Thursday, January 26, 2012

Farewell Shooshie

For the last few weeks, we’ve been talking to Kaleia about giving up her “shoosh.” She was ready last spring and the transition would have been easy if life had been semi-normal. But

an eleven hour flight without our surefire soother may be a parent’s definition of insanity. Then, how could we possibly take it away after uprooting her and dragging her around a totally foreign country, with people constantly gawking and poking at her, while we try to get settled? Excuse after excuse led us to postpone the removal. “We can’t do it during school. Her teachers are finally getting her to nap.” “We can’t do it during Christmas break, we have a guest.” Consequently, Kaleia grew more and more attached. She has given it a pet name “Shooshie” and started trying to sneak it out during the day -- it had previously been a sleep aid exclusively.
Since Kaleia loves babies we decide to tell her that a new baby needed her shoosh, since she isn’t a baby any more. I tell her that pretty soon we are going to wrap it up and give it to a baby. She loves the idea. So as I make excuses to postpone the inevitable, I wrack my brain trying to think of how to get a perfect stranger to let my daughter give her infant used pacifiers, knowing that I don’t speak the language of the majority of this city two-thirds the population of Canada.   
After our last guests, Grandma and Grandpa Rush, leave I decide there isn’t going to be an easier day. I tell Kaleia this is the day. She cries. Hard. So I tell her that she can have it one last time for her snooze, then after her nap we are going to wrap it up and give it to a baby. She wakes up ready and enthusiastic. I am the one that gets a little teary as we wrap up her precious. With Magnolia still asleep and Papa working, we walk the package to our mailbox. I decide we are going to “mail” it to our friends the Fraziers, who she knows are expecting a new baby. An added bonus is that they use the same kind of soothers she uses and we have skyped with them a few times. I thought this could be a good reinforcement of my ruse.  
It turns out I didn’t need it. Twice Kaleia asks me, “Where is my shoosh?” I remind her of what we did and why. She nods, knowingly. Then at the usual point in our sleep routine when she would get her shoosh, she starts reminding us matter-of-factly, “I don’t need a shoosh. I not a baby any more.” 
In hindsight, I definitely could have picked a better day than the 2nd night of the world's largest fireworks display, Chinese New Year!  We’re not talking fourth of July decibels.  We’re talking World War 3 every night.  She comes up with every excuse in the book to avoid closing her eyes but she doesn’t ask for her shoosh even once. More than that, once asleep, she has slept through the night twice now!
Farewell good and faithful Shooshie!

Update: We've since had plenty of very rough nights with the emergence of a new fear, which was initially of an old man with a black homet (helmet) but has since morphed into the more generic "monster."   


Anonymous said...

Well, at least you didn't have to promise a pony. :-)

I love the story.


Anonymous said...

That is such a great idea! Where did you come up with that?!? You are amazing parents. Way to go Big girl kaleia!! and Mama & Papa for seeing it through :)

Auntie Alli

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Once again I am impressed with how you handled one of your children; tenderly, creatively yet firmly. I am equally proud of Kaleia for being so generous with her precious and courageous for letting go of something that brought her such comfort. It all makes me a bit teary eyed myself. She looked so cute with her shoosh but probably wouldn't have in college.:-)