Put Down the Pacifier Day!
My niece by choice, Emmy, has had a stellar developmental record thus far in her brief three years on the planet. (I may be ever-so-slightly biased.) She's a spunky and determined girl who just decides she is going to do something and then does it.
She decided she was done with breastfeeding and abruptly stopped nursing at 13 months, much to her mother's painful chagrin. She decided she wanted to use a big girl cup instead of a sippy cup and hasn't looked back since about 18 months.
She's never given her parents, aunties or anyone else any trouble about sleeping in her big girl bed; she just decided it was time for her to stop sleeping in her crib and that was that. And she's been wearing big girl "undawear" for quite some time and is dry all night long.
The one thing she hasn't decided to do yet is give up her pacifier.
And who could blame her? The beloved binky has been with her from the beginning, soothing her to sleep and calming her crankiness whenever she feels out of sorts. But at nearly three and a half, her parents are less than thrilled about its continued presence. They've tried many methods: not replacing lost binkies; not moving pacifiers from the crib to the big girl bed; not using pacifiers at big girl school; but nothing has worked. At the end of the day, Emmy is pining for her pacifier yet again.
So it's no surprise that I was thrilled to hear about Sesame Workshop's new campaign to help kids give up that last vestige of babyhood.
"Put Down the Pacifier," a week-long online campaign that begins October 28, will include daily video messages from Elmo with tips to help children like my niece give up their binks. A fun jingle will play at the end of every clip, hopefully becoming a mantra for the little ones.
During the campaign, Sesame Street's website, www.sesamestreet.org/pacifier, and social media pages will offer tips for parents, aunties and any adults who will be helping to reinforce the "bink-free" message. And a new DVD, "Bye-Bye, Pacifier! Big Kid Stories with Elmo" will go on sale November 1.
The campaign culminates with the first-ever "Put Down the Pacifier Day" on November 4.
My niece really loves watching videos on YouTube, so I know this will be the perfect opportunity to sit down with her at least one evening of this campaign and watch Elmo's messages together. We'll talk about the differences between big girls and babies and how Elmo doesn't use his binky anymore because he's a big monster now.
While I'll always be nostalgic for my niece's baby days, I love watching her change and grow. Giving up her bink will be such a big step, and I'm sure will be another opportunity to instill self-confidence in her. My niece looks up to Elmo and to me - here's hoping that with our help, she'll be determined to put down her pacifier!
Melanie Linn Gutowski is a proud Godmother and ABC.
Photo: Sesame Workshop
Published: October 28, 2011