As the parent of a child who is almost two years old (He’ll be two in September) I’m definitely still in the “Rookie Parent” camp. Like all other parents I’m protective of my child, but I’m pretty easy-going about most things that aren’t that big of a deal, and I don’t pretend that my way of doing things is better than anyone else’s. However, I have started to realize that there are some parents who have deeply held dogmatic beliefs about child-rearing techniques and methods.
Case in point: I took my son to day-care today, and he’s being fussy because he wants to stay with me, rather than go to day-care with his friends. I know this will change eventually, and he’ll probably make me drop him off two blocks away from the school because he’s embarrassed of his dad. So I’m in the elevator with him and a stranger, and my son is just standing there whining in more of a cry that isn’t really any words – he's just making noise in protest, really.
I looked at the stranger and said something along the lines of “When he was younger, I could just pop a pacifier in his mouth and get some quiet, you know?” That's all I said. Pretty harmless kind of a half joke.
I was kind of just expecting a laugh or some kind of commiseration from the other adult in the elevator. However, that wasn’t the response I got from my elevator cohort. They kind of gave me a stern and icy look was like I had said: “When he was younger, I could just give him a glass of bourbon and get him to pass out.”
This little trip in the elevator suddenly got really awkward when this person responded with “I don’t believe in pacifiers, they’re controversial.” I wasn’t sure what to say to that. Luckily, the elevator ride ended, and we excused ourselves, as the elevator carried the stranger up a few more floors. On the ride into work I was thinking about what they said: “I don’t believe in pacifiers...”
That really doesn’t make sense to me. This person doesn’t believe in them? Pacifiers aren’t something that you take on faith, like God’s divine providence. It’s just a little rubber/plastic thing that you give to babies. It’s not something that you believe in. It’s just a thing. And controversial? I was not aware of that. I did a little research, and found that there are plenty of parents who think that pacifiers are either the devil’s creation, a tool of the baby-industrial complex, or a combination of both.
And the parents who don’t use pacifiers are Very Proud of this fact and want everyone to know they don’t use these evil and highly controversial things. Pacifiers are controversial? I don’t think so. Abortion is controversial. Religion is controversial. Whether to intervene militarily in Syria is controversial. The scope and role of the Federal government is controversial. According to some “mommy blogs” the use of pacifiers belongs in the same category as all of these other things.
I’m not saying that I’m on Team Pacifier, but I’m certainly not going to go around and judge people who do or do not use pacifiers with their children. It’s just not that big of a deal. When your 6 month old kid is crying at 3:00AM, you try anything you can to get him to stop crying. I just can’t imagine standing on the principle of being on Team No-Passy and letting my son cry when I could give him a pacifier and solve the problem. That’s not the time to be a suffragette for Team No-Passy. You want to go to sleep, and you want to soothe your child. There’s a reason that pacifiers work. I’m not sure what it is, but there’s a reason.
Anyway, I just think if you love your kids and act in their best interests there’s plenty of ways to do little things. The funny thing is that parents have all of this conflicting advice. I mean holy moly, don’t even start looking at all of the people who have strong feelings about breast feeding. The people on each side of that issue make the Civil War look like a high school debate.
Just be a good parent, relax, and quit trying to tell everyone else what to do. But it's probably not a good idea to give your 8 month old bourbon. I've read lots of studies that babies prefer scotch. (Just kidding. Please do not send me an irate e-mail about giving babies bourbon or scotch.)