Mike's and my excitement over our Australia trip has been laced with anxiety over how to do it with a baby. Traveling internationally is intimidating enough just as an adult, but add in a six-month old, and it raises the stakes . . . by a lot.
We've been doing what we could to prepare. I tried out a number of baby carriers to find one that was comfortable for me and for Clark (I ended up going with the Ergo Baby because my friend let me borrow hers, but I also really, really loved the Boba). I refrained from sleep training Clark (haha) because who wants to take a baby on a 14-hour flight if that baby refuses to sleep anywhere but his crib? Not me. And a few weeks ago, I decided the fate of this trip might come down to whether or not Clark would take a binky.
Now let me give you a little history:
With each of my children, I have diligently tried to get them to like a binky (or pacifier, dummy, soother, or whatever you call them in your neck of the woods). Their reactions have varied from absolute disgust to grudging tolerance, but by five months old, each one was officially done with it.
Clark has followed the exact same pattern as his older brothers. He only ever liked the ugly green one they gave us in the hospital, and when we lost that in September (and the replacement didn't suit him), we just let it go entirely.
But earlier this month, as nightmares of trying to calm a fussy baby in a crowded jet filled my mind, I had the sudden inspiration, I'll just get him to like a binky! That will solve all of our problems.
And so I went to Target and bought every style of binky they had. (Mike was quick to point out that when you buy one package of binkies, it's nothing, but when you buy five . . . well, it can add up rather quickly.)
To (hopefully) save money, I only opened one package at a time. I hoped I would find the style he liked early on and be able to return the rest and recoup some of my investment.
With unwarranted optimism, I sterilized the first set and put one in Clark's mouth. I don't know what I expected but certainly not the tongue-thrusting revulsion I got. I mean, he didn't even try! Chomp--thrust! Chomp--thrust! (And a scrunched up grimace for added effect.) He gave me very clear signals, but I persisted.
Two days later, I sterilized the next style.
Three days after that, I sterilized package #3.
It was at this point that Mike (who, I have to say, was skeptical (and rather unsupportive) from the very beginning) said, "It's not going to work, Amy. You might as well give up."
And it was true. Clark was flat out rejecting every. single. one. He wasn't even attempting to suck on any of them. It didn't matter if he was happy and calm or distraught and crying. There was absolutely no way I could interpret the forceful expulsion from his mouth as a mild dislike for the style: "Sorry, Mom, if only the nipple were a little firmer or I had some air holes on the side or there was a little dinosaur on the front . . . then I would like it." No, I'm afraid there was never even a hint to encourage me.
So my plan didn't work. But I still think about it longingly every day. There are so many times when it would be so nice to just pop it in and have him suck on it contentedly.
For now, I'll just look enviously at your binky-loving baby, and in a couple of years, when you're desperately trying to wean your toddler from his binky, then it will be my turn to gloat. Just a little.