The Pacifier

With the nice weather over the weekend, my nextdoor neighbors got their chalk out and went to work creating a village on their driveway (designed by Margot, who is 6).  When I stepped outside to appreciate it, Matilda (the almost 2-year old) informed me that she had a new bed.  Turns out it is just her crib but with the side down and a bed rail attached, but she was happy about it.  There was more big news… last night was her first night without her pacifier.  It was apparently a trade – the pacifier for the big girl bed.  I laughed and thought about my experience with pacifiers when YA was little.

When I went to China to pick up YA, there was a big list of “suggested” items that I take with me; a pacifier was on the list so I dutifully packed it.  YA, even as Tiny Baby, was not interested.  After a couple of futile attempts, I stuck it back in the duffel bag.  Nonny was at the airport when we got back to Minneapolis and she stayed for a week or so while I got my feet underneath me.  Nonny was absolutely sure that if she presented the pacifier enough times, Tiny Baby would accept it and all would be right with the world.  (It’s funny looking back because Tiny Baby was not fussy, there really wasn’t a great need.)  But Nonny kept trying and every time TB rejected a nook, it would end up on the side table or a chair or someplace where it became irresistible to someone else:  Baron. 

Baron was an 85-pound ball of fluffy, sweet, calm Samoyed.  He wasn’t the brightest bulb but he was sure that these pacifiers that Nonny kept leaving around were meant for him.  Of course as soon as he absconded with one, it became off-limits for the baby; slowly but surely over that week, we went from having a collection of 10 baby pacifiers to a collection of 10 dog pacifiers.  If ever there was a dog that didn’t need a pacifier, it was Baron.  He had self-soothing down to an art.  Eventually he chewed them all enough that I had to throw them away and we never had any more, since Tiny Baby didn’t need or like them.  Nonny wasn’t amused but I thought it was hilarious.

Do you have any self-soothing practices?  Are they working well for you?

33 thoughts on “The Pacifier”

  1. In Canada, pacifiers are called soothers. I like that word better than pacifier or plug or passy.

    I will need to respond later on my own soothing strategies. This is a really busy morning for me, with a regulatory board meeting that I now realize is the source of my recent sleep issues .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Serenity now! Serenity NOW!” to quote Frank Constanza of Seinfeld.

    I do a lot of sitting and pondering. That used to be considered laziness, but now it’s ‘self-meditating’.
    A couple weeks ago as part of USITT, a technical Theater conference, there was a virtual session on meditation. Just close your eyes and pick something to focus on and sit quietly for 10 minutes. (And when your mind wanders you just acknowledge that and go back to what you were focusing on. That bit was HUGE because no one ever told me that before. He said ‘People say empty your mind. You can’t empty your mind; on one can. Just do your best, and when it wanders, just come on back.’. So I use that. Music helps.

    We have a good friend that just moved away. We got to know her as she worked with daughter on some issues. Turned out we could all use her help dealing with all the energy in the world around us.
    Dr. Gail has helped us immensely. It never hurts to say hello to the Angels or to greet the sun in the morning.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That knowledge that you can’t really “empty your mind” to meditate, but you can give it a job to distract it is huge. Minds wander – lovingly bringing it back from its virtual trip to Target to count breathing (or whatever) is what my yoga teacher suggests. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  3. That “breathe deep” thing sometimes works, but mostly what helps is getting a quick change of focus: stepping outside if I’m in the middle of an argument, or even getting up and moving to a different room

    If I’m just feeling anxious about something, listening to some favorite music, or even searching – on the internet – for music is a good focus changer, and I find amazing stuff there!

    And occasionally, playing the piano helps, esp. one of my mom’s favorite songs.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Guess I have never thought of it as a self-soothing practice, but for me, meditating, at least half an hour a day, has been a lifesaver.

    I’ve tried yoga and Tai Chi as well, but, while I’ve had positive results, and am a firm believer in the value of both, I have only sporadically dabbled in them for short periods of time. In other words, I don’t do them consistently.

    To me, though, just knowing that I have the tools to bring myself back to some semblance of calmness despite whatever turmoil is unfolding around me, is helpful.

    I looked at the link Ben provided above, and Dr. Gail looks like a wonderful friend to have. Her website offers lots of really good, simple exercises and other methods for improving both body and mind. I checked out a couple of her Youtube videos, and liked them. Thanks, Ben. I’m sure you were sorry to see her move away.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dr Gail still does ‘distance work’ so that’s something, but it’s not the same as being there. The work she did with daughter early on… I would have been dubious of all this ‘waving hands’ stuff, but I saw with my own eyes the way daughter would react and there’s no denying there was a connection.
      If nothing else, the distance work at least gives you some positive encouragement to reflect on.

      Just let the dogs outside. I sat in the sunshine on the front step for a few minutes and it was nice.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Margot and Matilda sound like little charmers. I miss all that neighborhood interaction in the wintertime.

