Little boy R , age 2 and 1/2, has two binkies, the bright yellow one and the bright blue one. He uses them to go to sleep, always in the same configuration - the bright blue one in his mouth and the bright yellow one in his hand, touching his face. He loves them.
For a couple months we have been talking about giving away the binkies. We talked about putting them in a box and putting the box in the trash. I gave him a box. He put the binkies in it, but took them out shortly after. He would talk about putting the binkies in the box, putting the box in the garbage, and then the garbage man would take the binkies away. He would talk about doing it tomorrow. But he was never ready to do it.
Recently I upped the ante by telling R he could have a backpack after he gave away his binkies. We found this adorable school backpack, grey with an orange monster on it.
Then I went online and read how one mom had her toddler give the binkeys to a fireman, so the fireman could "give them to sad little babies to make them happy." R was all over this idea. The giving-away-binkies chatter increased to a level where I actually called Hanna Anderson and put an orange monster backpack on hold. (We also went to Target and tried on every backpack, and had a meltdown when I didn't trust his pledge to give away the binkies after we got the backpack.)
Thursday morning R seemed ready. We made cookies for the firemen. We put the binkies in the box. We took the above picture of R with his binkies in the box. (You can kind of see where he had the box in his mouth.) We talked about the backpack. R asked me to pretend to be the backpack, waiting for him in the store: "Where is that R? Is R coming to take me home? I can't wait until I am R's backpack."
We drove to the fire station. When the fireman let us in, R gave him the cookies, and I said, "Hi - do you have kids?" He didn't, but I managed to somewhat explain the ulterior motive of our visit and why he might receive a Fred Meyer jewelry box from the toddler. After the tour, I asked R if he wanted to give the binkies to the fireman. He did. R handed the binky box to the fireman, who put it in his pocket and helped my toddler climb into the engine driver's seat. I almost choked up - so easy.
"And I do what with this?" the fireman asked me, kindly. "Whatever you want," I said quietly, gesturing a nonchalant toss. Slowly and louder I said, "You give them to little babies who are sad, so they can be happy."
R was ecstatic to finally get the backpack. Every mom in the store got the story and was appropriately sympathetic and charmed by my child. The backpack is way too big for a two-year-old.
That evening, R practiced putting on the backpack until he could do it all by himself. He put a lego guy in the backpack. He practiced opening and closing the little pocket and the big pocket. He wore the backpack all around the house and took it to bed. But he couldn't get to sleep. "I feel sad, I miss my binkies." "I want to go to the fire station and get my binkies back from the fireman." Sobbing, "I need my binkies."
For three days he cried at night about missing his binkies. Now several days have passed with no binky tears, but I'm afraid we might lose the afternoon nap altogether.