The Real-Life Horror Story of Weaning My 2-Year-Old Off Her Paci

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At first, the pacifier (or as we call, paci) was a godsend. It was the key to calm, sleep and peace of mind. We felt lucky that our baby loved her paci since it was such an effective tool for comfort. And sure, the pediatricians, the blogs, the friends with kids stressed the importance of getting her off the thing by the time she’s 2, but like many first-time parents, my husband and I were way more concerned about quelling the tantrum happening before our eyes in the Trader Joe’s frozen aisle than whatever far-fetched scenario would greet us in the future.

Here we are in the future, and of course, we regret our short-sightedness. As our child becomes more sentient—and nearly 2 years old—the harder it has become to fool or convince her of doing anything she doesn’t want to do, and part with her paci is something she does not want to do. Now a toddler, she wields the paci like a prop, taking it out of her mouth to accentuate a point or blab with it in the corner of her mouth like she’s Popeye chewing on his pipe. Kinda like Chloe Sevigny makes smoking look cool, my toddler makes sucking on a paci look cool.

Fearful of being labeled “bad parents” at her 2-year checkup, my husband and I decided we would execute Operation Paci, in which we would strategically remove the target through a high-level combination of mind control, bribing and tough love.

The following is my seven-day captain’s log of the events that followed. Though I lived to tell the story, I warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart (or anyone in the midst of a similar journey).

Warning: The following story depicts actual people and events. Continue at your own peril.

Day 1

  • Plan to extinguish all pacis by EOW officially commences
  • Amazon Primed Florrie the Paci Fairy. Set to arrive in two days. Until then, begin the anti-paci blitzkrieg
  • Husband and I nervous but optimistic

Day 2

  • Offer oral-sensory substitutes every time 2yo pleads “I NEED PACI”
  • Give 2yo the sense that she’s in charge (she’s not) and offer her opportunity to put paci “to bed” (she takes the bait)
  • 2yo goes to bed with a paci substitute—unprecedented, historic win
  • Sleeps through night, no wake ups
  • Operation Paci complete?

Day 3

  • 2yo sleeps until 7 a.m. (unusual)
  • Wake her to find she has a pacifier in her mouth (???)
  • 2yo rolls over,, smiles and says “Paci paci” (unnerving)
  • Assume husband snuck in with a middle-of-the-night paci, but he denies it (lying?)
  • Review the Nanit tapes. Nothing unusual…except for strange, unidentified movement around 2:32 a.m. Probably nothing.
  • Likely just a paci tucked somewhere in her crib. Will check more thoroughly tomorrow

Day 4

  • Florrie the Paci Fairy arrives (phew)
  • We read it for storytime. 2yo seems to respond well to idea turning in pacis in return for cake
  • We read it again at bedtime, 2 yo chucks it across the room yelling “NO FLORRIE” (seems possessed?)
  • Double check crib for hidden pacis. None found
  • Won’t take paci substitute at 7:30 p.m. bedtime, so we let her cry and try to put self to sleep
  • Finally goes down at 8:15 p.m. (yay, Succession in peace!)
  • Several intermittent wake ups throughout the night (before Succession even ends, ugh)

Day 5

  • Exhausted. Go to wake 2yo at 7 a.m. She rolls over and has a paci in her mouth (WTF)
  • Ask (yell at) husband for bringing it to her (he denies..LIAR)
  • Operation Paci entirely out the window. Googling new couples’ therapists in the area. Text several studies on pacifier weaning to husband to prove a point even though neither of us will ever read
  • Scour the entire home for remaining pacis and set them on fire in backyard. See image of Florrie burning in the flames? Probably just sleep deprived.

Day 6

  • Wake 2yo at 7 a.m., and again, she has a paci AND Florrie book is torn to shreds in her crib. Feel like I’m losing my mind.
  • Husband denies bringing in the contraband
  • Google “divorce over pacifier weaning”
  • Completely defeated. Tell husband he can finish Operation Paci on his own

Day 7

  • Husband wakes me at 7 a.m. “Look at this.” He’s reviewing Nanit feed but does something techy to see footage clearer: 2:32 a.m. me, entering 2yo’s room and handing her a paci
  • Go to wake 2yo, she rolls over with a paci in her mouth and says “Mama Paci Fairy”

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Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...