The reason I gave it back was because bedtime had become such a pain in the proverbial. I was, frankly, sick of endless stories and variations of sleep themes including music, singing (me, terribly), lying on her floor (bloody uncomfortable) and all sorts of other slightly OCD tendencies from me about stepping out of her room in the right way, stapling black out blinds to the wall, and the way in which I stroked her head. I narrowly stopped short of valium (for both of us).
So anyway new year and all that tonight seemed like a good time to get rid of the pesky bit of plastic for once and for all. Problem is Eliza has a little sister, who’s 18 months old and also has a dummy at night time. I was all for just leaving her with it but him indoors persuaded me that we had to be seen to be consistent and actually wouldn’t it be better to do it all now rather than delay the inevitable and also run the risk of Eliza stealing Tilly’s dummies? Yes I suppose so. Good idea in theory.
So we spent the day on a lovely walk in the country, having jolly good family fun. Then when we got home we began to talk about the dummy fairy.
Let me introduce you to her. Her name is Mary (there’s a theme here I know, what with the snowoman and all), she is very good friends with Farmer Christmas (a close friend of Father Christmas so I’m told by my 3 year old) and she hangs out with the tooth fairy.
So here’s the conversation I had with Eliza.
“So darling now that you are a very big girl who’s 3 you don’t need your dummy anymore so the Dummy Fairy is coming to collect it tonight and while she’s about it she’ll collect Tilly’s too.”
Sceptical look from Eliza..
“But why Mummy?”
“Well she comes to pick up dummies from big girls who don’t need them and gives them to babies who do.”
“Well no, because Tilly’s not really a baby anymore.”
“But no Mummy, she doesn’t give them to babies, she gives them to Farmer Christmas silly!”
I have a vague recollection of introducing her before Christmas with some such story.
“Yes of course, how silly of me. So we need to pick them all up.”
“And put them under the Christmas tree so she can find them?”
Wow, I’m making progress.
“Yes, good idea!” I said probably a bit too quickly.
“But Mummy she can’t come tonight.”
“Because it’s dark and she might not be able to see.”
“Oh but she will that’s why she has her wand – it lights up for her.”
“She needs a torch light Mummy!”
“Yes, her wand does that job.”
“But she might be too hungry.”
“Well we leave her food then, what would she like?”
“Peanut butter on bread, and a ‘mato and some celery.”
Anyway this went on for some considerable time, we discussed her apetite a bit more, then her mode of transport (flying) then whether she’d be cold (no she has a fur coat), then what sort of present she’d leave. The most important thing of course.
What neither I nor him indoors had really thought too much about was our poor little mouse (Tilly to you). As far as she was concerned not only was she being left in her dark room on her own but we had the temerity to take away the manky bit of plastic that she normally got to distract her from being on her own (she’s at that age – she’s realised that being on her own is so last year). So she put up a fight. A very good one and I’m proud of her for it. But she gave in after about an hour and decided on balance sleep was more tempting than screaming at the top of her voice. Him indoors went in during said hour to give her regular cuddles, we’ve never been much good at ‘crying it out’, hence the dummies.
So whilst he was doing that I was putting Eliza to bed. When she realised I really meant it and that the dummy fairy was indeed coming and that there was nothing she or in fact I could do about it (love that you can totally disassociate yourself from the dummy fairy to the extent where you can actually blame her for what she’s doing, the cow, and remain a saint in your child’s eyes) she got rather upset. Ok very bloody upset. I had many stories to read and much stroking of hair to get out of that one, but she eventually went to sleep happy that there’d be a present in the morning.
As I write this post it is about 10.20pm and I am under no illusion that the night won’t be wakeful with one or other child protesting. But they have been asleep since 8.30ish so it’s not so bad.
I will let you know how I got on tomorrow. And if it works then I’ll advise you to tell all your friends who are trying to get rid of the dummy. If it doesn’t expect to see me in Boots with several of Tommee Tippees finest in my shopping basket…
Oh and why is this such an incredibly stupid thing to be doing? Because tomorrow after 2 solid weeks with my little girls I’m back at work. But I would hate to make it easy for myself or indeed them.
By the way there’s an industry in this dummy fairy business. Books, kits and all sorts to be found. Amazing isn’t it? I’d probably have tried any number of things before I became a cynical no nonsense sort of parent who believes that there’s very little that a mother doesn’t know about what’s best for her children. Smug? Me? Never…