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4 year old with bizarre multilpe dummy dependancy..how to proceed?!

(22 Posts)
waitingforfanjo Thu 27-Aug-09 12:27:56

Let me just say I know i should have got rid of the dummies before now but I was too much of a wus and am now severely regretting it.

To explain, my DS will be four next month. He adores his dummies but it's not just straighforward dummy-sucking, he has about 6 and goes through a little routine; he sucks one whilst fiddling with another two (one in each hand) then rotates through them all. The 'fiddling' is part of the comfort as much as the sucking.
He only has them at home and mainly when tired/ill/for bed but my dentist has told me they have to go.

We suggested at Easter than the Easter Bunny could take them for the tiny babies who need them, but this resulted in DS have complete meltown. He was actually shaking at the mere idea. This quite shocked me so I haven't done anything further but I want them to go.

I'm rambling now, so: Is it best to just bite the bullet & take them all away (thus depriving him of fiddling comfort as well as sucking comfort?)

Or do you think sticking pins in them to make a hole so that the 'suck' doesn't work but he can still fiddle might be better? Or would that just remind him that he can't suck them & so actually be worse?

Or third option, don't put holes in them,
confiscate during day, but allow them for bed only?

I guess I was so shocked by the shaking & how anxious he got at the idea of not having them that I am actually quite frightened of taking them away.

bubblagirl Thu 27-Aug-09 12:52:09

my ds has just turned 4.3 and we have just sent dummies off with a dummy fairy who left large bundle of books for him

we had them for night time only so hsi dependency lessoned then we gradually losta few and was left with less and then again less once he got used to having them at night if they fell out we moved them so he couldnt put them back in

then all of a sudden his barney bear became his friend and we were going on holiday so we said that as he was a big boy now the dummy fairy was going to take them to all the babies who had none he helped bag them up he put them outside the door i amde him hide and pretended we could hear the dummy fairy saying thank you and what a big boy etc ran to the door and found huge bundle of books

his hands went to his face big smile oh thank you dummy fairy was so sweet been just over a week and he hasnt once asked for a dummy

i refused to let him have them of a day time they went in a pot until bed so lesson his dependency then start losing a few when you think his ready then get him to choose exciting big boy toy and do your switch

CMOTdibbler Thu 27-Aug-09 12:59:16

I'd go for confiscating during the day (no exceptions) and make them in bed only. And not buy anymore, then lose one every few weeks once he has accepted bed only.

'The Last Noo Noo' is a lovely book about Marlon whose mum and gran want him to get rid of his dummies

leisurely Thu 27-Aug-09 13:08:14

Do do fairy came to our girl too. She took around 12 to bed (I am not exagerating) so if she lost one she could always find another. I told her that the fairy had phoned me to ask if she'd give up hers to baby fairies. She readily agreed and I asked her what she wanted from DF. Books and a pink dog were requested and I managed to track them down. On the day of the deed, we'd only put her to bed with three to make life easier. Crept into her room at about 5am, got all the things and put presents next to her. We went back to bed and she came in about an hour later screaming with excitement about the lovely fairy etc. As the day progressed she got more and more cross and started to look for them. I found her in her bedrooom shouting under the bed about the rotton fairy etc. She was around 3 I think and behaved like someone going cold turkey off cigs. She would pick all sorts up and put it in her mouth for about a week. A month or so later she came out of her bedroom with two. Being the slattern that i am, I hadn't checked everywhere properly. I was fully expecting her to put them in her mouth, but as they were covered in dust she just put them in the bin.

Cakesandale Thu 27-Aug-09 13:10:16

DD was very similar. We found telling her what to expect helped a lot. She was a bit littler and our process was longer, but basically, we told her that when she was 3 she would only have dummies at night as she would be a big girl. This went (VERY unsurprisingly) without a hitch. On the morning of her birthday she handed it to me unprompted.

We then let her have it at night only, until she was 4. We told her that when she was 4 they would go altogether.

This went less well. ON the morning of her 4th birthday she gave it up with a struggle and spent 10 minutes crying by herself in the bathroom.

Then all went well until about 2 days later, she was feeling a bit ill and asked for it "just for 10 minutes". She absolutely begged, distraught and I nearly gave in - but she gave up first and never asked for it again.

