A Promotional Pacifier

A Promotional Pacifier

If I’ve learned one thing from being a Mom, it’s never leave home without an extra diaper… or the pacifier strap.

The extra diaper is probably obvious for most folks. I mean, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out, after the first time nature unexpectedly strikes, that babies “go” whenever and wherever they want, despite the fact that they just went 5 minutes ago.

The pacifier strap, however, well, that took a little longer for me to get.

It all began with my second child. From the moment we put the pacifier between his little pink lips, he was hooked. And I mean HOOKED. It was as if he was born with an addiction to sucking rubber. And being that my first-born never took a pacifier a day in her life, this whole pacifier-dependency thing was completely new for me.  And, completely overwhelming.

If my son would have been the sit-still-and-veg-out-with-the-pacifier-perched-between-his-lips type of kid, that would have been fine. Easy, even. Problem was, despite his deep love and affection for the darn thing, he wasn’t actually able to keep it in his mouth for more than a few minutes at a time. And every few minutes, after the inevitable ejection, he would cry inconsolably until I picked it up and put it back in his mouth. And life went on like this.

Day after day.

Week after week.

Month after month.

And the older and more mobile he became, the more tedious and annoying my pacifier search-and-replace job became. When he started crawling, he would drop his pacifier in the most inaccessible places. All would be fine and well, and then, suddenly, the wailing would begin. And no matter what I was in the middle of doing, I would have to stop, get down on my hands and knees (sometimes with a flashlight, mind you) and try to relocate the lost grail. When we braved the great outdoors, I was sure to arm myself with multiple pacifiers, lest he shoot one under a vending machine or into a mud puddle. But even with a spare paci in my purse, glove compartment, and diaper bag at all times, we still had problems.  Because constantly losing pacifiers meant we were constantly buying new ones. And after a few months of this frivolous cycle, I began to see this little game as a lifestyle statement that I could no longer afford. So finally, after sticking my hand into a nest of stringy cobwebs behind the washing machine in hopes of retrieving yet another lost paci, I declared enough is enough.  “I can’t take this any longer. I’ve had it with this crazy pacifier chase. I’m done!”

I stormed out of the house with my kids and headed for the park. We sat down on the bench–and who should be sitting across from us?– but the world’s most perfectly organized mom. You know the type: perfect brown bob, well-behaved kids in color coordinated designer outfits, stylish diaper bag, luxury stroller.  I watched in awe, clutching my diaper and 3 pacifiers as she, I’ll call her Betty-Sue, pulled out the homemade snacks. They were perfectly stacked in organized, neat little Tupperware towers, for all 4 of her children. Betty-Sue even packed silverware a custom printed Sippy cup! “Brandon, this is for you,” she hymned. “Heather, the pinkie one is yours. Taylor, you get the yellow and Amber, my dear” she declared with a last-but-not-least sort of gusto, “You get the purple!”

I was stunned.

And I couldn’t help but stare.

When snack time was over her 3 oldest kids clambered to the playground equipment and the baby, wearing a promotional onezie with the words, “#1 Baby” was given a pacifier to suck.  Amber, however, unlike my son, had a nifty little strap that attached her pacifier from her shirt to her mouth. Brilliant, I marveled! Absolutely brilliant! And as Betty-Sue slid Amber down the slide there was not a worry in the world about a possible open-mouthed giggle or howl.  No, nobody even thought twice about the pacifier flying away because Betty-Sue, smart and savvy as she was, knew she was not going to be furrowing through the sandbox in search for the paci. Rather, all she had to do was place the juicy rubber suckable back in her daughter’s mouth.  Piece of cake! Peace of mind! And what could be better than that?

So feeling deeply inspired I walked up to my new found super-hero, Betty-Sue, and asked her where she got the pacifier strap.  “I love it,” I said, trying not to sound like too much of a dork. “I need one those. Where did you get yours?”  Betty-Sue, quick as lightning, unzipped her diaper bag and pulled out a container full of custom printed pacifier straps. “My husband is a Pediatrician,” she explained. “He orders logo imprinted baby items and promotional kids products by the truck load.  “Here,” she said, holding the treasure chest before my eyes, “Help yourself.  Take as many as you like. Pass some along to your friends.” I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. “And if you’re ever looking for a really good doctor,” she added, “call the number on the back of the strap. That’s my husband. He’s the best in town!”

So I did. And life has been great even since. Not only because the strap spares me hours of bending and searching, but also because I got my kids a great new doctor. Who ever knew that something as simple as a promotional pacifier could bring so much joy to my life? Gosh! Now I’m just wondering how in the world I’m ever going to wean my son from his ever-present paci?!

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