How and Why we Dropped the Dummy and How we Prepared for the Big Day!

How and Why we Dropped the Dummy and How we Prepared for the Big Day!

Ditch the dummy, or I'm going to end up saying dodie because we say dodie. I think it's a North East of England thing, but August says dodie. How we ditched it. I appreciate this isn't the best time for most people, but on an evening, I am finishing work and nonverbal and there's a toddler. Right when he's asleep, I just like to watch Love Island and eat. How we ditched the dummy? First, why did I give August a dummy? You're a speech therapist, you know that they're not great. Well, there's pros and cons to dummies. The research shows that there's reduced incidences of SIDS, so that's an infant death syndrome. That's a high up on the list. But also, I had a baby that just wanted to suck all of the time. I think if I hadn't given him a dodie, he would have just breastfed 24 7 and wouldn't have got any sleep. And sleep was really important to a new mum. It was day three or something, and even the midwives were like, He just is sucking all of the time. I was like, Right, I'm not going to wait for the three week mark or whatever they recommend to establish breastfeeding.

We need this so that we can sleep. We introduced these Bibs dummies, Dodies, and he had that from pretty much the beginning. Look, the outcome for me with the set routine, et cetera, is I have had a unicorn sleeper. He goes to sleep on time when he says he's going to go to sleep, and now he's two, it's the same. We've always been in a routine and it's made me more of a human.

So that's why we had the dodie. And what I preach and promote since I've had this platform, I guess, is that to not be using it all day. What we know about dummies is that they essentially plug the mouth. It's like a plug. So if a kid's got it in their mouth all the time, it's affecting their language. Language are the words that we use. It's affecting their language because they don't want to talk because their mouth is plugged. Not only does it affect language, if kids use them all the time for prolonged years. 

It affects their teeth. Google open bite or open bite mal occlusion. Just Google image it and have a look. What having something like a dummy or a thumb or a bottle, prolonged use of a bottle or any teeth does is it pushes the front teeth forward and the bottom teeth down. In my clothes, they've got this hole here. What I was noticing about August's dummy use was increasing up to age two. He just needed it a lot and he was getting an open bite. I knew by age two I wanted it gone. That's why prolonged use isn't great. I was like, Right, it's time to ditch this dodie, this dummy. 

What was important for me, it might not be important for you, but my, I guess, ground rules were that we were going to do it respectfully, that we were going to be super consistent. There weren't going to be times that he could and times that he couldn't. It was just going to be that it was gone. 

And that we weren't going to lie to him. Okay? So when I say I didn't want to lie to him, I know lots of people do things like say that it's going to fairies or that it's going to Santa or that it's going for other little babies or anything like that. I really didn't want that because that's not the truth. I wherever possible don't lie to August. I can't think of any lies that we do tell him.

He's just too smart for that. I didn't want to sell that story. The reason why I were getting rid of the dummy is because it was affecting his teeth. That's what I told him. I said, Now that you're a little bit bigger, the dentist says that we shouldn't use our dodie anymore because it's hurting your teeth. We want your teeth to be clean and to be healthy. They help you talk, they help you eat. So it was honest about why it was going. Another grand drill for me was that I didn't want to talk about him being too old for a dodie or too big or put too much emphasis on the connection with his age. I could do a whole huge rant about that. But in a nutshell, I don't know why, but people have this habit of saying, Oh, that's for big boys, or That's for babies. You don't need that anymore. In reality, kids like things across a huge age spectrum. It can be embarrassing and jarring for us to say to a kid, Oh, you're too big for that now. You shouldn't play with that. That's for babies. How embarrassing. They obviously want to play with that.

They're drawn to it. Things aren't for babies or for older kids. Any child can enjoy anything. I didn't want it to be, You can't have your dodie anymore because you're a big boy. Because in his heart, he was feeling, Well, I'm not feeling a big boy. I want my dodie. I didn't want to make any connection to that. And for me, I wanted to replace it with something so that it wasn't just an empty nest and you'd lost something. So we prepared. John and I talked about it and made a bit of a plan of what we were going to do. And I bought Augusta replacement teddy that many of you have seen. It's Harry the Dirty Dog, which is just like a... It was from farmers, fluffy dog toy that looks a lot like a character in one of his favorite books, Harry the Dirty Dog. So we bought that in advance.

That's how we prepared. And then I made a learning story. Now, if you haven't heard me talk about learning stories before, you need to be googling it and having a read about it. There's one quite far down on my grid. But learning stories are basically stories that you tell a child repetitively to talk to them about a new concept or a new idea or something that's going to change in their world. They're really good for new, big, upcoming changes, like if you were going to go to the hospital or go for surgery or drop the dodie or go to school or anything like that. It teaches them about it before it happens. I wrote a learning story now. The app I use is on iPad, not on iPhone. Ipad. It's called Book Creator. Book, that's me saying book. Book Creator. It's free. There's a free version and it's super simple. It's the easiest thing to use. You're getting a picture and you're writing some words and you can either save it as a book on the iPad that you can flick through or save it as images, I think, or you can save it to read in iBooks or you can print it off.

I didn't have time or the energy or anything to print it off, so I just kept it on the iPad. That made it a little bit more novelty as well because there was a story on there. It only took me half an hour to make and I made it the night of actually, of the night of that we decided we wanted to drop the dummy in a free weekend that we had. It was just like a picture of him as a baby with it talking a little bit about,

Hi, my name is August. I have a Dodie. This is my Dodie. It comes in many colours, just some pictures of him as a baby using it. Then I started talking about now that I am older, it's time for me to say goodbye to my Dodie because it's hurting my teeth. I just put in a picture of an open bite, not his, anyone else's, and said that the dentist said that it's best that I say goodbye to my Dodie. I'm going to say goodbye, but now instead I have a new friend, Harry the Dirty Dog, and then we pulled that out. I'll share a copy or some pages of my learning story somewhere if you're interested and want to see it.

We read that the first time round and pulled out this dog. He was excited by that. We made sure that all sight of dummies had gone. There was none. They were all hidden. I don't know where this one... I just picked this one up before. They're all completely hidden in a way.

Again, no mention of them being really too big or too old or anything. Okay, I'll share it some way. I shared three. What was I saying? No sight, no dummies anywhere. Then I read that story as often as he wanted to read it. It was like again and again. We flipped through the pages and he got the point and then he went to bed. We just chose a weekend where we were home for three days. No, for two. Yeah, it was a long weekend, was it? Because we wanted to have a bit of practice before we sent him off to nursery suddenly one day without his dummy, which he was using to self regulate and calm himself and to sleep. The first night, it was rougher than it usually was. Again, we had a unicorn sleep. We'd lie him down, he'd have his dummy, we'd say goodnight, white noise, all the same routine, and we'd walk out and he'd fall asleep and it would be amazing. Definitely, it wasn't that and it hasn't been that consistently for about three weeks now. He's just a little needier. He doesn't have the same settling tools, I guess. He's no longer asking for his dummy, but isn't as quick to settle because that was really calming for him.

Just meant that we had to stay in the room a little bit longer, that we listened to different kinds of white noise that we told long stories about his favourite things, just like verbally made up stories, to settle him down and to help him to calm himself. But the outcome has been that... I mean, he was asking for it a little bit every day, but it wasn't anywhere near as hard as I thought it would be. For a boy who loved, loved, loved, loved his dodie and needed it a lot, he's doing totally fine…

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