the eminator does pacie detox.

Alternate Title : The one where we almost imploded and then spontaneously combusted and turned into those shriveled people from The Little Mermaid because we nearly died. And stuff.

A few of you may remember this post.

Where I whined about Emerson and the fact that she sleeps with us? Yeah. that one. I loved hearing all of your own experiences…a lot of them downright hilarious. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

As most of you know, it’s a love hate relationship. One moment, I’m enjoying my side of the bed all to myself, and the next, I’ve got an elbow in my kidney and a pinky toe in my mouth. If Jamin’s fave pastime is strangling ponies, Emmy goes all snakes on a plane a-la swamp people with a good gator/python wrestling session in her sleep. My bed is transformed into a cross between the tea cup ride at Disney World and that gross spin-ny thing at the state fair. Yeah. The one with vomit on it.

Let me just preface on the parental enabling: We started out in a special situation. Emerson, at a mere two days old, was spitting up blood. {Yep. Cue the panic.} It turned out to be nothing after an upper GI {yes, I was standing there watching her tiny ribs and esophagus on an x-ray, while the technician explained all the causes that it could be, including twisted intestines. Cue nearly buckled knees. Mr. Technician Man could’ve spared one hormonal, panicked mother on that one. Sometimes people forget they’re in the health profession and I’m SO not.} But that, compounded with severe colic and acid reflux, and I wanted her in our bedroom. I needed to make sure she was still breathing at night. And I guess you can say other than a short break {also known as God being nice to us} when Malone was born 18 short months later-when HE shared the bed – we were in survival mode. But for the most part, Emerson has always slept with us.

So, after this insane summer died down, I had my husband back, and our home was somewhat back in order, I knew it was time to do what I was dreading the very most. Enough was enough. It was time to start with the first step, and pull the plug. I won’t lie. I love the plug. The plug is wonderful. Naps. 2.5 pure unadulterated, uninterrupted hours of guilt free rest work time. And sleep. At night. But at 3.5 years old, enough is enough.

At this rate, I’m a little worried that Buck tooth Bessie may be Emmy’s nickname by the time she’s five. You may not believe this, but she can be a handful. So I knew that once we put an end to it, a change would begin to take place in the Eminator’s entire demeanor, when she learned how to self soothe. But we also had an ever present challenge to deal with:

If she wants it, all she has to do is snatch it from his little mouth. Though at a mere three pound difference between these two, Malone is learning to hold his own. He rules the playroom with kidney punching fists of iron when big brother is away at school.

So, last week, on a Monday night, after she had been given a heads up for months, the Pacie Fairy came. During dinner. She apparently snuck in while the kids were all, “Mom is great. She gave us the strawberry cake” on the table a-la Bill Cosby with some strawberry bars. When it was bedtime, and Emmy could no longer find her pacie, but a new doll in its place instead…

it began.

At first she was happy with her newly acquired lalaloopsy. She wanted to sleep with us. Baby steps, right? Only she wouldn’t sleep. She fussed and kicked and squealed and begged and whined…to the point where I kind of wanted to fuss and kick and squeal and wail and whine. There was lots of gnashing of teeth and other miserable whatnots. So we sent her to her room instead. And locked her in.

It wasn’t pretty.

Let’s just say she finally gave it up, after kicking her door until 3:30 in the a.m. My child is the poster child for strong willed children. After lots of freak out session encounters that I may or may not have recorded from the other side of the door…that reoccured the next night…and the next night…while I had portions of my memory coming back to haunt me, where my mother said she hoped I had a child half as bad as I was as a kid… She finally gave it up. Only this situation, compounded with a sick and miserable Malone (double ear infections + hand foot and mouth disease) and keeping them both quiet while they screamed all night so Aiden could wake up early for kindergarten…

Jamin and I had officially entered the seventh circle of Hell.


In short, she went through the stages of mourning. We’d kicked the habit a few years before with Aiden, but never experienced anything of this magnitude. It took about five days of hard core begging, prodding, bargaining, denying, sticking with it, and simply waiting it out. Of staying strong and never giving in. Even when she acted like she wanted to stab us with her yogurt spoon when our backs were turned. My only consolation was knowing that this too, shall pass.

