My Precious……….Dummy

13 Jan

The other day I did something wildly spontaneous, relatively speaking. I popped out for some basic supplies and passed a cinema. I used to love going to the cinema in the olden days (pre-parent). I used to go straight from work and would use Monday’s half price ticket offer to justify seeing two movies, one after another. I love the escapism that film offers, it wouldn’t take long before my thoughts were cleansed of work and I was being taken to another place. I would volunteer each year for the Melbourne International Film Festival, selling tickets and showing people to their seats in return for a festival pass. This was my Golden Ticket and I would pour through the Festival Program picking out the most mind bending selection I could manage, making sure that like any good lolly bag I had a little bit of everything. That night the cinema, a cinema I walk past quite happily most days, beckoned me – “come in dear boy and make your self at home, its been too long”. I didn’t need to be asked twice.

The Hobbit was about to start. I have fond memories of my Dad reading The Hobbit to me when I was a wee lad. Imagine what a book like that does when paired with the rich imagination of a little boy? I paid the man his money, turned my nose up at the popcorn and scoured the cinema for the perfect seat. I will gladly sit in the corner of the room, 2 foot from the screen, craning my neck in a most unhealthy fashion if it means I don’t have to endure a close encounter with a pack of cinema binge eaters. I’m a mild-mannered chap capable of smiling politely at all manner of provocations, but people who go to the cinema on some sort of culinary expedition irk me. I can condone a single purchase of popcorn, icecream or lollies, that’s fine but if you want a three course Nacho, Hotdog, Icecream extravaganza then go to a bad restaurant. If I am stuck near a pack of cinema suckers, crunchers and slurpers I struggle to focus on the film and tend to fantasise instead about the different ways I could use their confectionary to torture them, you can do a lot of damage with a choc-top if you know what you’re doing.


Fortunately the cinema was full of like minded individuals and my psychotic tendencies went untroubled. I normally plump for a bit of gritty social realism over dwarves and wizards but I was just happy to be back in a cinema. Half way through the film, the character of Gollum was introduced. For anyone who doesn’t know Gollum started out life as Smeagol, a simple man of simple pleasures (is there any other type?) who became corrupted by the evil powers of the One Ring he found whilst out fishing one day. The ring twisted his mind and body into something unrecognisably evil. He had to have the ring at all costs.

A funny thing started happening, Gollum reminded me of someone I knew, I had that nagging feeling where you can’t quite place where you know someone from. Let’s see what we have; referring to himself in the first person, jagged little teeth, appalling table manners, thinning hair, nappy like garment, split personality disorder, part crawl/part walk, values a single object above all else and will harm anyone who tries to come between them – it was Max and his dummy! Just like Gollum Max refers to himself in the first person “Maxy’s precious”, just like Gollum Max has jagged little teeth, thinning hair, wears a nappy, has schizophrenic tendencies, has a hybrid walk/crawl going on, lacks table etiquette and will gladly scratch your eyes out if you try to separate him from his precious, his dummy.


I suppose that makes me a hairy footed, little bodied, Hobbit creature doing his best to part Gollum from his Precious. Not very cool but it will have to do. Max has always had a dummy to go to sleep. We nearly weaned him off it at about 8 months but a 25 hour flight to England showed us it had its charms. He is given his Precious just before bed but the power of his Precious seems to be gaining a stronger pull over poor little Max recently. He gives it up with increasing reluctance each morning, he is often caught trying to engineer a lasso out of his blanket to snaffle his Precious back through the bars of his cot and to try to handle it yourself will see him lash out with violent intent.

Far be it from me to actually read any of the literature on weaning little ones off their precious, I was hoping someone out there, someone with Gandalf like wisdom might have some pearls, before Middle Earth (our house) is doomed forever. Now that we’ve established I am in fact a massive nerd I am off to assemble my Star Wars figurines into piles of Friend, Enemy and Lover, come here Leia.


28 Responses to “My Precious……….Dummy”

  1. Catherine Rodie Blagg @CoTaaB January 13, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    I’m afraid I’ve got no experience in this area as my girls didn’t have dummies. I have heard about a method similar to tooth fairy where dummy is exchanged for a toy.
    Love the photos and the comparison!

    • daddownunder January 13, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      Most strategies seem to involve some form of bribery dont they Catherine? Thanks for the comment

  2. mumabulous January 13, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    It is up to you alone Matt to destroy the dummy in the fires of Mordor! Or you could be like the hobbits of Chez ‘Abulous and just give the toddler the darn thing to stop the whinging. They come to realize soon enough that dummies just aren’t a cool look at daycare. Broad hairy feet on the other hand – that’s hawt!

