Pesky Poppy Problem…Solved!

When the Elinor and Juliet were born almost three years ago (ohmygosh has it really been that long?!) I entered what I now refer to as Survival Mode. Twins are hard enough, but when four older kids are also a very vital part of the overall picture life becomes…desperate?…chaotic?…challenging, shall we say?

With Survival Mode came any and everything I could do to keep life peaceful and manageable. Enter: pacifiers. I never gave them to the older kids because I didn’t want to end up in a situation where the kid was addicted and I was just trading one problem (a crying infant) with another (a desperate toddler). Buuuuut, with the newborn twins I was the desperate one, so I gave in and gave them pacifiers.

Eventually, those two babies turned into two toddlers who were old enough to give the pacifiers a special toddler name: Poppy.

They were addicted to their poppies. It was a quick way to self-soothe, and if they didn’t have one any small problem quickly escalated into a much larger issue. I was sick of looking for the dumb poppies (they always managed to roll right under the middle of our king size bed), I was sick of always having to pack dumb poppies whenever we left the house, I was sick of washing off the dumb poppies when they inevitably rolled into a murky puddle or dusty corner. Yuck.

Because the twins are almost three, I figured that taking the poppies away cold turkey would be cruel. It was an addiction, after all. So, I came up with a way to reason with them, creating a situation their tiny brains could process, manage and handle: we’d give the poppies to a new baby who needed them. So, for the past few months, while my sister-in-law grew a baby in her tummy, the twins and I would casually talk about giving the poppies to the new baby (“Lainey’s sister”). I’d bring it up. They would bring it up. It became a gentle topic of family conversation throughout any given day.

Three days after my beautiful sister-in-law Lexi gave birth to my beautiful new niece Annelle, the twins put their poppies into a little gift bag and we took a walk to meet the new baby. Nori and Juju seemed genuinely excited about the outing. It was time.

The sunny walk to Lainey’s house to give the poppies to Nellie.
So excited to share with new baby cousin!!!!

When they spotted tiny baby Nellie sleeping on the sofa, Nori and Juju quietly walked up and placed the poppies on her side. There were no tears, no desperate pleas to race back home with the poppies in tow. They are big girls now, and it is now a baby’s turn to use the beloved poppies.

After the poppy delivery and a quick visit, we left the poppies behind and walked to Target so the twins could each pick out a toy to celebrate. They both settled on Fancy Nancy dress-up clothes. Big girls now.

The first night poppy-free was rough: the twins were so sad about excluding poppies from their familiar bedtime routine. But, they eventually fell asleep and now, just two weeks later, the poppies are mostly a distant memory. Occasionally they ask for it (usually if they get hurt), but a simple “The poppies are at Lainey’s house with baby Nellie” is all it takes to settle them down.

Another bonus to this method of poppy removal: the twins recognize the importance of family, and they know they play a vital role in our large family. They don’t know that baby Nellie will never actually use their ratty old poppies, but they do feel like they helped the newest human in a family that fiercely loves and values all members. And, to me, that is the most important outcome of the whole poppy situation!

Big cousin, medium cousins, tiny cousin.
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