It took me 6 weeks to give you a dummy.
They told me it would affect breastfeeding. They told me it would be hard to get rid of. The nurses at the Early Childhood Centre told all the new mothers that if we wished to use one, they wouldn’t advocate it. They’d been instructed not to bring up the topic.
The message was clear: dummies are bad. Lazy parenting, I remember reading on one on those online forums. But you cried and cried and wouldn’t be soothed.
My parents and in-laws took turns gently suggesting I try one. When I eventually pulled out the fresh, untouched dummy, sterilising it so carefully (laughable now), you took to it like a duck to water. You stopped crying instantly, knew exactly how to keep it in your little mouth, and fell asleep contented and relaxed. We all crowded around the bassinet admiring you, in awe of how well you sucked, how sweetly enormous the dummy looked on your tiny face.
Introducing the Lulla doll: the comforting toy that some children can’t sleep without. (Post continues after video.)
Three years later and tonight is the first night you have fallen asleep without your old friend. You did indeed become what those righteous nurses feared- a total dummy addict. You needed at least three: one in your mouth and one in each hand.
We had up to fifty in the house, scattered across rooms and throughout the car. They were an absolute necessity. Every holiday, every overnight trip, required several dummies to be packed in easy-to-reach pockets for quick retrieval. The very few times we absent-mindedly left the house without one turned into nightmarish walks home, running/pushing you in the pram while you screamed hysterically.
The dummy never, ever ceased to comfort you. Just seeing it was enough sometimes. When you were tired, it put you to sleep. When you were sad, it calmed you down.
We built up to this day. Maybe five months ago, I started to hint that when you turned three, it might be a good idea to let the dummy go. We talked about it, and you would say with that incredible clarity you have, ‘Yes, one day but I’m not ready yet’. I never pushed.