    • daddownunder January 13, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      Thnaks for getting into character and playing along Ms Abulous. I will make sure I send you a pic of my hairy feet too ; )

  3. Phil Harvey January 13, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Instead of a dummy, our son’s sucker was permanently attached to a small soft teddy bear (affectionately christened Teddy) that was fortunately mass produced. Each time Teddy’s right hand became mangled beyond recognition he would be “admitted to the toy hospital” (no visitors allowed) and then reappear as fresh as the day he first arrived. One day, driving home after visiting an uncle that we rarely saw, our son realised he no longer had Teddy with him. Surprisingly he was contented to be told that Teddy had liked it so much at the uncle’s place he had decided to stay there for a holiday. After asking after him a couple of times through the following few weeks, he soon forgot about Teddy and no longer had the urge to suck on anything.

    • daddownunder January 13, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Lying, cheating, bribing all seem to be fair game to the wily parent. Thanks Phil, I’ll put that one in my locker

  4. Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye January 13, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    You need to find yourself a Fellowship, leave the peace of the dummy sucking shire and head for Mordor…

    • daddownunder January 13, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      I feel like I’m already in Mordor Bree ; )

  5. wendy January 13, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    our bub is only 6 months old so no advice here but loved the post 🙂

  6. Annaleis from Teapots and Tractors January 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Only 1 out of three of ours had a dummy, and we live in the country, so we told him the fox took it. That nasty fox! Worked a treat!

  7. Jodie January 13, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I will watch this space eagerly. My 3 year old (yes – you read that correctly – 3 year old) covets his dummy like nothing else. He goes to bed with about 5 – one in mouth – the rest placed in his hands and around him, and his catch phrase is “where’s my dummy”. He is my second child, my final child and no doubt that is the reason why I am clinging to his babyhood with every ounce of my being – to the detriment of his teeth, I am told by many. I sucked my thumb for a long. long time. My teeth are fine. No need for braces at all. So that is my rationale for not grabbing those dummies and burning them in some ritual. I was going to do the whole “dummy fairy” thing where I think you tell your child that the dummy fairy is coming. Overnight you grab all the dummies, get rid of them, and never speak of them again. Maybe I will try that. Maybe I won’t. Let me know how you go!!!

    • daddownunder January 14, 2013 at 1:48 am #

      Sounds like your in deep Jodie. Fairies seem to be a parents best friend, a slong as i dont have to dress up as one

  8. Steve Adams January 14, 2013 at 5:01 am #

    Find a space where Max can express himself for 3 days. Remove the dummy and keep plenty of fluids handy. Resist the screams and remember the big picture. Keep the food up and mop his brow as required. It’s tough but it’s love.

    • daddownunder January 14, 2013 at 8:55 am #

      I may start calling you the oracle Steve and having spent time in Eva’s company I can’t doubt the authenticity of your parenting credentials.

      • Steve Adams January 15, 2013 at 5:54 am #

        Better call her Ava though

      • daddownunder January 17, 2013 at 3:19 am #

        I asked Anna how she would spell Ava and she went with an E and convinced me in the process, so its her fault

  9. Vic @ The Melbourne Dad January 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Our Bub only sucked a dummy for a couple of weeks before it was banished during sleep school at 5 months. She does suck her bedtime bunny toy as if it were a precious dummy – we have two of them in case we lose one or if one needs a wash!

    • daddownunder January 17, 2013 at 3:17 am #

      I’ve heard lots about sleep school Vic, would make a good post I reckon?

  10. Jacana January 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    We didn’t have the dummy issue – but we did have the bottle issue. I did bribery, the making up of stories, bottle fairies, other children in the world needing bottles etc all rolled into one big fat lie. The bottles disappeared overnight and a toy was left in place of the bottle. Never had another issue or any demands for the bottle.

    • daddownunder January 17, 2013 at 3:19 am #

      I cant wait until Max is old enough to understand lies and bribery Jacana ; )

  11. Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions January 16, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    But he’s so cute, how could you deprive him of his precious!

