Sunday, 29 July 2012


My name is E and my last dummy was 9 days ago.

Back when I was a perfect mother (ie. before E was born), if someone had told me that she'd still have a dummy at almost 3, I'd have been horrified. These were the tools of the lazy parent, stuffed in the gobs of their offspring by those who couldn't be bothered to breast feed on demand or come up with entertainment on a train journey.

Then I actually had a baby and after 4 sleepless weeks of constant, toe curling, nipple grating agony my mother told me to stop being so stupid and give the sucky baby a dummy. Actually she probably put it a little more kindly than that, I can't entirely remember, but either way she was right. It helped enormously, and far from interfering with breast feeding, may well have saved it. But what was useful in those first few weeks looked like a bad habit when weeks become months and an all-out addiction when they became years. So with that third birthday looming I took a deep breath and decided it was time to stage an intervention.

I'd love to say at this point that I had some clever, child centric, holistic method to do this. I didn't . I had £15 and good ole fashioned bribery.

So on the last day of our recent holiday I took E into a toy shop and told her she could choose a toy, but she could only have that toy once she'd gone 7 nights with no dummy, to my surprise E was really keen on this so we added a sticker chart to the basket, headed home and kept our fingers crossed for the first night.

I'd anticipated a battle, but E went to bed determined to earn her sticker. She did wake up in the early hours crying for us to bring her the dummy but when I went in, expecting this to be the point we gave up for the night, I explained to her that she could have her dummy but then she wouldn't get her sticker and she immediately changed her mind, asked for her bear instead and went straight back to sleep cuddling up and muttering to herself "I want my sticker, I want my sticker".

7 stickers in a row! (plus a few extras, and some drawing)

This was the pattern for the next couple of nights until she stopped waking up altogether and after 7 nights, and amazingly little fuss, the chart was full and a very very excited E threw her dummies in the bin and collected her toy. Her beloved cuddly Gruffalo now comes everywhere with us.

I'm utterly stunned at how easy it was, dummys had seemed like such an addiction and I had no idea that E had the willpower to break the habit on her first attempt. Was bribery the right way to go? Well I'm sure some people would say no, but she is very proud of herself and, frankly, it worked - so it'll do. Yeah,  I'm not the perfect mother anymore, but I think I am a good enough mother, which is probably as much as anyone can honestly claim (and I no longer have to get up in the night to grovel under the bed to find lost dummy's*) so that's good enough for me.

*well, until Smidge2 arrives...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Little Miss Bump

To be honest I feel rather lucky that we've made it almost to E's 3rd birthday with only one dash to A&E, so I guess we were probably due another one on Tuesday when poor E was running along in front of me and suddenly, for no apparent reason, fell on her head.  She just tripped over from standing, but doesn't seem to have yet realised that in this situation it's a good idea to put your hands out. As a result she just flipped forward at considerable speed onto her forehead with an audible crunch.

She screamed, I panicked, thus fulfilling our individual roles in this scene perfectly. But once we'd both calmed down a bit E seemed perfectly fine and I was pretty sure she was ok. Even so (and following advice from NHS direct) I took her along to A&E just to be on the safe side as it was just before nap time and I didn't want to leave her alone in bed with a potential head injury while I sat fretting downstairs. 

A&E,  it turns out, is brilliant fun if you are 2 and 3/4. The paediatric A&E at Kings is thankfully separated from the main unit (anyone who's watched 24 Hours In A&E will appreciate what a good thing this is!) and it has a play room! E immediately found a toy BBQ and a very kind older boy who she could boss about mercilessly (whoever the parents of that 8 year old are, I hope they are suitably proud - their son has the patience of a saint!). The only thing more exciting that this (and getting to miss nap time) was the nurses. In triage the lady asked E to explain what had happened, which she managed fairly well before giving the poor women a lengthy, and not wholly accurate description of her lunch. When we went for assessment the nurse had a torch in the shape of a frog which she very nearly didn't get back when E decided to use it to "stamp" every single page of her hefty drugs manual (another nurse, facing away from us and attempting to draw up an injection for someone else, was struggling with her task as E was making her giggle so much).

So worries allayed, we headed home with a print out of things to look out for* and let my Mr Bump cool pack make everything better.

I'm glad we've only had 2 trips to A&E in 3 years. I hope we can keep it that way!


*The sheet contained the useful advice that we should return if E had a seizure or lost consciousness and that we shouldn't give her any sleeping pills that night. Just thought I'd pass that on in case anyone else was unaware of those little parenting gems.