She was every bit as devoted to them as your son sounds. But for us the key was to prewarn and get her used to the idea, and then stand firm. And make it a positive process - ie you are getting to be so big now.

The tears can be very very heartfelt and hard to bear, but they ar eusually pretty shortlived. Pick a strategy and stick to it. if you give up it will be worse the next time you try.

You have my sympathy, it is horrible. But go for it.

Good luck

xx

bubblagirl Thu 27-Aug-09 13:15:30

you could do a calendar too to show when dummy fairy will come and count down the days i did do a lot of pre warning for ds told him when he was 4 they would go then it didnt quite work but his still 4 so didnt lie then we said when he started school his not allowed them any more but i wanted it done before school so he was having restful nights without them didnt want any more pressure than school itself but he hasnt once asked or cried for them didnt sleep well for 2 nights but didnt ask for them

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

waitingforfanjo Fri 28-Aug-09 00:02:53

Thanks for the helpful replies smile

Looks like it's best not to bother with pin-holes then, and just restrict to night-time use only. He's in state nursery every morning & will be going back there on 7th sept & he loves it, so no problems with school changes coming up. Plus he goes straight to childminder from school 3 days, so when I come to think about it, he doesn't have the dummies for very long some days.

Perhaps I will start warning him now that when he's 4 (end of sept) dummies will only be for night-time. Gives him chance to settle back into routine (and me to brace myself).

Lol at leisurely, my son had 20 at one point & if one went missing he still noticed. He also has a blanket and teddy which he drags everywhere with him so thank God the dummies stay at home!

colditz Fri 28-Aug-09 00:13:47

It's cruel to take comfort objects away from distressed children. It says to them "I don't care how sad you are, taking this thing away from you is important to me because of what other people think. I don't care what you think."

waitingforfanjo Fri 28-Aug-09 00:36:01

But what about the fact my dentist has said it's affecting his teeth, colditz? For me it's not about what other people think, it's because of his teeth. Hence the reluctance to upset him by taking them away.

If it weren't for that I wouldn't care if he had his dummies till he was a grown man (actually that would be embarrassing hmm, but last year at a check-up the dentist asked me straightaway if he sucked something (thumb, blanket, dummy) because he could see how his teeth had formed to accommodate the dummy.
Now he can't pronounce 'T' and 'S' very well because his top and bottom teeth don't meet when he tries to say them.
And dentist said that if dummy use carries on part age 5/6, it can permanently affect the jaw development as well. Maybe he was scare-mongering, but it worked on me.

waitingforfanjo Fri 28-Aug-09 00:37:09

past age 5/6, I meant

colditz Fri 28-Aug-09 00:39:09

So give it at night. ds1's dentist said that as long as they aren't still using them when the permanent teeth come in, their teeth will be fine.

And ds1's are.

I couldn't do it.I couldn't take a beloved thing away from a distressed child.

It was bad enough with the business of my little brother and the mackerel head.

colditz Fri 28-Aug-09 00:40:56

DS1 stoppedusing his when his first big tooth pooped through. I told him it would ruin the beautiful big tooth he was so proud of, and he quit the dummy. Happily, because it was his choice.

It's hard when they are four, because they are still dependent on the comfort and less able to understand the rationalisation.

I do feel for you, it's a dilemma.

toomuchmonthatendofthemoney Fri 28-Aug-09 00:46:40

ok colditz you got me hooked, story of mackerel head please!

colditz Fri 28-Aug-09 00:50:23

My brother, aged (yes) about 4.

My dad took me fishing, and we caught mackerel. DB came over to watch us fillet and clean it, and my dad held a head up, and made it's mouth move "Hello DB! How are you"

DB now thrilled to boots with new friend, and certainly won't allow his new friend to be used as fish bait or thrown away. Dad says yes, he can keep the head until bedtime.

Unfortunately he then forgot, and mum doesn't know about it, and bearing in mind we are in a tiny caravan full of fishing equipment, it's a while before anyone notices the smell. but DB still won't let anyone throw his friend, which his has barbecue wrapped in tinfoil and snuggled under his pillow, away.