That, and I may have saved us about 100 dollars on our orthodontist bill by cutting her off 3.5 years later.

I’m so comforted.

The one con from all of this: she’s officially given up her naps. {I’m crossing my fingers that this is only temporary until she’s worn out at preschool by all her little classmates, once it finally starts.}

Aaaannnnnd she’s still sleeping with us.

In the end, I’m relieved to tell you no one died. Operation pacie detox complete. Between that, and Aiden learning to buckle himself in when we go somewhere, this is a real game changer for yours truly. Things are on the up and up!

It’s all about the small things.

Spill it, guys. Got any stories from kicking the addiction? Any of you have babies with  really strong personalities lots of unquenchable spunk? I’d love to hear!

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Responses to the eminator does pacie detox.

  1. Beth Miller says:

    My word!! I have an independent, determined, hard-headed and “busy” 2 year old. We butt heads all day long when I’m home. For everyone else, she’s “perfect”! I’m getting paid back as well. You are not alone! I will have to try and take her three middle fingers out of her mouth some day, and I’m pretty sure a little fairy can’t come and do it for me! Yeah, can’t wait for that day to come…

  2. All of my girls have spunk, but my oldest was the worst at bedtime. When her sister was born she was 24 months, and would not sleep in her new toddler bed. She would not sleep with us either. My husband and I took turns sleeping in her room with her till she would go to sleep. I remember getting in that toddler bed with her with my big ole mommy belly and trying to get her to sleep. We were up for 72 hours one week, till we just passed out from exhaustion. Fun times!

  3. Amy says:

    I don’t have children of my own, but I can offer you some hope on the orthodontist bill. I took my nunu (paci) until I was 5 years old. My mom would pick me up from kindergarten and let me have it. My parents called me the nunu queen because I normally had one in each hand and two or three in my mouth. In fact, they are still finding them around the house twenty years later. All of that to say…… I am the only one in my family who didn’t have to have braces! My teeth are still pretty straight too. So there is hope :)

  4. Rochelle says:

    So…my timeline was different than yours, but the weeping and gnashing of teeth was similar to yours.

    My son started down the “replace paci constantly” route around 4 months. We were living in someone elses house. We had a 2 year old. I was nursing. I could not spend all night getting up and replacing the paci. A friend with older/more/sweeter children said she always went the blanket route. Insert “aha” moment. A blanket. He had one…make it special…and ditch the paci.

    So we did. After 4 days of sobing (after much loving,holding,nursing,snuggling) with his blanket at bedtime/naptime he became a thumb sucker. So you say, “oh, just as bad!!’….but he does not have a paci….and he sleeps in.his.own.bed…..yay!!!! And I got some good sleep.

    Until the teething began.

  5. Melissa says:

    My mom was hardcore crazy. She read about the damage pacifiers could do and decided she wouldn’t use them. She’d just send us to bed with a bottle (sometimes milk, but most times water) and we’d fall asleep guzzling it. Sure, we were probably too old for it, but no paci fights.

    When we began teething we turned into woodchucks. There are pictures of our crib covered in knotted hankies to keep us from gnawing on the rails. Hee.

    I don’t remember having a special blanket or a luvy of any kind. I did however have a satin covered airplane size pillow that I liked to sleep with. I had my little pillow for an embarrassing amount of years.

  6. Lindsay Langford says:

    My kids had to give there paccies to Santa! That was the easiest transformation we have had to date. Good luck and remember you have to be stronger than the 3.5yr old because she will only get more stubborned!

    • Kimberly says:

      I love this idea… this is the first year my son is really, really getting the Santa thing… last year we moved and traveled the week before so Christmas was sort of strange for us.

      Maybe we can mail them to Santa.

  7. Sarah says:

    Our nine month old daughter sleeps with a paci and has to be swaddled at night. She is inconsolable without these things. We’ve tried taking one or both away, but at this age anyway, I just don’t think she has the coping skills to calm herself down without these “props.” That said, she is pretty much at the point where the paci is only used for sleeping or to calm down after a boo-boo. We joke though that we’ll be swaddling her wit comforters when she goes to kindergarten.

