rather than get in trouble for letting him have a pacifier, I snatched it straight out of the baby's mouth and stuffed it under my pillow. I just hate breaking the rules! "Why is he crying?" asked my confused husband. "He was just fine." 

"He's just a baby," I said innocently. "He's going to cry."

 I don't know where I developed my paci complex. Maybe I thought it was cheating because it's such a surefire way of calming my baby down. I haven't suffered! Maybe it's because I never took one as a child, so inherently they're "bad." Whatever the case, I've always been a little defensive and apologetic about Cruz's addiction.

He's growing out of it.
He just really needs to suck on something.
If he doesn't have a paci, he tries to suck on his hands and scratches his face.
You know, things like that.

By the time Cruz was three months old, we had an official paci king on our hands. Those little suckers are everywhere in our house. I even Amazon'd a pack up to my parents' as back-up when we visited at Christmas. 

The day before I went back to work, I attended the baby shower of a good friend. She is a few years older than me, and most of her friends already have kids, which meant I was surrounded by veteran Mamas. During the lunch, Cruz was winding down for a nap and wanted his paci. I pulled one out of the diaper bag and made some self-deprecating comment about it. I never thought I'd be the kind of mom that let her kid use one, but you know how that goes...

The gal across the table looked me straight in the eye and said, "Oh please. We line our kid's crib with pacifiers in case he loses one the night. He falls asleep with one in his mouth and two in his hands." Next to her, the mom said, "They're all addicts. Only people without babies will tell you they're bad." One by one, every Mama at the table 'fessed up to pacifier use. 

There are so many expectations I've put on myself. Things I should or shouldn't do as a parent, based on nothing but what I think other people will approve of. But Cruz is patiently showing me how to parent him. As I relax into that, I am finding a lot of grace. Letting go of expectations is incredibly freeing. And while I'm learning, my paci king still reigns supreme. 


  1. Connor has never been able to be convinced of their value, much to my deep chagrin. He gets *violent*, really, if I am not available to sleep suck for hours at a time!

  2. I was the same way as a baby. You sweet moms with us picky babies! Jewels in your crown.


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