At the age of 4, Oldest is long past the point where she should be using a pacifier. It is a source of parental guilt and embarrassment to me that I still allow her to have it when all the blogs and advice columns and parenting magazines admonish of the evil effects of long-term use. I do restrict the use of the "paci" to naptime and bedtime, but I can't quite bring myself to take it away altogether. I see what deep emotional comfort it is to her. I see the anxiety and tension and exhaustion in her little body, and then I hand her Brown Blankie and a paci. As soon as it is in her mouth, I see her visibly relax with relief and comfort, measurably calmer and more centered.
I wish I still had a paci. I wish I had a Blankie and a paci that I could take and that immediately offered me a feeling of safety and comfort and contentment. Why are we so eager to take that away from our children? Why do we need them to "grow up" and why do we ever need to grow up so much that we aren't allowed to have items that comfort us?
I guess I do have things that comfort me. The oh-so-cozy-but-not-exactly-sexy fleece pajamas I wear unfailingly to bed all winter. A grande skim no-water chai tea latte from Starbucks. Being immersed in a great book. A Diet Coke. My husband hugging me. My deep, soft, warm bed. Emily smiling at me. A phone call from my Mom. My kids snuggling up to me and listening quietly as we read a book. Crafting something that pleases me. Time alone to waste playing a game or surfing the internet or watching tv. Mexican food. Sharing a laugh with my husband over some endearing silliness the girls committed that day.
Simple things when I see them listed. Nothing expensive or impressive about any of them. Just as a paci is such a simple thing that brings such obvious immediate comfort and pleasure. So advice be damned, I am not taking that paci away until she lets me know she is good and ready. And don't you dare try to pry that chai tea out of my hands. Comfort is a precious thing, and I am taking it where I can.
What comforts you?