Pacifier connoisseur

Rahul knows pacifiers! The fact that he is almost a year and a half and is still hooked to one is another story; but since I brought it up here is an interesting little thing. A friend who recently moved to Switzerland said she sees three and four-year olds there still sucking on them. Continuing with the “other” story, my cutoff with Rahul is eighteen months partly because our pediatrician suggested that. She said the “mouthing” stage, when everything in sight must be touched and tasted stops. That leaves us three weeks to figure it out. Leila was about seven or eight months old when she decided it was not her style anymore and simply dropped it. I don’t see R doing that. He is too much of a pacifier expert now to just give it up. It has become a pleasure for him!

A few days ago we had four pacifiers in the house. Today we could only find one. Things are always disappearing, like straws from water bottles, milk bottle lids, teethers, socks… We find them under beds, pillows, cushions, in toy boxes and other nooks and crannies around the house. These days we have hundreds of little toys and other children’s objects. It’s no easy task to keep track of everything, so we don’t fuss over it too much; which means we have more and more stuff around and more stuff missing.

When we were out shopping today, I bought a couple of new pacifiers. Rahul tested and rejected them! They are the same brand, shape, and size that he normally uses but these were latex not silicone. I bought them in a hurry and would have never noticed it if he hadn’t spat out the new one, and rushed back to his old one. Even within the silicone type (which are better for children by the way) there are two different models. It’s the funniest, cutest thing to watch him test the two. He has one in his mouth and the other in his hand. He concentrates as he sucks on one for a while, spits it out and puts the other one in his mouth. Sometimes he decides right away, other times he repeats the process until he is sure which one is just right.

A couple of days ago we were at my friend’s daughter’s one year birthday party. Rahul noticed her pacifier and that it was different from his. He swiftly picked it up, sucked on his first as if to remind himself what it felt like, then switched. By then we shared a laugh and managed to give it back.

In his one and almost a half years, R has experimented with many pacifiers and has a strong preference for some. It’s funny to watch him test them, and choose some over others. Of course it must be a matter of taste like anything else. How he will drop this pleasurable habit I don’t yet know. Two of his grandparents quit after many years of serious, heavy smoking. This should be possible!

My not so controlled, not so scientific experiment.

Our sleeping arrangement is as consistent as everything else is with me lately. L and R share a room and have a crib each. For the beginning of every night they are in their room. Some parts of some nights we have one of them in our bed, and sometimes much more rarely both. Having them sleep in our bed is a recent phenomenon. When we went to Koh Samui in February, the two cribs and our big bed all in one room rendered much better sleep than in the past.

A few weeks ago I was trying to see what the nights would be like in the different cases mentioned above. In general the child who is between us sleeps better than when in his [I use his in this post to mean either child] own bed alone, at least for longer periods of time, and a hug or gentle tap on the belly usually gets him back to sleep in minimal time. When I was experimenting with this, I switched the child in our bed each night for about a week to ten days. That one was sleeping better than the other. The one who stayed in his own bed pulled the other one’s hair many times the next morning.

When I had them both in our bed, if either woke up before morning he would cry, fuss, push and even roll over the other one to make sure I took care of him. This happened only when he noticed his sibling was also in the bed. So both ended up awake. That meant that Maher and I were up too. This segment of the experiment lasted two days. I was ready to have them back in their own beds unless necessary, and Maher had a talk with me about this too!

In order to maintain a few hours of sleep and some sanity for myself, especially in the case of simultaneous wakings our nights are a combination of the above situations. We spend a part of the night alone, part with one and sometimes the rest of the night with the other.

The last two nights R and L had a fever and runny noses. They both vomited. L on the first day, R the second. It seems to be a flu. Of course if one has it, the other one is likely to follow. Usually there is a lag of a day or two, but this time, it was simultaneous and intense. Neither accepted to be alone in their own bed. This meant when one woke up and saw the other in our bed, there was the crying, fussing, pushing, and rolling over. All four of us were up, and both children were burning with fever, crying and asking for “mama, mama.” One would climb onto me and push the other out of the way, then a minute later it was the other way around. Maher and I looked at each other, stuck. I laughed awkwardly as we tried to react to the situation.

The guilt that comes with having to choose one child over the other at the spur of a moment eased up a lot as my confidence developed, as our bond grew, since they became more independent (as in could walk and climb up and mainly down from places on their own, eat and drink on their own, etc), and now that their favorite word is “baba” and they tail him all day long. But it comes back, and I guess it always will. Now that they can express what and who they want, it is more painful.

Tonight is better. L is in her own bed and hasn’t had any fever all night. Rahul is getting there slowly,