Kicking the Habit

July 14th, 2007  |  Published in etc  |  1 Comment

We’ve been meaning to get out and go on a camping trip for a month now, but between crappy weather and assorted this-n-that, it hadn’t happened. Last week we finally decided to head up to Lost Lake for an overnight trip. It was kind of a big Ben deal because he hasn’t, to this point, gone Camping camping without a pack-n-play. We got him a sleeping bag for the occasion, and packed along his junior-sized camp chair.

Getting out the door was kind of chaotic because I lost track of the time while I was at the zoo and we felt some pressure to get going: Lost Lake can fill up, and we were going on a Saturday. It seemed like our chances of getting a site were probably going to be determined by how many tragic campfire accidents had required evacuations the night before.

In the shuffle, Ben lost track of his binkies. We’ve been meaning to get rid of the things for six months now, but we’ve never had a moment where we’ve felt like going ahead and pulling the trigger. It might mean a bad night or two … sleep deprivation … obscenely early rising for a few days.

We made a few searches, but he’s got a knack for disappearing the things and we couldn’t turn them up. Al finally decided we’d see if we could get some at the grocery store on the way out of town, but maybe we could just keep him from seeing them … he was already worked up that they were missing, so if we could get him to just buy the idea that his binkies were gone, and that there are not factories that produce thousands of those things a second and so would probably have some they’d recently shipped to a store in our city, we could just use the camping trip as a change in scenery that’d help him forget altogether.

We did find replacements, we did keep them from him, and we did maintain the fiction that his binkies were simply gone. It didn’t come up, except, I think, when he got carsick as we wound our way up Lolo Pass Road in the Mt. Hood forest, spewing chocolate milk and a bite of KitKat all over himself. He probably asked for a little added comfort, but we kept to the plan. Within ten minutes, he was bouncing along in the back seat periodically getting our attention so he could say “Sometimes people just barf.”

That’s true. Our family “we hold you harmless” phrase preamble is “sometimes people just …” Sometimes they just barf on themselves, sometimes they just spill stuff, sometimes they just fall, they just don’t make it to the toilet in time, they just don’t stay on the merry-go-round dad pushed too fast (sometimes dad confuses cries of panic with shouts of glee) and on and on. In our family, people just malfunction at a prodigious rate. It’s good that Ben has picked up on that. To reassure those who foresee a life of increasingly tenuous “sometimes people just” constructions in his life, leading, perhaps, to Ben standing in front of a judge and pleading that sometimes people just rob banks then go on drunken arson sprees before driving their truck through a police barricade and gnawing a peace officer’s ear off … we’re taking measures to prevent that.

Anyhow … we made it there, got a walk-in campsite, and Ben didn’t mention the binkies except right at bedtime. And he didn’t care much, because we’d already implanted the idea that sometimes binkies just disappear. He got up no earlier than a three-year-old waking up with the sun in the middle of the woods might be expected to. We had a nice morning. We headed home. I don’t think the binkies have come up since. Al found them buried under some toys a few days ago and dealt with them, which was a load off because we didn’t want them rediscovered.

I didn’t really want them gone for any developmental reason. I was a horrific thumbsucker all the way up to an unseemly age I won’t disclose to this day, so I reasoned he had time to kick the habit and still be well-adjusted, or just carry it through to his first big e-fueled rave. Do they still do that? But props like that create a point of failure in the orderly progression of the household day. The binkies get lost, and bedtime is derailed until we find them. They fall behind the bed and it’s time to stop sleeping and alert mom and dad. They’re hell on diction, too. So while we haven’t been stewing over them, we were looking for an opening.

He’s also starting to take the toilet training thing into his own hands a little more. His new preschool has several children older than him by a year or more, so he’s got more peer examples to follow.


  1. Sue says:

    July 14th, 2007 at 2:49 pm (#)

    Al just told us about the binkie disappearance. Congrats! It sounds like it was an easy transition after all. And I don’t think I knew you were a thumb sucker…. :)

Leave a Response

© Michael Hall, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.