From the day that we brought Gracie home from the hospital she was a pacifier baby. It was a very specific pacifier - the green Nuk. She was a great baby and I don't remember needing a pacifier to calm her down, but it was a sure way to get her to sleep in what seemed like 30 seconds or less. When it was time for her nap we would give her the green pacifier and she would be out. When I would go and check on her I could see her tiny mouth sucking on the pacifier. Even when the pacifier had broke the suction with her mouth and fallen out, her mouth would still make the motions like it was still there.
The thing about this story that is so beautiful to me is that it's been nearly nine years since Gracie was a baby, but ten minutes ago when I went to check on her and I leaned over to kiss her forehead, her mouth was still making those motions like the pacifier was still there. She has always done it and it's a way for me to hold on to her and that connection I've had with her since the beginning.
One rule Jim and I have had from day one is that our kids never sleep in our bed with us. So in the few instances that we do sleep with them, it's all I can do to not stay up the whole night studying their faces. We went camping this past weekend and Gracie slept next to me. I had gotten up just as dawn was breaking to make the long, cold walk to the restroom. When I got back in the tent I had to fight sleep to look at her sweet, sleeping face. Blinking a little longer to look at her long eyelashes and round cheeks.
It's so hard watching your kids grow up so fast. Whenever I start to get sad about it I force myself to see the good. Just today, I was home with a sick Jacob. We were watching TV and for some reason I thought of all the shows we watched together when he was a toddler. Snuggled in the recliner watching Blues Clues and Dora. I mentioned this to him and he got a sentimental look on his face as well. Then I had to remember the good and mentioned that now we watch Adventure Time and Sponge Bob together and I'm sure as he gets older there will be new shows we discover together.
The funny thing about that green pacifier was I was so afraid to have Gracie give it up. It seemed to sooth her so much and I was sure she wouldn't be able to sleep without it. I did research on it and prepared myself for a few long nights as we set out to make the transition. The thing is she didn't even miss it. She was still asleep in what seemed like 30 seconds (I'm proud to say she's still a great sleeper to this day). That's the funny thing about kids. They are stronger and more resilient than we give them credit for. I learn so much from them everyday.