We both were smirking at the fact that these folks had a four-year old child who was sucking away on a pacifier. Before they even sat down, the mom asked the little girl if she needed to head to the potty. The child took the pacifier out of her mouth long enough to clearly answer, "no." If your child is old enough to have toilet control, I think it is time for the binky to go. It never ceases to amaze me though when I see kids as old as five or six, still plugging away on a pacifier - - - and that parents have no shame letting them do it in public. When Maggie was a baby, we let her have her pacifier until she was about one. When we switched from the bottle to the tippy cup, we took away the pacifier. Sure, we went through a rough couple of nights, but after three or four days, she did just fine getting to sleep without it at night.
Now - - all that being said - - I still have a four year old who sucks her thumb. We have tried everything imaginable to get her to stop, but to no avail. Most of the time now, she only does it when she is really tired - - but she does it so unconsciously that she doesn't even think about it. I feel like I say a hundred times a day, "Aleita - get your thumb out of your mouth." She complies when you ask her to take it out, but within minutes, she has forgotten about it and back in it goes. Thumbsucking was very convenient when Aleita was a baby - - we never had to get up in the night to find a dropped pacifier in the crib or fumble around in the backseat to find it in the car - - it was quite easy for her to self-soothe. Now that she is older though, I would really like her to stop, especially before she does any permanent damage to her teeth. People keep telling me that she'll stop when she gets to school because the other kids will shame her into quitting. I wouldn't be so sure about that. I have seen more than my fair share of thumb suckers in the public schools these days - - and I'm not just talking kindergarteners either. When I taught 4th grade, I would always have at least one or two thumbsuckers in my class.
So as I sit and pass judgment on those four year olds with pacifiers, I know there is someone else watching me with my four year old thumb sucker and doing the same thing. Perhaps I need to move out of the glass house before I wing any more stones, eh?