    As far as your daughter sleeping with you, AGGGH! You poor thing! Hope she just gets the idea to sleep in her bed on her own someday. My parents had that problem a few times a week when my younger sister was little. She would come into their room in the middle of the night because she was scared. My mom eventually put a sleeping bag and a pillow under her side of the bed and told my sister not to wake them up or get in bed with them, but just to pull it out and lay down on the floor. She woke up many a morning to my sister sleeping on the floor by their bed for goodness knows how long, but at least they got their sleep. Don’t know if that would work with your daughter, but it’s an idea! Maybe you could convince her it’s because she’s gotten too big to fit in bed with you? Good luck!

  8. Tracey says:

    My oldest (now 8) was a paci kid as well, and also VERY strong willed. I was surprised at how easily we got him to give up the “binky”, but (and there’s always a but) he was ADDICTED to the crib aquarium. The stupid Fisher Price thing that I listened to through the monitor for years and years. When he moved into a bed, we were afraid he wouldn’t sleep without it (if he woke in the middle of the night he would just hit the button and go right back to sleep) so we hooked it on to his bed (very jerry-rigged) He was SIX when I finally said enough. We were convinced he would be at college getting laid for the first time with that music as the soundtrack.

  9. Lindy says:

    I don’t have kids, but my cousin Callie was seriously addicted to the paci. When she was around four they finally tied all of her pacies to helium balloons and sent them to the babies in heaven. She carried around a picture of her favorite pacie in her purse until she was around ten or so. It worked!

    I had another cousin who was addicted to a lovie. Each week my aunt and uncle cut off a piece of the lovie until eventually there was nothing left. I don’t know what I think about that one.

    My grandmother always said that she cut a hole in my dad’s pacie do that it pinched his tongue when he tried to suck it. He eventually just spit it out and never asked for it again. I don’t think that is safe though.

  10. Sarah says:

    Oh my word! You have me just dying over here! We also have a strong-willed three year old, who doesn’t often like hearing the word ‘no’. I ninxed the pacifier thing when she was a baby, and we had no issues. Now, it’s the three middle fingers when she sleeps. When took her to the doctor, he was shocked at how far back her fingers could bend! We’re beginning our own process of weaning (he said by four – I can put it off, right?!?!). I’m stumped as to how we tell her ‘no fingers’, when the first thing she does upon hearing such instructions is jam her entire two hands in her mouth in defiance. Sigh. One day, one day.

  11. It can be painful for all concerned. For my oldest I was brutal and had to cut the nipple of the paci with a scissors on her third birthday because she was officially a “big girl”. She was fine. My second resorted to promptly sucking on the head of a little yellow rubber ducky whenever the paci “went missing” !!

  12. Kristy says:

    Wow. I really lucked out. My son never liked the pacie. My daughter however, LOVED IT. We had the wubbanub kind which have a tiny bean bag stuffed animal sewn to it. We took her for her first visit to the dentist at 13 months old, and the dentist asked if she used a pacie…I responded “Not after today!” Bless her easy going heart, we took it away cold turkey, expecting a horrible week of bedtimes. She went right to sleep with absolutely no drama. We lucked out.

  13. dezi says:

    What is it about girls! They are so stubborn! My oldest (son) gave up his passy in two days and really only cried the first day….just begged and pleaded on the second. Now granted, he was almost 3 before I broke him of the habit! But my daughter….GEEZ! They are tough. I had to try it twice, because I just caved after the 3 night of screaming. But the second try…about 2mo’s later was much easier. It only took one night of crying, One week of begging and huge pile of “big girl” lip glosses and play makeup as her surprise present to be done with it.

    There are many theories about kids sleeping with the parents. Do what you feel is best. Good Luck!

    PS, Your little girl’s room look precious! I would love to sleep in there! :) ha!

  14. Valerie says:

    When my oldest was 14 months old, I laid him down for a nap one day, and he stood up, threw the binkie across the room, and said,”No, mama!” He never wanted it again. Cue child number two. When she was three, my dear husband had enough, and took the last binkie, cut a small slit in it near the base, and then pretended to pick it up from the floor next time she wanted it. When he did, he ‘accidentally’ broke it, and since the store wouldn’t sell us any more…
    Well, you get the idea. She didn’t seem to mind!
    Both of ours liked to sleep with us, too, and they were both champion sleep-kick boxers. We bought the second one a cat, and trained it sleep with her. Worked like a charm!

