Little-Known Facts About Squirrels

So, I’ll just come right out with it.  My daughter is over three and a half years old, and she still takes a pacifier.

Or she did, at least, until Saturday. 

Saturday I happened to notice the way she gazed at her pacifier.  It’s similar to the way I gaze at my husband.  Or at least at a Three Musketeers.  I began to realize that we were on a fast track for Corrie to still be using it on her wedding day.  And a sparkly pink piece of plastic in her mouth will not look at all good with the dress I have in mind for her I’m sure she will pick out all on her own.

So Saturday was the day.  We’d actually been talking to her about it for weeks.  We explained to her what I’m sure you already know (*wink, wink*):  that baby squirrels love pacifiers, but the poor baby squirrels in our backyard don’t have any, and since she’s a big girl who no longer needs them, how about if we give them her pacifier stash?

At first, she loved the idea.  She eagerly rounded up all the pacifiers in our house, and we put them in a baby shower gift sack (because that is, of course, the most appropriate method for presenting gifts to baby squirrels). 


We waited until bedtime (because that is, of course, the most optimal time for gift-giving to squirrels), and her daddy carried her out to the play fort.  Very tentatively, with a sigh or two, she placed her bag in the fort.


It was a long, sad trek up to her room.  She looked so small–and yet so grown-up–all pacifier-less in her bed.  "I hope they bwing them back," she said, her eyes filling with tears.  I told her how proud I was of her unselfishness, and what a good thing she had done making a difference in these baby squirrels’ lives.

And then I said in my head, did that sentence really just come out of my mouth?

It wasn’t her best night’s sleep, but she made it.  The next morning, she made a bee-line for the fort.  Oh, how she and I danced with delight with her to see that the squirrels had, in fact, taken every last pacifier.

The victory is won.  The problem is solved.  The squirrels are properly gifted.

And my sweet baby girl is–oh, my heart–just a little less baby.

105 thoughts on “Little-Known Facts About Squirrels

  1. Hm says:

    Our friends did something very similar only they gave them to the birds, and the birdy mommies left a small “thank you” gift to their daughter. She was so excited that she got a thank you gift that she wanted to give all the animals something – for them the thank you gift backfired.

  2. Smockity Frocks says:

    I hope you buried those suckers (pardon the pun) DEEEEEEP in the trash can.
    We may borrow this method. Our two and a half year old (our 6th) still “uses”. She didn’t even start until she found one that she had rejected from her infant days. She was already walking at the time. By that time, we had already gotten rid of them for the previous children!

  3. mzzterry says:

    Oh, Mama Rocks, I think you need a {{{{{{hug}}}}}}}.
    This is a milestone in your baby girls life. You handled it with class. I am sure the baby squirrels appreciate Corrie’s sacrifice. =)

  4. shannon says:

    What a nice idea! When my daughter was almost 3, her pacifiers “broke” while she was at daycare one day. I cut the tips off of every one in the house, so when she put them in her mouth they wouldn’t feel the same.
    She sat in our kitchen and cradled her pacifiers, sobbing “oh no” for about 15 minutes. And then got up and never thought about it again.
    Or so I thought. The other day she asked if the baby in my belly would get pacifiers, and if they would break one day.

  5. World'sGreatestMommy says:

    It’s so hard to watch them grow up. My older daughter used to call birds “yeah yeahs.” I thought it was so cute. Then one day she actually said “bird”. I was so proud of her and really sad at the same time.
    Congrats on getting her to give them up!

  6. warillever says:

    We need a pleasant story about backyard animals.
    My husband tells the children that if they whine cougars will come out of the woods to eat them. And that any child that touches the air-conditioner will be eaten by the bats that live in our barn.
    If any of the kids were pacifier addicts he would probably tell them that the squirrels steal the pacifiers out of kids’ mouths while they sleep.
    I like your method better.

  7. Lisa says:

    My children gave theirs up together at 3 and 4 1/2 at Christmas time. We gave them to Santa for the baby reindeer. It worked like a charm.

  8. suzanne says:

    we did something similiar. my son “gave” them to his baby cousin noah when he was born. we wrapped them up all pretty, put them in a small box and addressed it. he thinks they went in the mail, i know they went in the trash. but it worked.

