Martin is back with The Dad Diary, this time with his thoughts on Easter and how, actually, it might prove useful in weaning his twin daughters off their dummies.
Easter is nearly upon up. As well as lambs gambolling through fields and that warm, reassuring smell of freshly baked hot cross buns, every parent has to contend with the impending sugar rush that’s coming, foil wrapped and egg-shaped.
In our house we try ration out the chocolate in reasonable portions; meaning we end up with an Easter egg collection that lasts till August and a sugar high that takes us through to the New Year.
It’s a funny time, Easter. It hasn’t quite got the pomp and circumstance of Christmas, nor the once-a-year excitement of Bon Fire Night or Halloween. And to be honest, the children’s traditions are less impressive. Give me a fat, old man, dolled up like a red eskimo, handing out presents, any day of the year; but a rabbit laying milk chocolate eggs? Even Dr Seuss would be hard pushed to sell that one.
We do have one Easter tradition which we’re actually quite fond of. We’ve only done it once before, but with Poppy & Daisy turning 3; it’ll soon be time to do it again.
It started when my daughter Lily was the same age. Like most toddlers, she was constantly attached to her dummy; drawn towards it as though they were both trapped in a gravitational pull. We knew she would have to say goodbye to the dummy sooner or later – after all, dealing with the real world is hard enough as a young adult, the last thing you need is a dodie hanging out of your mouth during Fresher’s Week.
Lily was never going to give up her dummy willingly – she suffered separation anxiety when we upgraded her to the big toilet – so this was going to be tough.
We thought about tying it into a game – pin the dummy on the Frisbee and then throw the Frisbee away? Hide don’t seek? Or even our aborted attempt to bury a time capsule in the back garden – she wouldn’t buy into the idea of preserving it for future generations, and to be honest; we’d destroyed our hydrangea patch in the process.
Eventually, we stumbled on an idea. If we could encourage her to give the dummy away, then she‘d feel in control and hopefully it wouldn’t result in years of intensive therapy to repair the damage. With Easter around the corner, we quickly came up with a solution; why not give it to the Easter Bunny?
It might seem like an odd suggestion; but it wouldn’t be long before we’d be encouraging her to take her dead teeth and hand them over to some sinister fairy with a denture fetish. In comparison, giving a rabbit a pacifier seemed like the less insane option.
We cobbled a story together about the Easter Bunny having just given birth to baby bunnies – not uncommon at spring time, though we didn’t go into detail – and how it needed dummies for her babies. We explained to Lily that if she gave her dummy to the little bunnies, then in return she would get chocolate and books (a healthy alternative) as a thank you present.
I don’t know whether it was an inbuilt sense of duty or just the promise of more new things that spurred her on, but come Easter Eve (if that’s a thing?) she handed it over willingly. And now, with Poppy and Daisy reaching the same age; it’s time to try it again.
It’s a funny moment; taking back the dummy after so long. It feels like one of those first big milestones on your child’s journey from baby to little adult. It comes with a mixture of emotions; pride, excitement, sadness, nostalgia – they’re growing up quickly and it takes us by surprise. There’s still plenty of time to savour these little moments, but there’s no denying that there’s more growing up to do.
I’m in no rush to spoil the secrets of the Easter Bunny to Lily, Poppy and Daisy – but the endless sucking, dropping and losing of dummies? I’m glad to see the back of that.