In our house, we call a pacifier a “nimmy,” because a certain ten-year-old dubbed it as such, back when toddled around with one his mouth.
Sidney’s nimmy was nothing special. We got hooked on the hospital freebie, that inartful, but candy-like Gumdrop pacifier. I never graduated her from the 0-6 months size because at some point I assumed she’d become bored by its minuteness and its seemingly poor imitation of an actual nipple.
She never did become bored, and so … when she was one, two, and well into her fourth year, she’d walk around with her “nimmy” stuck in her face. She’d stick her fingers inside it, poke around her mouth and hum a happy song. (Interesting note: it’s the same song M hums while eating chicken.)
When I ran out of the freebies I bought more. Many more. They were scattered all over the house, shoved in coat and bathrobe pockets, and stashed in car cupholders.
I lied to doctors and dentists and said that she only used it at night, but in truth, she had that thing in her face whenever she felt like it. This was partly because as the youngest of five, Sidney pretty much writes her meal ticket — we are tired, worn down, and out of steam. But it’s also because for the most part, I am believer in letting the kids tell me when they are ready to do something like give up a pacifier. At two we moved Sidney across the country, at three we moved her into a brand new house. Of course I knew that if you can write your own name, you’re probably to old for rubbery pacification, but it never seemed the right time to yank it from her.
As much as I’d harbored some envy for parents who had sleep schedules, not to mention those ones who electrocuted their kids with those medieval night time underpants because they were fed up with pull-ups and wet sheets, I’ve generally taken my cues from the kids … and this was even before I got tired, worn down, and down right lazy.
So last week, days before my baby turned four, she announced that she was done with the nimmy. Done. We all celebrated and M and I bathed in some smugness and congratulated ourselves on being the right kind of parents. The parents who wait it out. The parents who let their kids decide when the time is right.
Until I started to miss the nimmy.
With the nimmy I could always hear her coming down the hall, heralded by that sucking sound. With the nimmy even though she was so big in so many ways, she still looked like my little baby.
Without the nimmy it seems that I don’t really have a baby anymore. M tells me I ought to have my head examined. He then reminds me that no matter how broody I get, there will be no puppy.
A puppy is just a dog and I’m cool without one. But I love the babies. I’m ready for this next phase, but no nimmy = no baby, and as far as I can tell … that kind of sucks.