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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.
Everyone has a line though and mine is with dummies. I just can’t agree with them and they are not something I would ever use unless they were medically necessary. I hate them.
I hate seeing newborn babies with lumps of plastic covering half their faces. At the other end of the scale, seeing 2,3,4 year olds walking around with dummies is horrendous too. I just don’t see a need for it.
But, my thoughts on summies aren’t unfounded. I don’t hate dummies just because they’re ugly and look awful in photos. This topic is quite close to my heart.
I, like a lot of children, had a dummy and I remember my dummy vividly. It was orange plastic with a teat that had gone yellow from years of use. I had it day and night for years and it was my most treasured possession.
When my parents thought I’d had the dummy long enough and realised it had become a problem they decided it was time to go cold turkey with it. 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.
That dummy was such a huge part of my life and I wouldn’t go anywhere without it, I slept with it and I carried it everywhere. I only took it out of my mouth to eat! It was attached to me constantly for such a long time.
The trouble was that I had learnt to talk with a dummy 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 as no-one could understand me. I couldn’t pronounce my L’s or S’s mainly and remember the therapy sessions as though they were yesterday. My mother 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. Each time I said one of the s words I could colour a section.
After a year. ‘nake’ became Snake, ‘yo-yie’ became Lolly or Lorry, ‘yam’ became Lamb. It was a slow process and one that wouldn’t have been necessary if it hadn’t been for the dummy.
This was an incredibly stressful time for me as a child – and no doubt for my parents too. Looking back I cannot believe that my parents gave me a dummy and let me keep it for so many years. I am sure they had the same thoughts as well.
Because of what I went through I cannot stand dummies. I look at dummies and I see a shy, uncomfortable, little redheaded girl who spent the first four years of her life with the comfort of that dummy. I see the trauma of dummies being taken away and the difficulty of learning to speak properly again without a dummy in her mouth. I see such much unnecessary stress and upset. It’s something I just couldn’t put my children through.
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 to make my own life as a parent easier. It’s completely different if they have a medical condition that dictates the need for a dummy but I know these cases are a minority.
When you give something to your child as a comforter you have to think that one day you will need to take that away and the implications that could have for your child. I think this is something many parents don’t think about when giving their baby a dummy for the first time but it was the first thought for me.