I have a confession to make.
Child Number Three, aged three, still totes a pacifier.
And by "totes", I mean, she walks around with a pacifier in her mouth almost All. The. Time.
Okay, one in her mouth, and one in one hand. The one in her hand, she uses to rub just under her nose in moments of extreme emotional stress: for instance, while we're driving through the noisiest part of the carwash, for example. You know, the point where the gigantic washcloths envelop the car like enormous octopus arms? That part.
If I'm being absolutely truthful, she has a few more pacifiers on her person at all times as well. The other thirteen (YES, THIRTEEN) can be found in the little purple purse with the pink flower on it that she carries around all day, every day, every single stinkin' place we go. Whenever we're about to go out the door, one of the girls will ask the littlest sister, "Gotcher PURSE?!" and the littlest among them will nod furiously, and then we will all know that it is Safe To Proceed... because God Forbid we leave The Purse and its contents behind.
That has only happened once in Child Number Three's three-year history. And it proved to be an experience that none of us cares to repeat. Because The Purse was left behind at Grandma's house one fateful night, and THAT, people, was a two-and-a-half hour car ride straight from the Hobbes of Hell.
Of course, the discovery that The Purse, and all the thirteen pacifiers within, had been left on the bench in my mother's entrance hallway was not actually made until we were at least three-quarters of an hour into the journey home. By then, we were on a major, MAJOR highway, and there was basically no turning back. That, and the fact that Daddy was driving, pretty much sealed poor Child Number Three's wee little fate... She would be Purse-less until Grandma could make a priority post in the mail the next morning.
By the time we made it into our own driveway, the nerves of all four of the other passengers in the Loser Cruiser were frayed right down to their exquisitely sensitive nubs. The pacifier-deprivation fallout had been so catastrophic, that the Goddess dumped her family members in the driveway with strict instructions to begin the bathing of children without her, and set off immediately for the nearest 24-hour drugstore. The lineups at the casheirs were HUGE that night... and I could only just IMAGINE what my husband was enduring in my absence, so I made for the tiny, empty check-out in the swanky make-up department...
I must have been looking so harrangued and frazzled, that to this day I am amazed that the woman behind the counter didn't immediately offer me a free make-over on the spot. Maybe I just looked Beyond All Help. But, mercifully, she listened to my story, and immediately agreed to my request to check through the eight packages of NUK pacifiers I was purchasing (double-packs, of course), even though her register was for "vanity products only". SANITY products apparently qualified. That, and the fact that she had a two year old waiting for HER at home, too. She was CLEARLY frightened by the scenario I vividly described for her.
We don't leave The Purse behind anymore.
But, Child Number Three is now three years old, and I'm thinking that this pacifier addiction might be pushing the envelope JUST a little... Don't get me wrong, though. As you may have gathered from previous postings, I am NOT a mother who pushes her children to grow up. Hell, Child Number Three is resisting potty training with every ounce of her tiny little being, too, and to be honest, I'm really not that bent out of shape about it. We offer OPPORTUNITIES for her to use the potty, but if she doesn't... well, then, that's all the more chocolate kisses for ME (and I've got the extra five pounds to prove it). Like I said, if she's still in diapers when she's going off to university, well then, I'll have to up the bribe to a red mustang convertable.
But this pacifier thing... It's a bit EXTREME. There are an awful lot of them. And let's face it, it's not that great for her teeth... She talks with that thing in her mouth, too, and never loses her grip on it, amazingly. How much longer before she starts looking like a diminutive, curly-haired version of Bugs Bunny, for crying out loud?!
This year, I have to admit, we had a bit of a breakthrough on the pacifier front. She grudgingly agreed to put them ALL in her Purse, and then leave The Purse on her cloakroom hook while she was at junior nursery two mornings a week. THAT was HUGE, let me tell you. But, the split second those doors closed on us at the end of every school session, she whipped out that Purse and popped one of those suckers right back into her mouth.
Summer is here, and school is over, and there has been an AWWWWFUL lot of Purse-action around here, lately. This morning, I suggested that the pacifiers should perhaps start spending the day in her room, waiting for her to come back at bedtime. The plan is that she would put all the pacifiers into The Purse in the morning, and maybe tuck it under her pillow for safe keeping...
Well, I've been over-ruled, apparently.
Because the idea of banning pacifiers in the daytime did NOT go over well with the big sisters:
Child Number One: (HORRIFIED) You want her to WHAAAATTTT??!!
Child Number Two: (panic stricken) NO!! No, Mum!! You can't do THAT!! You can't take away THE PLUG!!!
In Unison: AAAUUUUGGGHHHHH!!!!!
It was enough to make me wish that I had two LARGER plugs to use on the two of THEM.
When Child Number Two was a baby, she, too, was a pacifier junkie. Or, rather WE became pacifier junkies, because it became quickly apparent that sticking a soother in her mouth was the most effective way to quiet her while she was impatiently waiting to be fed. Child Number Two arrived with two "settings": asleep, or wide-awake and SCREAMING FOR FOOD. There was no in-between for a looong time... until we discovered the pacifier, that is.
Child Number One originally came up with the term, "The Plug", because when you put it in the baby's mouth, the screaming noise stopped, but if you pulled it out... Well, all hell broke loose, quite frankly.
As it stands tonight, NONE of the girlies are on side with the new Purse Strategy... which means, I guess I'm no further ahead than when I began thinking about floating this lead balloon.
The whole thing brings to mind old Margaret Thatcher... It was because of HER and the formidable accessory that she famously toted around, that the word "handbag" became a verb. "To handbag" now means to bully, or to strong-arm another person or persons. Old Maggie apparently used to pull important documents out of her bag that would back up points in the arguments she was having with other people, thus trumping them and nailing her adversaries' arses to the wall. It is said that she would leave her handbag placed on the table in front of her as a Symbol of Power... the ultimate intimidation technique.
Well, apparently, tonight I've been Handbagged by my children. Or "Pursed", as the case seems to be.
Margaret Thatcher would be extremely proud of her little proteges, I have no doubt about it.