bye-bye pao!

We never wanted Caila to use the pacifier, but then there came a time when she cried so loudly in the middle of the night and there was nothing we could do or give that would make her stop, so we finally decided to try the binky...and there was silence. Since then, every time she became fussy, we resorted to the pacifier.

We researched widely on the pros and cons of this little soother. My foster parents from Germany who are dentists and have their own clinic said it was ok (at least, until she was 2 years old). So, since it was a big help to us (especially if we were out in public), and better than having Caila suck her thumb instead, we decided to keep the pacifier.

When I went home to the Philippines to fetch Caila and her nanny, I discovered that the pacifier was almost a constant fixture to her mouth. Although she was 20 months old, I was slightly worried that she would become too attached to her Pao (yup, that’s what she calls it) and her growing teeth might be affected. On our first night together, after she had finished her bottle of milk, she immediately asked for Pao. I gave it to her, but first explained that only when she was going to sleep would she be allowed to use it. She agreed, and once she had drifted off to dreamland, I took it out of her mouth. The next morning when she woke up, she immediately asked for Pao. I reminded her calmly of the agreement we made the night before, and fortunately, she didn’t make a fuss (I was so proud!).

During the day, she would often ask for her pacifier, and we would all remind her that she would get it only if she were going to sleep. This went on all throughout our remaining days in the Philippines until she learned to ask for it only when it was time for her to go to bed.

Before our trip to Dubai, I had planned on just telling Caila that we had left Pao in the Philippines in case she asked for it (but the truth is, it was already in her bag). Things went ok at first. She believed my story and would just stay quiet in my lap during the flight. But then, the plane started descending to land and the air pressure was too much for her little ears. She didn’t want to eat or drink anything, so out of desperation, I gave her the little soother to stop her from crying. Somehow, it worked.
But then of course, I had to think of another way to “lose” her binky.

Back in Dubai, things continued like before...she would only be given her Pao if she was going to sleep and once she had drifted off, we would take it out of her mouth. In the car, or whenever we went out, if she asked for it, we would just tell her that we had left it at home.

We still hadn’t thought of a story to make her stop using the pacifier, until last Thursday. That evening, after attending a party in Deira, we went straight to my sister’s place in Discovery Gardens where we were going to spend the night. As usual, after drinking her bottle of milk before bed, Caila asked for her Pao. We told her that we had left it at home and Aning (that what she calls Auntie Ning, my sister) didn’t have any at her place. Although she didn’t make a fuss, she kept asking for it over and over again; and in turn, we would keep explaining to her that we forgot to bring it with us. Finally, I guess she believed us, so she went to sleep without her Pao.

The next day, after Caila had her bath and began to feel sleepy, again she asked for Pao. Again, we reminded her that we had left it at home. This time, she asked for it only three times before nodding off to sleep. In the afternoon, we returned to our apartment. When Caila climbed on to bed for her afternoon nap, she immediately asked for Pao. I’m sure she was expecting to get it right away, but instead, we told her that we had left it at Aning’s place. Of course, she didn’t believe us at first. She kept asking for it every ten seconds, but we stuck with our story. Finally, I guess she realized that there was no way she would get it no matter how many times she asked, so she resigned and slept. The same thing happened again that evening.

But Saturday was different. In the afternoon, as she was about to have her nap, we expected Caila to ask for her beloved Pao...but she just remained quiet after drinking her milk and went to sleep. Probably she was too sleepy or she forgot about her pacifier, but whatever the reason, we were happy. Then, in the evening, maybe she remembered her binky again because she asked for it. As usual, we gave her the same reason. This time, all she said was “Pao? Pao? Ba-bye Pao! Bye-bye!” with matching hand-waving in the air. To us, that was a major accomplishment.

I’m really happy that detaching her from it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be (honestly, I thought she would throw tantrums or shriek her lungs out). And I’m so proud that she is no longer dependent on the pacifier to soothe her. Hurray!

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