I watched the social media furore over Harper Beckham’s dummy with a resigned air of weariness. Here we go again I sighed as the mob took to the virtual streets to gnash its teeth over nothing.
Then the dummy debate crossed over into the mainstream media as stories so often do these days, and I thought, “Hang on maybe I’ve missed something. It’s in “the news”now. Must be important.”
But then I remembered it was August and in lieu of terrorism and natural disaster the media have nothing to report. So they report the parenting choices of a famous family. To be fair there was a big segment about knitting on BBC News Channel today which in comparison makes the Beckham’s dummy use look like a North Korean missile strike.
I assume Katie Hopkins had an opinion on the situation. I wish someone would stick a dummy in her mouth. Actually I don’t know what it was because I have to avoid her pronouncements so I don’t commit random acts of violence in the streets, but I bet she compared dummy use to child abuse. Something like that.
Hands up who gives a shit?
Quite a lot of people apparently. For a while this week the dummy debate pushed the migrant crisis, ISIS, milk prices and even the latest cute cat and dog story off the news agenda. It did get me thinking on the way home today – is it really a problem if your child is still using a dummy?
I’ll say it now, I’m not a fan. Before Little B was born I made grand foolish claims that we wouldn’t use one. Then about five minutes into the first night home I capitulated. Because he couldn’t suck Mrs B’s boob all night *sad face* and we needed an hour’s peace.
Since then we’ve read the official advice on dummies.
And then like lots of baby advice we’ve ignored it and done our own thing.
As a rule our boy only gets his dummies (yes, he wants three at bedtime) at night. We play tug of war every morning until they pop out of his tiny mouth; it’s like prizing limpets off rocks but we get there eventually.
Isn’t it quite satisfying when you get them out? Like popping a spot or peeling glue off your fingers. “Arrgh my skin is falling off! Haha! It’s glue! What do you mean grow up?”
Then if Little B sees a D-Bomb lying around he’ll make a bee-line for it and unless you’re Usain Bolt it will be securely at home in his Beautiful South before you can say Iggle Piggle. So we do our best to round-up the dummies and pop them in the dish washer.
The other time is if we’re out – usually on a train or bus – and he’s getting cranky. It’s that or subject the public to a VERY LOUD WAILING. No one likes that do they? So in goes the dummy.
Oh – question, as Beyonce might say. Does anyone call them soothers? I was using that term because dummy has connotations of stoopid. But then a friend said, “Do you say diapers too?”
I hadn’t even considered we were being all American. Mrs B just told me some people have even weirder names for them: num-num anyone?!
Anyway, back to the non-controversy at hand. Little B is sixteen months old and I think we will gradually start weaning him off the dummy at night when he is two. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not about to force him and set-back his sleeping through the night. As if!
So if he still wants it at bedtime when he is three I’m not going to panic. Just like I didn’t panic when he took a bit longer to say some words, or because he still uses a cup with a lid and doesn’t drink from a beaker. Like my views on much of this child-rearing lark unless there is a serious developmental issue I think babies will all get there in the end. ‘There’ being walking, talking, using a potty, a knife and fork, and dressing themselves. Hopefully not all at the same time.
I know some parents are obsessed with telling other parents what to do. Those people can all fuck off.
Advice is welcome when it’s requested. But making other parents feel like shit when they’re trying to love their children is totally out of order.
And I’m sure some of the people having a go at the Beckhams weren’t even parents. I can’t even be arsed to swear at them.
So to end my small rant on dummy soother num nums, here are the pros and cons to using a dummy past the recommended age of one year old:
- Pro: it feels dangerous. You’ve crossed the parenting Rubicon. It’s like sneaking in a McDonalds on the way home from a night out when you’re meant to be on a health kick. Super Nanny might find out and put you on the naughty step.
- Con: they look a bit naff. Let’s face it – even the most stylish dummy still makes your baby toddler child look like a cabbage patch kid.
- Pro: it keeps them quiet. What more do you need?
- Con: when they are trying to chat to you, you can’t understand a word. So yes, I can see why it can affect speech development.
- Pro: it can help them sleep through the night.
- Con: they might never sleep through without it.
- Pro: it makes a good percussion sound when you pop them out. Sample it.
- Con: this popping sound is often shortly followed by a crying sound.
- Pro: eventually your child will decide they don’t need a dummy anymore because they don’t want to be a baby.
- Con: dummy debates cause people to act like dicks on social media.
So if you’ve weaned your toddler off their dummy or never used one well done.
And if you are using a dummy please don’t worry about it. OK. Maybe if they’ve still got it when they’re a teenager you might want to get some help.
If you fancy continuing the debate feel free to comment but obviously don’t be a dummy about it.
Categories: Big Issues