Binkie Drama

September 29th, 2019


Don’t tell anyone, but my daughter Phoebe still uses a binkie. She is nearly five. I myself sucked my thumb until I was eight and would have continued were it not for my new stepfather on the scene, who bribed me with cash money to stop. What can I say; I’ve always been a capitalist. 

Not only does Phoebe use a binkie, but she technically has a two-binkie situation going on: the regular rubber type of binkie I invested in ages ago because it seemed the least toxic and gross and offensive to the eyes, and the tiny little plastic baby binkie that glows in the dark and is covered with Disney-esque curlicues. The latter binkie was acquired in an emergency when we were staying with family and I realized I had not brought a binkie. My hero cousin stole one from her own baby to give to us. Of course, this binkie — “special binkie,” as it has come to be known — is the one that really matters to Phoebe. 

She doesn’t necessarily suck on it, because it’s too small and has also had a rip in it for at least a year. As any mom of a binkie-sucker knows, a binkie with even the tiniest hole in it is garbage. But Phoebe has clung to special binkie, despite it being ineffective, for over a year. At night, she has to have both binkies with her, and if (when) she comes into our bed, she brings them both. 

So many times, special binkie has fallen out of her hand at night and gotten lost under pillows, amidst blankets, or even under the bed. We have launched many full-scale searches for special binkie over the years. Last night, though, was the end of the road for special binkie. 

Even though special binkie doesn’t “work,” Phoebe still likes to pull regular binkie out of her mouth and pop in special binkie every once in a while. Last night, when she did this during an already tumultuous and emotional bedtime, the entire tip ripped off poor little special binkie, leaving just the puny blue handle and a jagged piece of rubber. 


Naturally, Phoebe freaked. I ended up having to pull her into my bed for an hour-long discussion about why we can’t bring special binkie back to “the factory” to have it repaired. This led to me reading several more children’s books. This led to me getting really tired of children’s books and suspecting that she wasn’t getting sleepy, while I was. This led to me telling her I would keep reading if I could read my own book, the historical novel The Mayflower, which, at the point I’m in, is largely about the bloody battles of King Philip’s War and the tragic fate of the Native American culture in their own homeland. This led to me creatively reading sentences without saying things like “murder” or “bloody corpse” or “his head impaled on a stick” out loud. 

It was a long night. It was so heartbreaking to witness her despair over special binkie. The tears! But I kept thinking about the word resilience, which Eliza’s teacher was discussing at parent night at their school recently. I agree that it’s important to teach your kids resilience, and if special binkie was meant to be an agent of that cause, I certainly am glad I’ve put up with that sidebar binkie for so long, and also glad that, like all good things, it has now come to an end. 

Although I suspect that special binkie’s reign is not over — we still have the handle.

What I’m reading: 

Jonathan Van Ness of ‘Queer Eye’ Comes Out << This guy is the hero we need right now, and also, he just endorsed Elizabeth Warren like a boss.

Mayflower, an incredibly vivid historical retelling of exactly how my plucky, obnoxious Puritan ancestors made it happen come hell, high water, or Native Americans back in the 1600s.

What I’m listening to:

New favorite podcast: Preach

What I’m working on:

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