Friday, November 1, 2013

Obibah and the Binky Fairy

Though with everything else that's been going on lately I haven't had much chance to mention it, Abby's been sleeping without a pacifier for almost a week, now. The transition has been so miraculously easy, and just in the nick of time (I absolutely wanted her broken of the habit by three years old), that I'm still in disbelief over it.

As I mentioned last Thursday, the first time it happened was quite accidental. The following Friday, I intended to ride forward on the momentum of our success, but the binky was offered out of habit at nap time, and again at bedtime that day. I began to think that maybe the opportunity had passed us by and that we'd have to come at the problem with a definite plan in a week or so more. However, Tom and I were finally on the same page by Saturday, and together we proposed to her, in a very official way, that she do a "big girl" thing and try to nap without the binky that day.

I don't remember now how it went that afternoon. It's highly likely that she didn't nap at all as that's become the new norm since we changed things up (and was starting to become a regular occurrence anyway). It's not too big a deal for now, since she's in the room by herself and stays pretty quiet for the couple of hours usually reserved for sleeping. It will be an issue when we move Michael into her room, but that's a problem for another day.

I do remember, however, that we gave her the same choice at bedtime, and that she elected to go without the binky. I remember that it took her awhile to fall asleep, but fall asleep she did. However, it seems that in exchange for a pacifier she's found the need to latch onto something else.

This is Obibah.

She's a pretty cloth doll that my parents picked up for Abby in Williamsburg a little over a year ago. Abby gave her a rather unique name perhaps eight months back, but played with her as sporadically as she does just about every other one of her toys. That is, until very recently. As Tom tucked her in for her first official night without a pacifier, Abby requested Obibah by name. The doll must have brought Abby great comfort, because I noticed that, throughout the course of the next day, wherever Abby went, Obibah went, too.

Upstairs to lunch. Bedroom to nap. Into Michael's room with her when they both woke.

Especially since she lay forgotten in Michael's room for the rest of that day, I did not- at first- recognize the strength of the new bond. I did realize that Obibah was very special suddenly, however, which gave me a wonderful idea.

You see, I'd heard from a friend once about how she'd used the idea of the Binky Fairy to help her son end his reliance on a pacifier. One night, the Binky Fairy came, collected all of his binkies, and left him a gift. I'd toyed with trying it myself but was afraid that Abby wouldn't go for it, and then things just happened naturally. However, I was so excited by our success, that- quite without thinking- I introduced the idea to Abby after-the-fact as a celebratory measure.

After congratulating her on her success, I told Abby, "Now the Binky Fairy can come and collect all of your binkies, and she will bring you a present." When I saw Abby's eyes light up, I knew I had to come up with something special. I spent the early part of the day racking my brain for what I could find around the house, since I knew I would have no time to go out that day.

After watching Abby take Obibah with her to nap that Sunday, I knew the answer. Obibah had an extra little period dress that my parents had purchased (or perhaps she came with it), when they first got the doll. I set it aside at the time because Abby didn't know how to dress or undress anything yet, and so she never saw or knew about it. The next problem was locating it, which- by the grace of God- we did.

Then came Sunday night. Michael goes to bed first, and it wasn't until he had done so that Tom and I remembered that we would likely need to procure Obibah. Perhaps ten minutes into our searching, we realized that there was only one place that she could be, and it was no longer easily accessible. Underestimating the strength of the new bond, however, we thought that we could get Abby settled with Madeline, instead. After all, Madeline was so excited that Abby would be dressing like her for Halloween! It worked, but only for ten minutes. After that point, Abby began to wail; such a sad, mournful sound that I could not bear it. I went up to her room and explained that I couldn't get to Obibah, but look! Here were Teddy, and Madeline, and they would keep her safe.

I got another ten minutes, but that was all.

Tom was out for a late-night grocery run, so I found myself alone, having to decide: risk waking Michael, attempt offering a binky (which might not work anyway), or prolong Abby's suffering (which likely would not work, ultimately)? I loathed the idea of waking Michael, but figured he would recover pretty well if it happened. I definitely didn't want to undo the work we'd put in towards accomplishing binky-independence and force a cancellation of the Binky Fairy's visit. But most immediately, I couldn't stand that Abby was so sad.

The choice was made. I carefully opened Michael's door and crawled around the floor of his room, army-style, with my phone's glowing screen out in front of me as a flashlight. I found the doll in less than a minute, and was out in half that time. Michael never even stirred. Giddy, I ran across to Abby's door and triumphantly presented her with the doll, impressing upon her as best I could the importance of knowing where Obibah was at all times from now on. I left behind me a happy, quiet little big girl, still binky-free.

When Tom got home, he slipped into Abby's now-silent, dark, bedroom and placed the new dress for Obibah under her pillow.

In the morning, Abby found her gift.

(I have no idea why it came out sideways. Bummer.)

Now, if only the Potty Fairy could be half so motivating...