    I have a few self-soothing activities. I found the Great British Baking Show to be soothing during the pandemic isolation when I needed to occupy myself. However, I am now so weary of TV, Netflix, Hulu and HGTV that I think I will not be interested this Spring and Summer as I have other options for soothing and entertaining myself available. HGTV is soothing in a weird way because you always know how a show ends. The house is beautiful and everyone is happy, even if I suspect that may not be the reality of that particular experience.

    My dog is soothing as well, especially when I rub her ears. She loves it and I love it, and our spirits meet in the comfort of each other when we engage in a little ear massage. Our late, great dog Lucky had the softest, silkiest Beagle ears which simply begged for rubbing.

    While we were away this year, I installed an indoor, Simply Safe camera in the kitchen/living area so I could watch destruction and construction of the area, then offer my opinions. The contractor and I go back and forth about various choices with this method. I find the ability to peak at my own house soothes my home sickness which occurs each winter I am away from home. Today the cabinets in my kitchen are being installed. Friday the contractor told me he would disconnect the camera today so I cannot see any more. This morning I found that indeed, he did disconnect it, so now I am unsoothed and dying of curiosity (also known as nosy-ness) because I cannot see what is going on there. AHHHH.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree that vs’ little neighbors sound delightful.

      I feel your pain, Jacque, better do some deep breathing exercises. By now, though, you should have a pretty good idea of how competent and reliable your contractor is. Here’s a video to help soothe your nerves:

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Oh Man! he shouldn’t be allowed to do that! 🙂 Was it because you had too many suggestions? Will he hook it back up again when they’re done?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that things are a mess while they install and he wants to clean up before we look. I have been careful not too make too many suggestions. He is really fun to work with.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Yes. It is so different than it had been–much larger. It should be far more functional. The cabinets are just a basic beige but the island is a Scandanavian blue. I am very pleased with the entire thing. This same contractor remodeled the rest of the house in 2015 and dealt with the mold in the floor from a pinhole leak in a pipe between floors. That was a good experience, so we were happy to work with him again.

          Liked by 5 people

  6. Walks in the neighborhood are meditative and soothing. Cozying up with a dog, also soothing. Waiting on hold to be told by Walgreen’s that no, they can’t do the simple thing I want done with no reason why… not soothing. A couple of deep breaths and a look over each shoulder can reduce immediate stress or anxiety – good when you find your shoulders hunching up during a meeting (or while listening to hold music for 20+ minutes).

    Last night binging several episodes of “Ted Lasso” proved to be more soothing than I expected.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. OT – It’s time to start confirming the straw deliveries. Looks like spring may be earlier than later again this year.
    There’s still a little room in the truck.

    I have VS and tim. And someone sent a message recently and I didn’t get it added to the list and now I can find it.

    Oops… sorry about that!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Asking “How do you self-soothe?” begs the question, “What are you soothing against?” and “How much of what you’re soothing against is self-imposed?”
    Let me preface with the disclaimer that I happen to be at a point in my life where I have a fair amount of control over what I choose to do or not do. That’s one of the benefits of irrelevance. I understand and remember that at different points in one’s life outside pressures can be stressors.

    But I know myself well enough by now to recognize some underlying factors that contribute to my feeling stress:

    1. I don’t like to be rushed. I have my own natural rhythm for doing things and it tends to be slow and deliberate and persistent and when others try to impose another rhythm on me I find it stressful. During last year’s pandemic situation, the incidence of speeding drivers and running red lights has increased. I tend to regard that as an subliminal expression of stress on the part of those drivers. They seldom achieve anything and I meet them again at the next stop light.
    Whenever I’m in a situation where a clerk is trying to do more than one thing and they ask if I can wait, I like to tell them, “take your time”. It reminds me to slow down as well.

    2. I don’t like to be overbooked. For me a filled calendar is stressful. Because of that I’m not usually the one filling it but I try to keep a healthy proportion of open days.

    Of course, many stressors are beyond one’s control, even when one is a retired geezer. I’ve never pursued any of the formalized practices aimed at relieving stress, like meditation, because emptying my mind has never been an objective. I like the stuff in my mind—that’s my playground. The way I cope with incipient stress has always been through the rabbit holes I choose for myself. A lot of them entail research and a deep dive into some apparently arcane subject but they can also be physical activities, the bookbinding for instance, or some art project that I find pleasurable (and slow and deliberate.)

    Something about walking, especially when I can walk at my natural pace, allows my thoughts to range widely. I never wear earphones or listen to music or podcasts when I walk because I like my ruminations to flow freely and uninterrupted. It’s refreshing.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Watching the birds at the feeder in the back yard is pretty soothing, except when our neighborhood Sharp Shinned Hawk is devouring a sparrow on the ground under the maple tree.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Self-smoothing to sleep
    I am a Duke University freshman quarterback and free safety
    Kick-off to the goal line.
    First and 10.
    Picked up. Score! Duke!
    Extra point is good.
    7-0 Duke.
    Kick off.
    First and 10. Back to pass. Picked off at midfield returned to the 30, 20…touchdown Duke! Wes scores on back to back plays.
    Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera
    I rarely know how many points I score
    Bored to sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

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