Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Swiss way to get rid of the pacifier

Coco hit a huge milestone Tuesday when she decided to give all of her nuggis to the Nuggi Fairy. Nuggi sounds like cookie and is the Swiss German equivalent of paci or binki. We were honestly beginning to think that Coco would leave for college with her nuggi! For more than a year, it's been for sleeping at night only, but still, her teeth are clearly displaced from it and it was past time. We had made one attempt to get rid of it in the summer, which resulted in Theo giving up his nuggi for good, but Coco held strong.

As with all parenting dilemmas, I suddenly felt really, truly, confidently ready. So Tuesday morning, I asked her if she'd like to gather up all of her nuggis and make them into a necklace. Then, I explained, we could take them into the forest and - she interrupted me and finished the story, including what the Nuggi Fairy would bring her in return! The whole story after the jump.


In Zurich, it's not uncommon to come across a nuggi tree where dozens of children have brought their nuggis to give to the Nuggi Fairy as a rite of passage. It works much the same way as the Tooth Fairy, except it's more active on the part of the child. Instead of the nuggis being taken away, the child gives their nuggis as a symbol of getting older and no longer being a baby. In return, the Nuggi Fairy brings the child a special toy. Coco's favorite color is blue, so I gave her some sweet blue kitchen twine and she gathered all of her nuggis and strung them onto the twine.
Spokane is technically a high desert climate, so there are not really any forests around. We had to improvise. Lincoln Park seemed like the best option.
Coco carried her nuggi necklace proudly and ran ahead with J to find a good tree. Ponderosas tend to have their first branches up super high, so I was a tad nervous about finding one.
Luckily there were some young trees! Coco decided that they should be hung up high so the Nuggi Fairy could find them. We explained that she had to ask the Nuggi Fairy out loud for the present she wanted in return for giving up her nuggis. While she was up there, she declared into the forest, "Nuggi Fairy! Here are my nuggis and I want the horse, please!"
She was so incredibly proud. We kept telling her what a big girl she was and she nodded and clapped in agreement, grinning from ear to ear.
When we got back to the car, she couldn't quite believe her eyes. She even looked slightly frightened.

But she soon got over that, leapt into her car seat and got a good look at the horse, which she's been wanting since early summer.
Theo thought it was all quite magical and wonderful, too.
When we got home, Coco, who feigns impotence at carrying her lunch box, had no problem hauling that horse all the way inside! It has been a little hard for her to fall asleep at night without her nuggi, of course, but she is doing great. Every morning, we congratulate her and do high fives and she is proud of what a big girl she is. Overall, it was a complete success. Hooray for the Nuggi Fairy!

Does your child use a pacifier? How did you take it away or help them give it up on their own?

12 comments:

  1. I have 6-month-old twins, and two weeks ago, we stopped giving them binkies. They were no longer to string their sleep cycles together at night, so 4 or 5 (or more) times a night, my husband or I would have to get up to go binkie one (or both) so they'd go back to sleep. It had been going on for months! Comically (stupidly?), we stopped giving them binkies 2 days before a trip to Denmark to see family, but they've done great! By the time we left Denmark yesterday, they were sleeping through the night for like 10 hour stretches (though my daughter still fights naps). I do like the idea of a Binky Fairy, though, so they're active participants in getting rid of it.

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    1. You were so smart, you'll never need the Nuggi Fairy. They'll never even remember. Brava, mama! xo

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    2. Possssibly it was desperation, not intelligence ;)

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  2. This is brilliant! We need to do this. My little one is just over two and the pacifier was intended for bedtime and car only, but it's been seeping into little moments throughout the day. I know she could handle getting rid of it because she goes all day at (montessori!) school without it, but I think I'm just not ready to battle it out at home..

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    1. When you're ready, you'll know! Coco turned FOUR this fall, so it was very very overdue. Eeeeks! Thumbs up on the Montessori for your little one. Such a good choice! ;) xx

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  3. This is brilliant! We need to do this. My little one is just over two and the pacifier was intended for bedtime and car only, but it's been seeping into little moments throughout the day. I know she could handle getting rid of it because she goes all day at (montessori!) school without it, but I think I'm just not ready to battle it out at home..

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  4. Ah, I loved reading this! We lived in Sweden before Switzerland, and I had passed by a tree or two that must have been the equivalent of the Swiss German Nuggi tree. I am not sure if there was a fairy bestowing gifts involved at all, but a friend told me that kids put their pacifiers there when they gave them up.

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  5. Thank you! My almost four year old still uses a pacifier and my friends are all mildly horrified. So nice to know I'm not alone in the "I really should break this habit, but I love sleep too much" camp.

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  6. Our dentist has a paci tree at the back of his property and has all the kids go there and hang there's up. Its great because it comes from him, not us!

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  7. I really love your post ! So great !

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  8. I just remembered this post. Eli will be four next month and needs to lose the pacis. Another thing I swore I would never do...pacis past a year. But with a mega strong willed boy, I pick my battles.

    Eli's teeth are obviously jacked up from the paci. Did Coco's go back to normal after awhile? I read up about open bites often self correcting after stopping. I hope so!

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