02 September 2010

The Bice

Bice is an original word invented by my boy. We always called his pacifier a 'cork,' inspired by the phrase "Put a cork in it." But when H started babbling, for whatever reason he has named his pacifier a bice. And so now, we do too.

H has a long history with his beloved bice. It all began in the hospital. As a new Mom who had read all about newborns and pacifers, I was set on waiting a couple weeks to give H a cork until he had really gotten the hang of nursing.

But as we were putting our newborn baby boy in his carseat for the first time to leave the hospital this is what we got...

... a screaming uncomfortable newborn hating this foreign restraining device. We also had two first-time parents who had never heard such an awful noise in all thirty-six hours of their parenting careers.

Must. Make. It. Stop.

Leave it to Mikey, compassionate soul that he is...

"Where is that pacifier honey?" he asked me.

"Um, it's in the baby bag, but I'd really rather wait a couple..."

No time to finish my sentence. You've never seen a male find a small object in a bag full of baby paraphernalia in all your life.

In it went. The torturous sound from our offspring ceased and I hadn't the resolve in my drug induced post-pardom recovery haze to take it back out.

And thus began the attachment...

We had corks of all colors and for all stages. From sweet cuddly little newborn,

to active floor-roller,

to crib-player,

long trip car-rider,

international traveler,

and his latest one... used while napping at home.

I was never the Mom who forced it in between his lips every waking moment. Most of the time he didn't have it in his mouth. And when H was about 12 months the bice was only permitted during sleeping times. He didn't have trouble agreeing to this and would often be the one to toss it back in his crib when we picked him up after a nap.

I'd like take a moment at this point to admit that I have loved the cork almost as much as H has. It's quieted him down during his fussy evening hours and soothed him back to sleep in the early morning. The thing is like a drug. A (harmless) drug that has bought me many hours of peace.


[music changing]

...our boy is gonna be three in a couple months and I knew the time had come to break the addiction. Actually, I know that it was WAY PAST time. But cut me a break people... the poor kid has had a lot of traveling and transition and changes in his life and I didn't want to take away his comfort in the midst of these.

So, after much googling I decided to go with the 'slowly cut down the pacifier' strategy. This seemed less traumatic than the 'just toss it in the trash' strategy and less risky than the 'ask the kid if he'd like to give his pacifier to a baby-in-need' strategy.

"Okay. I can do this." I told myself. Repeatedly. For days. Until I finally did.

First I just cut a slit in it. This released the suction inside. Some parents said that when they did this their children just happily tossed it aside and said "I don't need that anymore."

Please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please let that happen.

Uh uh. Nope.

My boy just bounced around and said "It got soft Mama, my bice got soft!"

Well, shoot. Gonna have to do step two.

"Okay. I can do this." I told myself again. Repeatedly. For days. Until I finally did.

I cut the tip off.

Then I held my breath.

His reaction started out kind of curious...

"Wha happened? I gink I need a new one. It's broken. I need a bibbant (different) one. I need a ga-ween one, that would be good. Ders a whole in it... I don't need dis one, I need a biiig one"

Then it went up a notch... or ten-thousand hundred million notches when he realized we weren't going to give him a replacement...

"I need a new bice Mama!!!" SOBBING. More sobbing. Hysterical-can't-breath-because-he's-sobbing-so-hard sobbing.

"I don't want to go to bed! I want my old one!!!"

Me? I'm hiding around the corner. I am also sobbing.

Then the worst of all as we pull the door closed for the night...

"Don't weave me in here Mama!!!"

Oh. My. Goodness. I can't take it. Now I am sobbing and looking over my shoulder for someone to come hand me a trophy inscribed with 'Worst Mother Ever in the History of the World.

Please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please don't let this be his first memory.


He did eventually fall asleep that night. But he sobbed long enough for me to almost break down and give it back to him about a dozen times. But I didn't. It was also long enough for me to experience the most awful feeling that I had just done the most horrible thing to my son EVER by taking away his comfort. I mean, that thing has been his lovey every single night for his entire life. How would I feel if I were in that situation?

I would feel so deeply sad. Seriously. It's an awful, awful feeling to lose a thing you love. "He's gonna hate me forever! He's gonna be scarred for life!" I thought as my boy continued to sob.

It. Was. Terrible.

The next night he asked for it once and I also saw him tenderly touch one of his baby sister's corks. He didn't put it in his mouth though (how about that for self-control? Maybe I am doing something right.) But he also asked for me to "Wock me and ging to me Mama" as he lay down for his nap. And there has been more crying in the few days since then. He's also been waking up much earlier in the morning and taking shorter naps... which is such a bummer.

Sometimes I still think I should have just let him keep it until he was ready to give it up. The kid doesn't have a normal life and I feel awful for taking away his coping mechanism. I mean, we all have coping mechanisms, don't we?

But the truth is, I probably should have just done this long ago when he was too young to notice much or care much. Or at least too young to express how broken his little heart is so that my heart would have been less tortured during the whole process.

Lastly, lemme tell ya, I'm already thinking differently about my baby girl and her cork. I would not, could not inflict that pain on a child again. I've learned my lesson.

R.I.P. Bice

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