When Brianne turned three, we decided it was time to wean her off her pacifier. This was accomplished with a two-step plan of restricting her to only at night for sleeping, and then taking it away entirely when she wasn’t as dependent on it.

Step one went smoother than expected; Although she did ask for it often, she wasn’t heartbroken when we repeatedly told her “no”. Sometimes, however, the DT’s would creep on and she would need a hit. This is the story of one of those times.

The afternoon had begun as so many others. We were in her room reading stories, something lighthearted about bears or monsters. As we finished the book, she looked towards her bookcase, deciding what to read next. Then her eyes drifted. Her pacifier was kept on those shelves as well. Her pupils dilated and her skin became waxy. As nonchalantly as a toddler can be, she got up and walked straight to the bookcase, up on her step stool, nose-to-plug with the pacifier. She brushed her hair away. She shuffled her feet. She smiled.

“Daddy,” she said, turning towards me. “Go away for a minute.”

“Are we done reading books?” I innocently asked.

“Go downstairs.” She answered.

I stood and walked to the door. In my peripheral vision I could see her eyes locked on my back, her hand slowly extending closer and closer to her pacifier as I moved further and further across the room. I stopped. Her hand froze. I turned around slowly in the hallway, giving her time to snap her arm down.

“You’re not thinking about that pacifier, are you?” I asked.

She smiled widely, giggling in place of answering.

“I’m going downstairs. Come down and play with me in a few minutes, OK?”

More giggles, her arm now rising towards the shelf with no regard for my gaze.

“Close the door, Daddy.”