  15. Kellie says:

    When we were trying to get our youngest son (now 4 yrs old) to give up his pacifier, it was around Christmas. So Christmas Eve, we told him that he had to leave it for Santa to give to another baby who needed it because he was a big boy now. And it worked just like that! Although for days after he would ask why he had to give it to Santa and he made sure to let everyone know that Santa took it. I can also sympathize with you on your daughter, my middle child is a 5 yr old hard-headed, strong-willed girl. She too kicks and kicks her door to no end when she is sent to her room and has the worst screaming and kicking fits ever. I am hoping that kindergarten is going to calm her down. And maybe it is just the middle child, only girl syndrome!

  16. stephanie says:

    I will spare you my story with my own, simply because it was a rare miracle case that honestly wasn’t bad. I will tell you that I was terrified of weaning and giving up the pacie. I am the oldest of 10 so I have seen how this goes. I had one sister who sucked her pacie until 5 yrs. She was told on her birthday that all her pacies would disappear and she would be too old to suck pacies anymore. She was found on the couch with every last pacie taking one last suck of each. In my parent’s defense this was not the first time they had tried to vanish the pacie and this particular sister had trouble with adjusting to well anything. I have another sister who when her pacie was taken away, my brother (only 15 months older than she) tells her not to worry and put her thumb in her mouth. Out with one addiction and in with another. We’ve had bed sharers in our house too. I totally understand the love hate. One of things that helps me get through those rough nights before they started staying in their beds was reminding myself that one day I will miss having my babies in my bed. While weaning our kids from sleeping with us they would often start out in their beds and join us early in the morning, this was not so bad because we got a good nights sleep and still got to cuddle with our sweeties.
    I really like your comment about “this too shall pass”. I think every parent needs to remember this one and it can help you get through a lot with less stress.

  17. Melissa says:

    Yep. We totally took the paci away from Camp this summer. Then last week he found one in the playroom. It went right in his mouth and has stayed there since. I gave in or up. Whatever. When we are really good on the potty, I will tackle it again. …. maybe.

  18. Candice says:

    Our youngest took a paci until about 3.5 yrs old too. He loved it. It soothed him. It soothed me. He napped at pre school. He slept good at night. Then we took it away. Boo!! He stopped napping, sleeping, being able to soothe himself and generally became an angry little guy for a few days. It broke my heart. He would wake in the night and slide his hand around his bed looking for it. (He still does that occasionally and I want to cry every time.) It took him about a week of rough days and nights but we made it. He hasn’t had his beloved “bapi” for about 6 months. Earlier this summer I found one in the swim bag and showed it too him. Poor kid- it was like a moth to a flame. His eyes got big and bright and he smiled ear to ear. I think he would have got right back to sucking on it day and night. So I did what I had to do, I threw that sucker in the trash and fielded his angry stares and curses. He threatened to put me in time out for being such a stinker. Love is tough sometimes.

  19. Dorothy says:

    Emerson is so adorable, and I have to chuckle looking at her. She looks (and sounds like) a little blonde version of my older daughter. Strong-willed is a nice way of putting it! I was too afraid of this happening to use a pacificer for my kids, andthe oldest “strong willed” one didn’t suck her thumb either. She was too busy coming up with other forms of torture for us. Then we had twins; the girl half sucked her thumb enthusiastically without any harm to her teeth, but her twin brother sucked his finger till it was absolutely pathetic, and he had to have extra braces expense. He ended up pushing his jaw back, so a paci would been much smarter. Except for a couple nights when rooms were being painted, etc. they never slept with us because we never could fall sound asleep, let alone, move with kids in the bed. I’m sure they think we are meanies but we were just too darn pooped! Emerson has plenty of spunk to spare, I bet; I look forward to being amused by her future antics too. Hang in there, kiddo!

  20. Linda Carpenter says:

    Let me just say that when your little ones are all grown up and off to college, you would give anything to have them right there beside you. I slept with one foot on the floor and 2 or 3 kiddos in bed all night every night, and what I wouldn’t give to have them back, just for a moment, as their sweet precious snuggly little selves. Enjoy…it doesn’t last for ever!

