So on our 9-month visit, we’re sitting there with Bub, waiting for the doctor to tell us what a strapping young lad he’s grown into, no doubt the result of superior parenting, etc., etc.
I thought he might even give us a small plaque, though we would have settled for a framed certificate. Instead he walked in, took one look at Bub, then gave us that look of mild disgust/pity I’ve become familiar with from McDonalds’ assistant managers who catch me ducking out the exit after only lovin’ their tidy lavatories, and says, “You know he shouldn’t have that after six months, right?” He was pointing at Bub's pirate-themed fikey.
Umm, no. Might have mentioned that at our 6-month appointment, don’t ya think? In fact, why don’t you just install a little fikey burial ground right here in your office. Like turning in your student ID and all those sweet discounts that go with it, you graduate at six months, hand over your fikey. Why not use an aquarium, get all artsy with it? How about a Take a Fikey, Leave a Fikey jar, like at 7-11? Better yet, why don’t you recycle them, you Earth-hating cretin?
Did I mention that I’m a little sensitive on this whole “parenting” topic?
Okay, so his delivery could have been better, but the message certainly got through. Hmm, shame as motivation; I’ll have to try that with Bub someday. Perhaps tomorrow.
Now I’ve seen at least a dozen little kids way older than my son running around, sucking on fikeys like it was their chosen profession. Their area of expertise, their raison d’etre. And I gave every single parent the same stink-eye our pediatrician laid upon us. No, that’s not true, actually. As I can attest, parents have enough crap going on without having to hear it from other parents. And some of them (no names, but see above) are really touchy about criticisms, suggestions, sometimes even compliments.
The doc’s point was simply that Bub needs to learn to live without it. Fikeys, he so poetically put, are really for parents and not the kids. Especially after a certain age, kids just don’t need the soothing effects of the fikey. (Quick interjection: That’s the same thing he told us about sleep training. I’m starting to see a pattern here, but I pity the fool who tells my wife that breast-feeding is actually for the parents, and not the kids. That could only end poorly.)
Anyway, we’re weaning, and we’ve quickly found that he doesn’t really even want the thing anymore. Oh, the fickle, fickle minds of our little friends. There’s just so many more interesting things now to cram in his face. He also likes to practice yodeling on a fairly regular basis; really hard to do with a fikey in your mouth, trust me.
We do still use it at night (don’t tell Dr. S), but we’re slowly breaking him of that habit. It’s a fine line—if he’s too tired, he cries, needs fikey. Not tired enough, he’s irritated, needs fikey. Right in the middle though, there is a perfect balance. Put him down with his bankie, a stirring rendition of ‘On Top of Spaghetti,’ all is right with the world, and no fikeys are harmed in the slumbering of this baby.
Does anybody else remember that picture of Tom Cruise’s kid a few years ago, fikey-ing away? I hadn’t even the slightest notion of parental guidance, yet even I remember thinking hey, that girl’s way too old for that (she was probably five). Now I think, “Whatever. I’m sure they had their reasons. Who am I to criticize?”