So a compromise is reached. Fishhead can live in a plastic bucket under the caravan, as long as he doesn't come inside.

To prevent my brother taking it home, my dad had to cob it over a hedge while he wasn't looking.

waitingforfanjo Fri 28-Aug-09 00:55:34

Yes, that's the thing, I can't bear to take away something he loves so much.(Hence failed attempt before). But dentist made me feel I have to. Thanks for that colditz, I would be much happier knowing it would be ok to let him have it at night till he's more ready. Dentist really did lay it on & I felt terrible. I know all kids grow out of them eventually, but was scared if I don't stop them now it would leave permanent damage.

And yes, mackerel head story pleae!

waitingforfanjo Fri 28-Aug-09 00:56:05

oh, cross-posted with you colditz

waitingforfanjo Fri 28-Aug-09 01:01:52

Hilarious! I bet your brother is so pleased when that gets dragged up at family gatherings for everyones entertainment. 'Oh, John/insert name/, do you remember that mackerel head you were so attached to? what a funny little boy you were...'

grin grin

hellish Fri 28-Aug-09 03:49:45

Dd1 swapped her beloved dummies (two at a time, one for sucking, one for stroking her cheek) for a barbie scooter aged 4.
She has never gone to sleep as contentedly since - she's nearly 10.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION

mum2becks Fri 28-Aug-09 07:21:38

I have just done the dummy fairy with dd prepared her well in advance kept telling her when she is 3 she doesn't need dummies any more but the dummy fairy will swap them for a prize for being such a big girl!
She too had to have multiple dummies one for sucking at at least one in each hand to go to sleep so thought it would be harder than it was, dd willingly put all dummies together and was allowed one to suck that night but said that would also have gone by morning, she was so excited to have got a prize and she did ask for her dummy once or twice but accepted that they had gone a lot easier than I thought she would!
This was only in June and she still has a bit more trouble actually falling asleep but once she has she sleeps all night no problem

girlsyearapart Fri 28-Aug-09 07:34:00

Have a friend who cut the ends off all her dds dummies aged nearly 3. Fairies and all of that didn't work. She soon decided that they were a bit rubbish and gave them up!

Other idea I heard is to tie them to helium balloons and let them float up in the air.

We have recently rationed dd1s (stinking horrible green-brown in corners) comfort blanket to bedtime only and it took about a week now she accepts it and doesn't ask. Don't know what it'd be like to take it away at night though..

If I were you I'd take it away in the day then start gradually taking them away at night. The dentist must surely know his stuff about teeth??

zipzap Fri 28-Aug-09 23:37:14

We had same problem with ds1, although he didn't have a routine with all his dummies, just used one at a time.

We lost (deliberately and accidentally) dummies until there was just one left. We'd been talking about the dummy fairy taking it away and what was going to be brought in return, so he was quite looking forward to a present but not so much as to hand over the dummy there and then.

We'd also made sure that he did't have them at nursery (he would give them a kiss/suck goodbye!) and managed to eek it out so they were bedtime only.

One evening he had the last one in his mouth and had gone to the toilet. We had been really strict about no dummy when going to the loo but this particular time I was really tired and didn't notice... he was also trying to do stand up pee-ing as some of the other boys at nursery were doing it and he wanted to too.

Without thinking he started talking, the dummy fell out (he could usually talk with it in so I guess he might have been tired too) and straight down the loo grin.

Cue lots of shock horror from ds1 wanting it back, lots of shock horror glee from dh and me saying no way is it going in your mouth now it has been down the toilet eeeuuuggh.

Which he kind of agreed with, so lots of tears, cuddles, telling he was a big brave boy, discussion of what we were going to go out and find for the dummy fairy to bring as it had gone and extra special bedtime that night, extra story etc.

And amazingly he seemed to cope fine - think it could have been because he was sort of resposible for it going IYSWIM! he managed to rationalise it and get a present out of it (mind you, when asked what he wanted, he initially wanted 'a whole house just like this one mummy that I can fill with toys to play with and that I can do lots of mopping in...'!!! cue next talk about reasonable expectations grin).

So if he ever does go for a pee standing up and have his dummy in, make him talk and laugh and hopefully it will pop out and be flushed to oblivion grin

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