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I had never thought that a teeny meeny thing like a pacifier, my daughter's 'Tuki', had the power to possess my mind for such a substantial amount of time. It appears so innocent and cute but is highly addictive. After three years of tiffs with my daughter, I have finally succeeded in weaning her off it. (My history with the Tuki is something like this -My love hate relationship with the Pacifier)
I have always known that this should have been done a very long time back. But on two of my previous attempts (I took up Hitler's Blitzkrieg approach on these two), I could see my baby getting traumatised due to the sudden separation from her beloved bedtime buddy. So I decided to do it gradually. But to no avail.
They say when you really want to achieve something, the entire universe conspires to help you succeed. Everyday after I finish with the bedtime ritual of changing and cleaning of my girls, both of them keep chasing me till I open the steriliser box and hand them over their respective Tukis. (The younger does a combo of walking and crawling. Older one has never learnt to walk. She always sprints. And she usually runs away taking her sister's priced possession as well. So every night my house depicts a scene from Tom and Jerry for the Tuki chase.)
A few days back during the routine pandemonium, the older one misplaced hers while attempting to hide her sister's. One hour of a rigorous search operation with constant chants of 'I want my Tuki!' in the background yielded no results. Although I have a back up Tuki for desperate situations, it is not very much liked by her. (This one is called the 'Tiger Tuki' as it has a tiger cartoon on it. The missing one is a simple green coloured variant and is called 'Plain green Tuki'). I gave her two options of either going to sleep without it for the night or take the 'Tiger Tuki'. But both my appeals were rejected instantaneously and repeatedly. Finally she fell asleep tired of crying but without any Tuki (Thank you God!).
Just after I dragged myself towards the washroom to freshen up before sleep, I found the 'Plain Green Tuki' staring at me near the laundry bag. As if mocking at me that you and your little one need to get over me! That night I decided. Enough is enough. If I don't help her to overcome the urge then who will. And so I created a 'Tuki Fairy'. (I am not sure whether the idea struck me during a dream that night or whether it was an inspiration from the umpteen fairy stories that my daughter loves to hear).
Next morning she woke up fresh as if nothing ever happened last night. I had purposely placed the Tuki on the dining table for her to notice it. I wanted her to initiate the conversation.
"Mumma look. It's my Tuki."
And then I started narrating the most useful story ever created by me.
"Yes I know. It was returned to me this morning by the Tuki Fairy."
"O accha. Tuki Fairy?"
"Yes. She's a tiny little fairy who hides the Tukis of children who start going to school. This is to let those children and their Mummas know that the Tuki should not be used while sleeping. But this is only the first time. The next day if she finds the child taking her Tuki, she takes away the Tuki as well as two of her teeth." (I had to stress on 'children who start going to school' because I knew that I cannot wean off my younger one off her Tuki simultaneously. I wanted to do it one at a time. Putting two wailing babies to sleep is a mission impossible for me.)
I could notice a flash of terror on her face and really despised myself at that moment. But it had to be done. So I went on.
"But I told the Tuki fairy that my child won't put it in her mouth from today. She's a big girl now and doesn't need such a silly object to fall asleep."
"Haa Mumma. I am big now. Can I just hide it under my pillow when I sleep? I won't put it in my mouth. I promise."
I had to show her that I trust her completely.
"Sure honey. That's a great idea."
"You know Mumma. That's why little sis is not getting any more teeth. Tuki Fairy has seen her taking that pink Tuki." (There is some colour coding done here!)
I could not control my laughter. I agreed to her analysis and asked her to be little sister's inspiration. There was a proud expression on her face instantaneously.
The Tuki Fairy story recitation had to be done everyday at bedtime, afternoon and night. It was necessary to brainwash her. Giving up the temptation was not at all easy for my little girl. But it was not impossible as well.
It has been a week today. She only checks every time before going to bed if her ex mate is under her pillow. I believe it's the mere sight of it that is enough for her to sleep peacefully now. It was her first love after all :). I hope my next encounter with Tuki weaning of the younger one is a little easier than this.