Goodbye, nukker!

(I wrote this post back on May 17, three months ago, and it’s been sitting in my “drafts” file ever since.  I’m finally posting it now, but I added an update at the bottom.)

Long-time blog readers will know that for quite a while I’ve been trying to find a way to break Jujubee of her nukker [pacifier] habit.  She only uses it at sleep times, but she HAS to have it to sleep.  Over the past few months, I can tell that she doesn’t need it as much as she used to; when I check on her at night when I go to bed, it has often fallen out of her mouth, and she doesn’t wake up looking for it at night.  If it has not fallen out, I often take it out myself and set it on the pillow next to her.  For over a year of my life (probably closer to two years), I got up at least twice a night to replace the nukker once it had fallen out of her mouth.  So I have had years of nights of interrupted sleep.  And considering that with all of her health problems when she was an infant, she didn’t even start truly sleeping through the night until she was 16 months old …  I have had a lot of wakeful nights with my little girl.

However, I think that her days of using a nukker may be behind her.  Woo-hoo!

I mentioned before how in May Jujubee has been going to Kindergarten two mornings a week.  Earlier this week on Tuesday, I went to bring her home after noon recess.  However she begged me to let her stay for the afternoon part of Kindergarten.  “I want to have rest time with the kids!” she wailed.  I knew that she indeed DID want to stay for rest time, as she asks almost every time, and my answer is always “no.”

But on Tuesday, for whatever reason, I consulted with her teacher, AM, and asked her what she thought about this request.  AM said that it was fine with her if Jujubee stayed.  Jujubee was, of course, delighted.  🙂

I went down after an hour or so to check on how Jujubee was doing, just in case she was melting down and needed to be taken home.  But she was fine; the Kindergarteners have mats they sleep on, and my girl was still sound asleep on her mat.  However, the classroom lights were turned back on, all the other kids were up and working on an activity at the table, music was playing, all while Jujubee was still sound asleep on the floor.  AM and I discussed it, and I said that if it wasn’t too much of a bother, could Jujubee continue sleeping until she woke up?  That worked out fine, Jujubee woke up happy and excited to still be at school.

After school, I said to Jujubee, “You were such a big girl!  You took a good nap at school, and you didn’t even need to use your nukker!  Do you think you are a big enough girl to be all done with your nukker?”

Jujubee thought seriously about that a bit, and then said definitively, “Yes, I’m a big girl.  I need NO MORE NUKKER!”

Wow! I thought.  I said to AM, “If this afternoon of her napping in your classroom truly does cure Jujubee of her nukker addiction, then I owe you a huge debt of gratitude!”

I brought up the nukker topic again at supper tonight when Daddy was there, and Jujubee reiterated that she was a big girl and needed No More Nukker.  JJ and I looked at each other with an expression that reflected our doubts about how bedtime would go.

Bedtime soon arrived.  As the girls were getting ready for bed, to my amazement, without the topic even being brought up, Jujubee voluntarily walked over to her nightstand, picked up the four nukkers off of it, and pronounced, “I’m all done with the nukkers.  I’m going to throw them away.” She carried them to the garbage can and dropped them in one at a time.  Lyd and I looked at each other with astonished eyes, but neither of us said anything.

After bedtime stories and prayers, as usual, I asked the girls if they had anything they wanted to pray for.  Jujubee thought for a bit, and then said, “I want to thank Jesus that I throwed away my nukkers.”  And she did.


Over the past months, I have repeatedly told her that when she was a big enough girl, she wouldn’t need her nukkers anymore.  I told her that she could decide when she was done, and that she could tell me when she was done.  And that’s just what happened!

Interestingly, that was the same approach I took with Jujubee’s big sister Lyd when she didn’t want to poop on the potty.  She was fully potty trained, except she wanted to do her poop in a diaper.  So, while I allowed Lyd to poop that way, I gently but repeatedly told Lyd that when she was big enough, she would make her poop on the potty.  And one morning, just days before Jujubee was born, she did!  I praised her, and asked if she thought she was now big enough to do ALL of her poop on the potty, and Lyd enthusiastically responded that she was!  And, that was that.

Apparently, that approach DOES indeed work!


Update: It’s been three months since Jujubee threw away her nukkers.  That first night, she had a very difficult time falling asleep.  It took her quite a while, and there were lots of tears.  Part of me wanted to cave, but the stronger side of me wanted her to be able to succeed.  So, when she cried for her nukker, I gently said, “You threw them in the garbage, remember?”  Jujubee cried then about being sad that she threw her nukkers away, but she didn’t ask to go get them out of the garbage.  Later that night, when she was finally asleep, I did rescue her nukkers from the garbage, washed them carefully, and hid them in the kitchen where Jujubee wouldn’t see them.

In the morning, I praised her for sleeping without a nukker, and I ignored the fact that there had been so much crying.  She was sort of proud of herself for making it through the night, but she reminded me that she was sad about it.  I told her it was okay to be sad, but that she was still a big girl.  That night, she cried a bit more, saying, “I’m sad about my nukkers.”  I hugged her and said that I knew she was sad, and that it was okay.

By the third night she told me she was still sad, but she didn’t cry about it.  She also went to sleep at her usual quick speed.

And from then on, she was okay without her nukker.  If you ask her today, she scoffs at nukkers and says that she’s a Big Girl and she Doesn’t Need a Nukker!  She’s quite proud of herself now.

In the end, I was very glad that it worked out the way it did.  It really helped that we didn’t have to deal with nukkers during the move and with our long trip to Wisconsin.  It’s all good.

And the nukkers?  I threw them away when we were packing up the kitchen.  She never knew that I had kept them, and she never used them again.