My big boy is growing up.
Since he was about 4 weeks old, the little guy has been quite addicted to his soother. I must admit, there were times when Luc and I depended on the darn thing just as much as he did. With the third birthday come and gone, we all had to face the terrible truth: it was time to say goodbye to the soother.
I had been preparing Tristan for this inevitable end of an era for months. He knew that when he was three, he would be a big boy and wouldn’t need his soother anymore. There were vague references to the soother fairy and little babies needing soothers that big boys had grown out of. A friend of mine also told me of the soothers at their house “popping” (adults read: being cut) because the user had simply grown too big. A soother just can’t sustain that sort of big boy sucking.
Sure enough, once he turned three, soothers mysteriously began popping around our house. The first time one popped, Tristan picked up said soother and inserted it into his mouth, all the while I sat there with bated breath, waiting for an emotional reaction.
Nothing. No reaction whatsoever. I was floored.
We continued on with bedtime routine, snuggling in for a story. Suddenly, about five minutes into the book, Tristan pulled the soother out, stared at it with gaping mouth and said, “Mommy! It popped!”
I looked down intently, shock and concern plastered onto my face. (Seriously, it was most definitely an Oscar performance!)
“Wow, Buddy,” I replied. “I guess you are getting too big for soothers! You popped it!”
He literally tossed the defective pacifier aside and quickly found another one on his floor.
“You’ll have to be careful,” I warned him. “That one might pop too.”
Not wanting to scar the child, a few days passed before another popping incident occurred. Systematically, one by one, each soother met it’s demise. Each one was discarded over the side of the bed and an intact one was popped in his mouth secconds later. Having a finite number of soothers in his room, this charade could only last so long.
I am happy to say that the last soother popped without much incident. A couple of tears on the second night with an emphatic “But Mommy, I don’t want to be big!” (I know, heartbreaking right?!) and that was the last of it.
So proud of my big big boy, I did have a silver lining in store for him. We gathered up all of those old, destroyed soothers and tossed them into a shoe box for collection by the Soother Fairy. You know the one -she collects soothers from all the kids who’ve grown too big to use them anymore and she takes them to all the new little babies. We placed that shoebox on our front step before bed, and went to sleep in anticipation of what she might leave us in return for our generous donation.
An excited little boy awoke the next morning to a shoe box overflowing with dinosaur stickers and other paraphanalia. However did she know what items would make him so happy? Ahhh, that soother fairy. She’s one smart lady.
And the milestones keep coming. Tristan was reasonably consistent with peeing on the potty, but I needed something to take him to that next level. Something to propel him to the washroom even if he was in the middle of lining up all 100 of his dinosaurs in a neat row, or “camping” in the blanket fort. Enter the supercool sticker chart and the amazing dinosaur stickers kept in the bathroom that can *only* be accessed by peeing in the potty. The kid is so over the moon to put two ( I said one; the savvy little negotiator upped the ante) stickers on that piece of paper, he’s in there peeing all the time. And he totally “halves” his pees…. like he’ll go but not completely empty his bladder so that as soon as he finishes sticking his TWO stickers up, he climbs back on top of that little Diego seat, effectively dribbles again, and earns two more stickers. The kid knows how to play the game!
Going number two, well that one’s been eluding us. He was saving everything up for nap time so that he could do his business in the comfort of a diaper. Being sooooo over changing a preschooler’s diaper, I knew I had to find the most amazing motivator if I was going to get this done quickly. Having no idea what I was looking for, but trusting that I would know it when I saw it, I headed off to Scholar’s Choice with a mission to find the ultimate reward. Stickers just wouldn’t be good enough. And I found it. There it was, sitting all neatly packaged in cellophane at the back of the store: a dinosaur bulletin board kit. Twelve large cardboard dinosaurs, waiting to be punched out and hung to his wall. I paid for my purchase and drove excitedly home to showcase the bribe, er, I mean reward. Tristan was beside himself with excitement. Where he saw the coolest 12 “big dinosaur stickers” ever, I saw 12 poops on the potty.
And did they work?
Hell ya! Like a charm.
Daily for a week now, Tristan has been independently making his way to the potty, doing his business, flushing the toilet, and choosing his reward. The whole nine yards. And I couldn’t be more proud.