We knew the time was coming.
It had to arrive sooner or later.
We just weren't sure how it would all pan out.
Lady M and her beloved soother have officially parted ways.
So long, old friend!
Here's how it all happened: From a young age, Lady M has had a tight-knit relationship with her dear little soothers. She hadn't slept without one since she was about 6 months old, so I found myself considering various ways to get her out of the habit of having it, as I felt she was getting just a little bit old to rely on its comfort.
There are plenty of methods out there for helping kids say goodbye: passing the soothers along to a new sibling when they are born, leaving them for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve, or cutting it out cold turkey. No matter how you slice it, taking something precious away from your sweet little child is never easy. However, with her third birthday looming, I felt the time had come.
We decided not to take it away from her when Lady A was born; I had this terrible feeling that passing her soothers along to her sister would just breed some sort of resentment, and I just didn't want their sisterly relationship to begin in such a way. (I know, dramatic, right?!) I thought Christmas was a little too far away, and the thought of cutting it out cold turkey seemed a little harsh. (Secret's out, I'm a bit of a pushover!)
So, for a couple months leading up to her third birthday we began to prep her for the parting. "Three year olds don't need soothers" we told her, "you're going to be a big girl!" She would repeat the same thing back, surely not realizing that she was actually going to be rid of her sleepytime pal once and for all in a short time.
However, she had preschool the morning of her third birthday, and when I went to pick her up one of her teachers asked me, "is Lady M losing her soother today"? I answered "yes" (feeling a little sad for her before she had even tried sleeping without it), but I guess my little girl was prepared because she had told her teachers that she wouldn't have her soother anymore, because she was three.
We got home, had lunch, and it was time for her nap...the time had come. Deep breath. I put her to bed without her trusty companion with only a small fuss. (I was amazed). She fell asleep relatively easily, but woke up a short time later extremely grouchy and clearly still very tired. So, I decided we had made a big stride by her going to sleep without it, so I let her have it to finish her nap. (It was her birthday, after all!)
That night, same thing...only a mild fuss before she fell asleep without her soother. However, waking up about halfway through the night sobbing, we chose to give it to her for the remainder of the night. For the next day's nap and overnight sleep, we placed the soother beside her in bed after she was asleep so if she woke up at some point, she would find it, and comfort. I guess it worked, because she slept through without issue. (Yay Lady M!)
Then on day three....the breakthrough! No soother through her whole nap, and no soother all night! She asked for it before bed, often told us she 'didn't want to be a big girl', and for a couple of days, she would come crawl into our bed in the middle of the night, but that was ok. It was a pretty big transition after all. And just a few short days later, she was soother-free and sleeping through the night.
After all is said and done, Lady M may have some negative memories of her third birthday, but I suspect all the presents, balloons, cupcakes and the farm party will alleviate some of the pain we caused her when she reminisces about her third birthday in the future!