  21. Jerri Czosek says:

    All I can say is your Eminator is too cute. I miss the days when baby, who is now 11, wanted to sleep with us.

  22. Sharry says:

    BEEN THERE DONE THAT WARNING: My now 35 year old daughter was just as described above by all of you. So stubborn! In the 3rd grade her teacher told me she could convince anyone that 2+2=5! She is now an attorney with a 3 year old that still sleeps with her and her husband. Just saying…
    (By the way, all 4 of my children had braces, pacie or no pacie.) 😀

  23. Jennifer says:

    Last night, I was squished to the edge of the bed by Jack who was all up in my space on one side (usually he crowds Erick, ha), and on my other side I had my hand hanging over into the co-sleeper ALL NIGHT LONG so I could pop the paci back in Luke’s mouth whenever he spit it out and woke himself up, which was every 5 minutes in-between his every two hour feedings. I made coffee this morning and it sat for an hour before I could get to it because of kidlets needing things…but we will appreciate these moments someday! :-) Trying to appreciate them in my sleep deprived state this morning!

  24. Megan M says:

    I am right there with you! My son Preston who turned 3 in June is a handful and a half. He’s the sweetest boy but man does he make me work for my moments of peace and quiet. I had weaned him off of his “B” (pacie) two times prior to this summer (at 18 mos and 2.5) but always ended up giving it back to him because it was just SO MUCH EASIER and quieter if there was one around. He too, took monster long naps for me and remained cuddly until I took the B away. I loved it. But since its disappearance the naps are no longer :( At the beginning of the summer I told myself that we had to tackle potty training and being done with the B before preschool started. I’m happy to say my little man accomplished both – but not without several moments of me wishing I could just plug him back up with his B so that he’d take a nap for me and let me get things done :)
    Also, I feel for you and the cosleeping thing. I am a single mom and we live with my parents. Preston’s room is upstairs near theirs and mine is in the basement. So each night when he wakes up he makes his way down the two flights of stairs to crawl in my bed. I figured it would be easier to allow him to climb in my bed than try to put a screaming toddler back in his bed and wake up my parents. I too get feet in the gut, head butts, and fingers and toes all over me. In fact its not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night and hop over him to the other side of the bed since he has squirmed his way over to my side (even with a pillow between us). I guess all of this is to say – I’m so glad I’m not the only one. And you are so right when you say: This too shall pass!

  25. amy says:

    SO glad to hear that we’re not the only ones who actually lock our children in their rooms! Our doors have the old school locks where you have to push and twist the handle to lock it – we actually took the door knob out and turned it around so that we can lock the door from the outside. Our two older boys (3 and 2) sometimes like to make multiple escapes from their bedroom AFTER they’ve been tucked in. After 2 jail breaks, they get told that mama’s locking the door, which translates to “I’ve had enough, it’s 8:30, and if your little butts don’t stay in bed, I may just sit on you until you fall asleep from exhaustion of fighting me.” We do unlock it once they’ve passed out, but until it’s quiet in that room, that door stays locked.

    • Megan M says:

      i use one of those child proof door knob things that you have to squeeze to turn the door knob. my son figured out the first one so we got a super duper secure one. i crack his door open as well after he’s asleep. i didn’t have the energy or patience to keep putting him back in bed either.

  26. Ellie says:

    My oldest was 19 months when I took away her soother AKA *sucky*. She actually ATE 2/3rds or her soother. It looked like safety glass after it has been hit with a huge rock. I took it, and her into the kitchen, got some sissors and had her watch while I cut it up. Then she asked for it back. I gave it to her and she tried to suck on it a couple times and it fell onto the floor. So she threw it away. She was fine until bedtime. Oh My Goodness. The screaming. The begging. The crying. Two days of torture. The third day we braced ourselves for more of the fits. Nothing. Went to sleep in seconds. HA! We won! I was so glad I took it away!

    then our second daughter. Dear child had a cry that was worse than nails on a chalk board. When a child cries usually the natural response is to comfort the child. With this one it was run, run before it makes your brain explode! Whenever she would make those horrible sounds, we would give her her soother. It was WONDERFUL! She would stop, cheer up, and start to make PLEASENT noises. oh my. She bit her soother ONCE. That was it. I didn’t want a repeat of what happened with my eldest. It was gone. I wished for several months after I could give it back. She would scream and howl at bedtime and naptime. However, the upside to both my experiences is after I took away the soothers, both of my daughters started to talk a whole lot more!

