May 15, 2007
Due to some recent events, the dreaded day has arrived--it's time to get rid of the minget. At this point, you're probably wondering what a minget is. Jared and I generally refer to it as a paci, a pacifier, or a binky. James, on the other hand, refers to the ingenious little contraption as his minky or his banky, but mostly his minget.
I'm afraid that I've come to love and rely on the minget just as much as James does. It instantaneously stops screaming, crying, and puts my son to sleep faster than an elephant tranquilizer. I even tried to thank the minget (along with Elmo and Barney) on the acknowledgements page of my thesis. Unfortunately my advisor wouldn't allow me such freedom--and he later learned that I was 100% serious when I told him that he was much less helpful than the minget, so if I couldn't thank it, then I couldn't thank him either. Consequently, there is no acknowledgements page in my thesis.
I know what you're wondering. Why on earth would I force James to abandon such an integral and meaningful piece of his little life? Two reasons:
First, I was at the park a few weeks ago when a 8 year old know-it-all-little-neighbor-girl gave me too much information about the dental problems that can occur as a result of pacifier use. It wasn't the idea of hefty dental bills that caused me to reconsider James' binky use. Quite simply, that little girl is unbelievably annoying and I'd like to avoid as much neighborly interaction with her as possible. The lack of a paci leaves her with a lack of ammunition. Ha.
That same day, a different little girl came up to me to ask a few concerned questions about the plug in my kid's mouth. She, on the other hand, was heart-meltingly cute. She kindly asked me, "what's in his mouth?" as her little 5 year old finger pointed at the pacifier. I replied, "That's his binky. He never likes to take it out." Suddenly her face dropped and a look of terror consumed that little angel. Next thing I knew, she was grasping onto my leg and pleading with me in a desperate, screaming sort of way. She was all:
"YOU HAVE TO TAKE THAT OUT OF HIS MOUTH!!!!!!!!!! How will he ever EAT? And how will he ever TALK? PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE TAKE IT OUT!!!!!"
The little girl's mother ran over, peeled her from my leg, and apologized for the drama. As we walked hom that day, I decided it was time to cut back on the binky, at least in public. So we have.
Starting last Sunday, James is only allowed to use his minget at nap time and bed time. He's doing surprisingly well with the transition. He's more confused than he is grumpy or upset. For example, every time he wants to eat or talk, he reaches up to his mouth and seems to remove some sort of ghost binky and lovingly places it on the nearest table. He always puts "it" back into his mouth when he's finished with whatever he was doing.
And when he requests his minget, I use one of the following techniques:
- I give him a big hug.
- We sing a happy song.
- We do a happy dance.
- I sit him in front of the TV and put his Bob the Builder DVD on repeat.
- I give him some potato chips.
- I give him some ice cream.
- I let him flop around the on the floor like a bass out of its lake.
- I tell him that our greyhound has the minget, and watch him yell at her in angry frustration.
These techniques seem to be working quite well for now.
Seriously, trust me. If you encourage your child to throw his mingets in the garbage, you're really only encouraging him to tip the trash can over. And if you tell your child that he will be donating his mingets to the newborns, you're actually teaching him to hate babies everywhere. So stick with the TV and junkfood, it's a much softer approach.
Oh, and you can thank me for this advice in person when we're dropping our kids off at weight-loss camp.