I thought I'd share a few child-related anecdotes and photos before returning to writing topics. I should warn you that this post is not for the faint of heart, though.
Alex starting using a pacifier very early--and kept on using it. He doesn't use it at daycare, and while it's mostly at bedtime, sometimes he uses it around the house. Although he can speak fairly well, and his dentist wasn't too concerned, we didn't want this dragging on forever. So when he lost some of his pacis, we didn't replace them. Soon he was down to one well-chewed paci. It had so many holes in it I doubt he could really use it; he just clung to it for security.
Yesterday, after naptime, Alex brought his paci with him while he used the toilet. Well, he flushed, then dropped his paci, and down it went. Even if I could've caught it, it certainly wasn't usable anymore! Alex was extremely upset, crying, yelling, and kept demanding his paci back "right now." I comforted him, but I told him it wasn't coming back. To distract him, I tried a technique I'd read about: I told him the paci fairy took it but would give him a toy in exchange. Fortunately, I had a bunch of toys one of my coworkers brought back from Japan, and we had fun opening them and playing with them for a while.
The paci fairy had one more gift for Alex, though. When he went to bed, he found one of the Thomas the Tank Engine trains waiting for him. (We bought a secondhand collection, which we intend to give him gradually.) He accepted it as a new comfort object and slept with it. I had prepared myself for a problematic bedtime, but he went down easily.
Looking back now, I wonder if we could have taken the paci from Alex sooner. But I think there are some advantages to the way it did work out. He knows it's gone, he can't blame us for taking it from him, and he got a chance to "get the mourning" out of his system, so to speak. Ah, our son is growing up.