It’s been a long time since I looked at Toddler L and viewed her as a baby. For me, I began to see her as an actual Toddler when she started walking around this time last year. I have no issue with people who want to babify their child or say things like “I don’t want my baby to grow up”, but that’s not me. Personally, I couldn’t wait for Toddler L to leave the baby days behind her.
I think the missus and I have always treated her beyond her years. It’s not like we shipped her out to work on her second birthday or are making her pay rent, but we’ve been quite quick to eliminate baby-related things. For example, her dummy was gone after a few months, bottles were replaced with proper cups well before she hit her first birthday, we’ve encouraged her to use cutlery from an early age and we’ve always spoken to her like a child, not a baby.
I’m not saying this is the right approach. I’m just saying it’s worked for us. And, most importantly, for her. She may be a shrimp compared to her peers, but what she lacks in stature, she more than makes up for in other areas like intellect, vocabulary and motor skills. She’s a bright cookie, but then again, I’m going to say that as a doting dad.
The one ‘baby thing’ that’s continued though is her use of a comforter. You know, those scabby bits of cloth which they suck on when they sleep. Those disgusting bits of rag which end up yellow, rigid and stale. Those glorified flannels that cost twenty times the price of a bog standard one because they feature a cut off animals head. Yep, those.
We’ve always been strict with her use of the things she calls a “cumpta”. She’s only ever had a comforter when she’s gone to sleep – naps, long car journeys and nighttime. But, it’s been something she’s come to rely on as a sleep aid. Usually, if she woke in the night, all she’d need was a quick swig of water and her wet, soggy comforter put back in her mouth.
We knew the day would come when we’d have to ditch it. I’m pretty sure she’d get some strange looks if she still slept with it in her mouth when she was a middle-aged woman. It just came a bit sooner and more abruptly than what we expected.
The other day, we went to the dentist for our bi-yearly checkup. On having her teeth examined, the dentist said that they were absolutely fine, but asked if she used anything like a dummy or comforter. When we said she has the latter, the dentist strongly suggested that we should think about getting rid. The reason being that Toddler L has a slight gap in her teeth which will only be exaggerated over time by repeated comforter sucking.
Sure, someone like Georgia May Jagger has used her gap-toothed smile as a differentiator in the modelling world. But, if a dentist suggests it’s time for us to make a change, then it’s time to make a change. Toddler L hadn’t realised it, but she’d already had her last snooze with her comforter. From the point we left the dentist, the “cumpta” was no more.
When we got home, we collected them all up. We then explained that she’s now a big girl, that she didn’t need them anymore and that they’d go to other babies who needed them more than she did. We also let her pick which one of her teddy bears she wanted to cuddle in bed. I think she got it. There were no tears. There were no tantrums.
But, it has impacted her sleep. A week and a half in, she no longer asks for her comforter, but the first few days saw a more disturbed sleep pattern. So much so that she even missed her daytime nap which never happens.
The first attempt at getting Toddler L to sleep without her comforter has resulted in her missing her nap and defiant shouts of “not tired”.
— The DADventurer (@The_dadventurer) November 11, 2016
Since then, it’s been a bit hit and miss as to whether she’ll go to sleep when asked and stay in bed for the normal length of time. It’s not been the worst thing in the world, but it has been a bit annoying when she was sleeping well before that. Part of me has wondered whether to just surrender and give them back to her. But, I realise that this would give mixed messages and help no-one in the long run.
I just hope that it doesn’t result in her dropping the afternoon nap. After dining out on two daily naps for two years, it’d teach me a lesson if she ditched both in the space of a few months. I can’t even think about that possibility…!
So, that’s been our experience with ditching the comforters. On the whole, not too bad, but slightly more disrupted than we’d hoped. Did your kid have a comforter? How did you wean them off it? Did you have any issues? Let me know below!