  27. Audra says:

    Haha. I was laughing out loud and had to read this post to my husband (who is trying to sleep). Anyways, my oldest son was a binky-o-holic until the age of 2.5. He had to have one in his mouth and one in each hand. I didn’t see what the big deal was (I had grown accustomed to searching for it frantically before every nap and bed time) until our dentist pointed out my poor baby had pacifier mouth. Ugh, we dreaded weaning him off of it, especially since I had twins when he was only 23 months old and felt like the poor guy deserved a binky. We cut the tip off the binky and told him he could still have it. Every night for a week we cut the tip until it was gone. Neither of my twins would take a binky and I tried desperately to get them to! And my 4 year old still crawls into bed with us every morning around 4….if he is still doing it when he is 16 we’ll definitely put our foot down then:-)

  28. Oh my gosh, we did paci detox a few weeks and after TWO weeks of no sleep at our house, my hubby caved and gave it back. Can you imagine??? I’ve actually got a blog post draft saved documenting the gory details…and was hoping to finish and publish it when she/we finally started sleeping again. Ugh.

  29. Mikal says:

    Our daughter slept in our room for a very long time too. We also tried the blanket and pillow thing on the floor. That was a life saver, but the real cure to her coming into our room was to co-sleep with her little brother. When he was about 2, he started coming out of his room too, so we put them in bed together and they would giggle and talk in bed (sometimes fight too), but they soothed each other enough to fall asleep on their own every night. They ended up sharing a bed for about 2 years. Very sweet.

  30. Kimberly says:

    I could have written the first half of your post… my son had extreme reflux and I had an over supply of milk (making reflux worse and not able to comfort suck), the paci (we call it “po”) was the only thing that soothed him. And still does. He will be 4 in November and we hear it ALL THE TIME from everyone to wean him from it. I am now seeing that he is finally close to do doing this. We have half-attempted various times and settled on it only being a bedtime thing… and it has to stay in his bed.
    Our son ALSO sleeps with us most nights (ok all nights)… we now have him falling asleep in his own bed, but he always comes in bed with us at some point. I am totally fine with this. Happy about it in fact.
    But we recently “lost” his favorite paci and for several nights he just sort of forgot and fell asleep with out it. Then he found it… but we will have the paci fairy coming soon. But it scares the crap out of me to get rid of it completely.

  31. Moriah says:

    This is the first time I have ever read your blog and I am completely on the same page. Our 3 year old is super stubborn as well and the past three nights we have been trying to get him to sleep in his bed. Oh the agony! Thank you for the laughs you gave me on this post. I am so with you!!! Funny thing, my mom also says this is payback.

  32. susan says:

    I have twins. They will be 26 this year on December the 26th…and what I can tell you is what looms so large in your life right now-getting rid of the pacifiers, etc -will be just a blip on the horizon of your adult children’s lives. :)
    That said, I tried to get rid of their pacifiers at 2, 2 1/2, and then finally the magic number-3.
    As I tore my hair out at times with my two VERY independent twins, I had a fabby pediatrician who told me that by the time kids go to first grade, they all walk, talk, use the potty without prompting- and to his knowledge, no one had ever shown up with their pacifier to grade school 😛 Basically he told me to chillax and enjoy them while they were young.

  33. Jennifer says:

    My EXTREMELY (I feel your pain) strong willed daughter finally gave hers up at the age of 4. We had major issue potty training her, and the thought of fighting the paci battle at the same time was exhausting, so I just waited. Finally we were down to one paci and we talked about how, when she turned four, she wouldn’t have it any more. I took her to Build-A-Bear and let her choose an animal. She put the paci in it and now she has a “Paci Puppy.” She loves it, but still missed the paci. She also gave up her naps and never went back even after preschool started. I was super bummed, but now she has an earlier bedtime, and I am ok with that! This was 4 months ago, and she has stopped talking about the paci and has stopped finding things to replace it (I found her sucking on the end of a toy hammer once). I am so relieved.