    I have no advice for you as, despite my best attempts, Mia just would not take a dummy. Believe me I tried my best but it was boob or nothing but tears for my girl. Which now I suppose is a good thing, as I feel it will be easier to wean her from the boob than a dummy, but at the time, when I just wanted my newborn to please stop crying, I was not so happy. Now she finds those old ones that I continuously tried to give her around the house and thinks they are the most interesting of novelty chew toys!

    • daddownunder January 17, 2013 at 3:21 am #

      Todays interesting novelty chew toy could be tomorrows precious Kylez – banish them!

  12. Reen January 16, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    Hi Matt, I haven’t read any of the previous comments, so could be repeating what others have written, but my first child grew WAY too attached to his dummy. It went from being only used at sleep times, to being constantly in his mouth. Stern looks and criticism from people had me feeling like a failure. Others of were the opinion,”Who cares? If he’s 18 and still got a dummy, then worry.” So at my child’s ripe old age of 3 I decided that it was time for the dummy to go. I was tired of him losing them and spending what felt like hours looking for them, I was worried about his teeth and him looking like bugs bunny, so I asked my facebook community about ways of getting rid of the dummy/precious and the idea of a ‘dummy fairy’ was suggested. You leave the dummy out for the dummy fairy, making up some elaborate story about how the fairy needs to fix your dummy and give it to new babies blah blah and overnight the fairy takes the dummy and leaves a present in its place. Considering how attached my son was, he was ok about giving it away. We put it in a bag and hung it on his bedroom door, the next morning the dummy fairy had left a wiggles dvd and chockies. It was a big hit. A few restless nights, waking up, crying and wanting his dummy back but it all worked out in the end.

    Second time round I learnt my lesson: DON’T leave the dummy in the cot for little hands to grab! Once my daughter wakes up, she leaves the dummy in the cot and I then hide it out of sight.

    Good luck!

    • daddownunder January 17, 2013 at 3:23 am #

      Thanks for the advice Reen, not sure if a dummy is the lesser of two evils if The Wiggle sis the alternative ; ) I will try the fairy I think

  13. Nichola K January 31, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    hi matt,

    i felt compelled to write as i have in the last few weeks finally weaned not one, but two toddlers off their dummies. after dreading this moment for the past three years, i finally took the plunge with my son who was one week off three and my 21 month year old daughter – both completely and utterly addicted. i had tried to tone down the addiction over the past few months and really try and limit the dummy to sleeping which i think helps a bit. we did the ‘ole dummy fairy as other people have described. the babes were totally into it, waved goodbye to the dummies hanging in the bag on the door…and then promptly asked for them as they were tucked up in bed. as expected, the first night was pretty hellish but coincidently my son hadn’t had a daytime sleep and therefore utter exhaustion won through and he dropped off quite quickly (i’d recommend that if its an option). that night there was night time waking, crying, early morning wake up and anything else you could think of – but we didn’t give in..the dummy fairy has the dummies and is taking them to ‘the babies’ who need them now because you’re ‘a big boy now’. night two and i was all ready to be strong for an hours crying and they both surprised me by going down quietly and straight to sleep. i was so proud of them both, shocked but proud. since then, they ask for their dummies in time of ‘great sorrow and desperation’…every other day, but thats where i find the dummy fairy story handy because you can just reinforce the ‘babies have the dummies now to help them sleep’. the dummy fairy left them each a cuddly toy with the hope that it would become a bit of a replacement comfort. i think they both are still adjusting a bit, they don’t go down to sleep as quickly and quietly as they used to. on the same night i also moved my son into a ‘big bed’ to add to the story of ‘you’re a big boy now and big boys don’t need dummies’. at first i thought it would be all too much at once but it kind of just reinforced the idea and he was excited about the big bed and more than ready to move into it. my daughter just had to go along for the ride as i figured if she kept hers, it would be become a shared dummy and i’ll still have the same problem – it was all or nothing.

    so…the moral of my story is this. the first night was every bit as awful as i thought…but after that, really not that bad at all and totally worth it. i feel like an extra step has been taken out of so many of my routines in making sure the dummies were with us at all times, just in case. i didn’t give in because i kept telling myself that it would only be worse if i decided to do the same again at a later date so why delay the inevitable. i also, rightly or wrongly, could not see my babes giving up the dummy before they were 18 so for me personally, 3 was the deadline or at least when i worked up the courage.

    best of luck, its really not that bad in the end…honest x

    • daddownunder January 31, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Thanks Nichola, my folks are heading out from England next month so I might try it when they’re out for a bit of moral support – my poor parents! Good on you for taking the plunge and staying strong

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