  9. Terina says:

    my daughter is 2 and a half, and we’ve gotten her down to only having her pacifier at either nap time or bed time. in fact, she’s happier to go to bed because she gets her pacifier. by her 3rd birthday i’m hoping to have every last pacifier out of my house!!! we also have tons and tons of squirrels in our yard, so i might have to steal your idea.:)

  10. The Welch Family says:

    See? I’ve always seen our bird-seed-gobbling, flower-hopping squirrels as pesky. All this time, they just wanted my baby’s pacifiers. Thank you. I will now go remove the Squirrel-go-away-pest control and give them an offering. In a pink bag, of course.

  11. Nancy says:

    Good for you and baby girl. When our oldest was 2+ we cut the tips off of all her pacifiers. She announced that “they were bwoke” so she threw them all in the trash and never looked back! So easy. However, let me just say that wasn’t the case with the next baby girl!

  12. Dani says:

    That is a brilliant idea and I plan on passing it along to others in need of breaking the sucky habit. 😉
    All 3 of my boys were addicted to the “plug”. After weaning them to only have it in their cribs for a while, I started taking it out during the day to “wash it” and “forget” to put it back. At bedtime I’d hear “Mommy, where’s my plug?” to which I’d answer, “Oh, I forgot to put it back after I washed it. I’ll get it and bring it to you in a minute.” They all fell asleep waiting for me to bring it back the first few nights and then forgot it existed. Pacifiers are a fine example of when you SHOULD lie to your children. 🙂
    Congrats, Corrie! But don’t grow up too fast. xoxo

  13. kent says:

    Wow similar things in our house. My 1st born at 2 1/2 gave his to the baby ducks in the pond–( No ducks were harmed that I heard about anyway)
    My twins gave theirs to the baby rabbits in the forest at 3.
    My baby girl let Santa take them for his baby reindeer when she was 3 1/2. She actually sucked on one while playing with one in each hand.
    It only took a couple of nights for them to quit even asking for them back–reindeer slobber and all. Sweet times!!
    My oldest gets his driver’s permit today. Oh Lord Have Mercy!!!

  14. christy says:

    Ohhhh how I remember that day in our house. (times 4) My youngest is 4.5 years old…and about 6 months ago she “found” one in some random place…stuck it in her mouth and started sucking away. When I asked her what she was doing, she said “IT missed her!” Good luck on your pacy journey!

  15. Phebe says:

    That is TOO cute! What a great idea! Isn’t this what Supernanny does, too?
    It’s a little tougher when the “pacifier” is attatched to them–i.e.their thumb or fingers. We waited until my daughter went to preschool and didn’t WANT to suck her fingers anymore (she would pull the blanket over her head at nap time so the others “wouldn’t see”–poor baby!) Then we put bandaids on her fingers so it wouldn’t feel the same (BTW, that bitter stuff they sell at drugstores does NOT work!). After about a week she had forgotten about it altogether!
    Could you post about your potty training method? Maybe for a Works for Me Wednesday? I have a 2 1/2 yr old who can explain quite eloquently why she does not want to go potty. Not quite sure what to do with that one! 🙂

  16. Nicol says:

    I love it! My sister had wild turkeys on their property when her dd was little and she told her that the turkey stole her binkie.
    I won’t be able to do that with my dd’s love. She is a thumbsucker.

  17. Marcy Massura-The Glamorous Life says:

    The “Paci-Fairy” came and took ours away. We left them on the front porch…and the Paci-Fairy picked them up and distributed them to all the new babies being born that night. I hope the Paci-fairy washed them first- some of them had been found on the bottom of the toy-box and one from under the fridge!
    Paci-Fairy left a hand made tee-shirt too that said “I don’t use a paci! I am big now!”
    Oh that Paci-Fairy she is so crafty!

  18. Michelle says:

    I wish I would have known about the pacifier thing last night at 3:28am. That must have been what that flying squirrel was looking for in our bedroom. We all know how desperate parents can be when their kids are keeping them awake needing a pacifier and there are none to be had. I should have just sent him to your house.

