Derek, Jeff, Aaron and I recently flew to the east coast to visit my family. This was the boys' second plane ride. I never wrote about the first one because it was during the holidays and life was so crazy so let me take you back to a simpler time, nine months ago, before the boys were mobile.
The first plane trip was to the west coast for Christmas. The boys were about nine months old. Traveling with them was a lot of work just due to the fact that we had blankets, diapers, formula, bottles, strollers, car seats, extra clothes, pacifiers, toys, snacks, etc. Nevertheless, the flights went pretty smoothly. Both boys slept a good deal of the time, pooped/peed a little (changing a diaper in an airplane bathroom really does look like a contortionist act!), and made friends with the sweet flight attendants. I was with Jeff on the way out and the cutest thing was that he fell asleep during the descent with his hand wrapped around a couple of my fingers.
This recent plane trip was a little -- ok, a lot -- more chaotic. There was less poop which was good. There was more screaming and wriggling around and the boys were pretty antsy too. (Ba dum bum.) Now that the boys are mobile and more energetic, sitting for a few hours is practically impossible. Most of my pictures these days are blurry because they never stop moving.
Back to the September plane ride now.
We arrived in NYC about 7:00 p.m. and the boys, who hadn't slept for at least six hours or so, were due for bed. By the time we got to my parents' place we were sure they would want to sleep, although we gave them a little time to get used to the new environment and people.. After a little while we tried to do our nightly routine of low lights, pajamas, a bottle and maybe a book or a song before bed. We gave them pacifiers and put them into their pack-and-plays.
That's pretty much all I remember from that first night because it was so chaotic after that. My boys have never really liked going to bed and going to bed in a strange place with a strange bed made it so much harder.
So, long story short, throughout the week they did better and better with their new "beds" but still fought going to sleep quite a bit. Towards the end of the week they started to realize that a pacifier meant it was time for bed. As we would put them in their pack-and-plays, they would rip the pacifiers from their mouths and throw them to the ground as a show of 17 month old defiance. (Aren't baby protests kind of cute in a way?) We would return the pacifier but after a several times we just let them throw it away and finally had to just leave the room. Derek and I noticed, though, that each night, after throwing out their pacifiers, the screams lasted less and less time.
When we got back to Chicago we decided this was our opportunity. The boys had spent the last few days without pacifiers and it was now or never to break the habit. So we did it. We stopped giving them pacifiers for their naps and overnight sleeps.
The first night wasn't bad. The second night I put Jeff in his bed while Derek put Aaron down. Aaron screamed his head off (he's Aaron -- have you met him? He likes to use his lungs). Jeff wasn't crying at all. He let me lay him down, peacefully, in his crib and then signed "pacifier" to me.
My heart broke. I had to tell him that the pacifiers were "all done." He just looked at me, a little dejected. I kissed him, told him I loved him, gave Aaron a kiss, told him I loved him, and left the room. Then Jeff started to cry. I can't tell you how hard that was.
It has now been close to a week since we got home and the no pacifier rule has been going well. The boys seem OK with the new world order and have asked for a pacifier a few times but always manage to fall asleep without one as long as we do our new favorite song, "Pease Porridge Hot" with lots of clapping, about 73 times before bed.
On Tuesday, however, I caught Jeff sucking his thumb while I was changing his diaper.
There might be a new habit to break.