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The dummy fairy may have a fight on her hands

WHILE I’m looking forward to our fourth child Bonnie’s third birthday later this month, I’m also getting worried. There’s going to be a fight.

The conflict is going to involve her dummy addiction.

Yes, yes, quieten down all you brilliant parents who refused your offspring the plasticy comfort of a dummy. I thought I’d be like you until about 24 hours after our eldest was born, when sleep deprivation and panic saw us run to the all-night garage to buy one.

Not all our children had dummies. Dougie refused one, having found his thumb just days after birth . . . which he still sucks now at the age of 11.

Jed and Billy had dummies, but gave them up without much fuss on their third birthdays.

And herein lies the problem. On Bonnie’s birthday, she’ll be expected to give up her dummies to the Dummy Fairy, who collects them from beneath pillows to give to newborn babies who need them more than three-year-olds. And she’s not up for the idea AT ALL, despite the promise of payment/presents.

Bonnie never wanted a dummy for day-time, just for bedtime and car journeys. But since I told her that when she’s officially A Grown-Up Girl, the dummies have to go, she’s become stubbornly attached to them. Tantrums usually end up with her demanding one (and go on for ages when she’s told ‘no’). Her behaviour in the car is completely dictated by whether there’s a dummy available. I’ve tried withdrawal, but I’m just too tired, impatient and weak-willed to try to beat the looming birthday deadline.

Are girls more stubborn than boys, or is this just an inevitable stand-off between the females of the house?



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