I’m quite open minded when it comes to parenting, each to their own. I feel that being a parent, especially the first year, is all about survival and a parent needs to do whatever they need to do in order to get through and survive.
There is one parenting choice that I cannot stand though, one thing that I detest more than anything else.
I hate them. To see a newborn baby with a lump of plastic covering half it’s face is the saddest sight. At the other end of the scale, seeing 2,3,4 year olds walking around with dummies – attached to their top with a clip so they can always have it close at hand. Repulsive.
This topic is quite close to my heart. I, like a lot of children, had a dummy. I remember this dummy vividly. It was orange plastic with a teat that had gone yellow from years of use. I remember clearly being told to say bye bye to the dummy and to put it in the toilet. My parents then flushed the toilet and I screamed like I’ve never screamed before.
I was 4 years old.
This dummy was such a huge part of my life that I wouldn’t go anywhere without it, slept with it, carried it everywhere. I only took it out of my mouth to eat!
It was at this point, age 4, that my parents realised it had become a problem. Yes, it took them that long.
The trouble was that I had learnt to talk with dummies in my mouth. I would push the teat to the side of my mouth and talk around it. When that dummy was taken away from me I may as well have been mute, none of my words were clear and the pronunciation was completely off.
I had speech therapy for at least a year after getting rid of the dummy. I couldn’t pronounce my L’s or S’s mainly and remember the therapy sessions as though they were yesterday. Mum and I would walk to the Health Centre after my nursery session once a week and sit in a room with a lady surrounded by toys. She’d get me to talk about the toys and even gave me homework – I remember having to colour in a picture of a snake with s words all over it…
After a year. ‘nake’ became Snake, ‘yoyyy’ became Lolly or Lorry, ‘yam’ became Lamb.
From memory this was an incredibly stressful time for me as a child and looking back I cannot believe that my parents 1) gave me dummies and 2) didn’t take it away until so late.
I now cannot stand dummies. They epitomise to me everything I have said in this post, I look at dummies and I see a shy, uncomfortable, little redheaded girl who spent 4 years with the comfort of her dummy. I see the trauma of dummies being taken away and the difficulty of learning to speak properly again without dummies.
LP never had a dummy and Little Man will never have one either. I would hate for my children to have to go through what I went through as a child because of a choice I’ve made to give them a dummy when no baby ‘needs’ a dummy – or any other ‘comfort’ object, blankets, teddies etc. When you give something to your child you have to think of how you’re one day going to take that thing away and the implications that could have for your child.