I knew the day was coming. How could it not? The Hen had made his way through his stash of ‘acceptable-to-him’ pacifiers. He was down to two. And then there was one. And every day since we’ve been afraid he’d lose ‘the one’ and we’d have to find the toddler equivalent of a methadone clinic.

His obsession with his ‘da’ started casually enough, as it has with all our boys. They emerged from the womb smacking their gums and, in an effort to avoid being permanently fused to them, I gave them a pacifier. Personally I don’t understand why anyone would want to suck on a piece of silicone for even three seconds, but apparently they want to.

So, it’s a win-win situation, except when the kid wakes up the minute the silicone nastiness leaves his mouth and can’t stop crying until it’s back in his mouth. That’s more of a lose-win situation. At least for me.

I think it was around the time we arrived on Canadian soil that his attachment to pacifiers expanded to include pillowcases. Preferably white, 100% cotton pillowcases. With the highest thread count possible. It was also around this time that the pacifier matter took a turn for the obsessive. With a dingy white pillowcase in one hand and a pacifier in the mouth, he could face anything. Without them, he could face….not much. At least not for very long.

And, thanks to his penchant for carrying these items all over creation and setting them aside when his interest in a particular toy outweighed his need for comfort, we’ve lost a lot of pacifiers. A LOT.

The Hen has personally lost about fourteen of them. By the end of summer two of the fourteen remained. Because in addition to being picky about having a pacifier…he only wants a certain kind of pacifier. A not-made-in-Canada kind of pacifier. Anything else gets thrown across the room…disgustedly.

The first of the last was lost a few weeks ago. Which left one. One blue newborn MAM pacifier. A two year old walking around with a tiny newborn pacifier in his mouth is quite a sight. Especially when he’s also dragging a white pillowcase behind him.

‘If he loses this one then it’s time for him to be done,’ Jason and I have been saying to each other the last couple of weeks.

Almost as if (a) we’re calling the shots and (b) we’d ever find the mental fortitude to listen to that kid scream at the top of his lungs for the better part of an hour.

And so, tonight arrived. The professor was off at the soccer fields trying to maintain the Eldorado Kickers’ newfound winning streak. I was alone. The Hen was tired. He’d only had a twenty minute nap in the car.

‘Whe my ba-da?’ he asked insistently as I changed his diaper before bed.

I hustled downstairs to get his majesty’s ‘stuff’. The ‘ba’ was lying on the floor by the dining table. And the ‘da’ was….nowhere to be found.

I searched in all the plausible places – play room, living room, dining room, pants pockets, coat pockets – and came up empty-handed. He was screaming by that point. I looked with more fervor. Finally I went upstairs to deliver the news.

In total disbelief, he grabbed me by the hand and led me downstairs to the drawer where I keep the pacifiers. He stood waiting, expectantly. I opened the drawer and handed him one of the ‘back-ups-that-he-refuses’. He looked at it and threw it on the floor. Wailing all the while, heartbroken by my callous refusal to produce the ‘da’.

I took him upstairs where he lay sobbing on the rug; throwing clothes and toys at his older brother who was sitting on his bed minding his own business. He even threw a shoe at the poor kid. When he saw that the shoe lit up when it hit a surface, he was intrigued. Much like Curious George, I couldn’t help but think.

The tears stopped. He shoved the three-sizes-too-big shoe on the wrong foot and began stomping around. So he could see the lights.

I had a vision: of a pacifier-free child wearing one pair of Skechers size 11 light-up shoes 24 hours of every day for the rest of his life. It wasn’t a pretty picture, but at least he’d stopped crying. Surely not the first person to drown his (or her) sorrows in a pair of shoes.

Women have their Jimmy Choos and toddler boys have their Skechers, I guess.

But as with all material goods, the light-up shoes quickly lost their luster and the crying resumed. In search of some earplugs, I headed downstairs, bracing myself for a long night of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Why oh why couldn’t this have happened on Jason’s watch?

I thought about baking some brownies, so I’d have something to drown my sorrows in. But, for the first time…ever…I didn’t want to bake. Could this be the night when we’d both be delivered from our respective addictions?

I glanced at the ridiculously messy-crowded kitchen counter. I saw a blue Mam pacifier lying amongst the rubble of dirty dishes. I ran upstairs. The crying ceased immediately.

Maybe another night.

5 thoughts on “Addictions

  1. oh nicola, i’ve so missed your writing. i’m slowly playing catch-up. hopefully nothing extremely major has happened weeks ago that i missed because of my lack of reading! anyhow, thanks for the laugh!


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