  19. Holly says:

    As I was emptying the dryer this morning of freshly washed sheets, and distributing them to the appropriate room, I found something I had never found in my almost 11 years of parenting-my 19 month old son has crawled into the dryer and was happily playing. I usually only find rocks, nails and the occasional quarter. I thought of you:O

  20. Megan@SortaCrunchy says:

    Oh SHANNON!!!! This is PERFECT!! My oldest is past three and still a paci fiend. We are down to our very last ragged one and she is still quite desperate to keep it. But she does LOVE her some baby squirrels. Oh my gosh – this is the best idea ever. Thank you.

  21. Mrs. Pear says:

    What a great way to handle this! I am totally impressed – although here I think I would we would be leaving stuff for the bunnies and coyotes!

  22. Superchikk says:

    I was feeling bad that my 9 month old still uses his paci, but only at nap and bedtimes and have been plotting to get rid of the thing. I guess I should relax a bit, huh?

  23. Cinde says:

    Oh where were you 8 years ago when I was trying to rid my babies of their pacifiers?? Baby squirrels – what a clever idea. That makes it so much less painful! Love it!

  24. Jen Mom of four says:

    We had the Paci Fairy come to our house. My oldest who just turned 13 had a paci until she was three. We told her that the paci fairy was coming and would take them away since she was now a big girl. If she made it all night without her paci then the PF would leave her a prize. It was a rough night but she made it and the PF had left her a Barbie doll.
    I have held on to one of her Paci and I plan on giving it to her on her first day of college as a joke.

  25. Rachel says:

    very cute!
    when it was time for me to give up my pacifier, my parents traded it for “anythign i wanted in the toy store” (i have to imagine that there were limits, but thats how the story goes). I picked out a doll….and yes…i still have her! 🙂
    unrelated – i love your new header! I haven’t visited your site in a few days, so i don’t know if i’m late in noticing. but its nice!

  26. Donnetta (momrn2) says:

    My son gave up his pacifier in a very similar way. He was also 3. The post office was holding a food drive. We were to place canned goods in a bag and hang it on our mailbox. As he was excitedly helping me pack up the bags of food, we were discussing that it was for people who didn’t have any food.
    I took advantage of this opportunity and mentioned that maybe there were other boys and girls who didn’t have pacifiers (or binkies as we called them) and maybe he would like to give them his.
    It took a moment of thought but the minute he agreed I wasted no time. We began rounding them up (yes, we had more than 1) and putting them in a bag as well. We marched the food and the binkies to the mailbox and hung them for the postman.
    I kept praising him for this act of kindness and selflessness he had just exhibited. He wasn’t so sure and there were a few moments in the days to come when a bit of reminding was needed… but we were done. Another stage behind us…
    Too cute that she gave hers to the squirrels!! 🙂 Now we just pray she doesn’t find one buried in the yard someday! *wink*

  27. Hallie says:

    When it was time to our kiddo to get rid of his “B” (binky) we had him toss it into the trash can and then go pick out a stuffed animal to help him with the transition.
    For 1 year after that day, whenever a trash truck drove by, CJ would wave at it forlornly and say “there goes my B.”

  28. MArian says:

    That is a great idea!! My 3 1/2 year old girl still needs a paci when she goes to sleep. We’ve been talking up the fact that when she’s turns 4 there will be no more paci’s, but maybe this will help it happen earlier. We have some very sweet baby squirrels around here. And baby birds…
    My mmo did this inadvertently. When she pulled my brother’s bottle for good,my little sibling looked at the cat, glared accusingly, then shrieked, “{Cat’s Name} ATE MY BOTTLE!!!” So she kept it for quite awhile in a high cupboard, stuffed in a paper bag marked with the memorial, “M’s bottle, eaten by the cat.”

  29. Mrs. Schmitty says:

    My daugher – *gasp – was 4 before giving hers up. I know, I know. But she had to do it on her own. She had gotten down to one binky, one she had a tendency to bite on. I told her if she bit through it that was it. One night she did and I took it away saying it was now dangerous for her to use. It took me some singing to her and about 45 minutes of tossing and turning, but she did it! And that was that!

  30. Marian says:

    Update: DD is having none of this idea. Baby squirrels and birds be darned. Normally a very sweet, compassionate little girl, things are different, apparently, where her paci’s are concerned. “Maybe ONE…” is her best concession…

  31. Tiff@Three Peas says:

    LOL! That is too funny. My oldest is the only one i had to come up with something clever to get her to stop using them. My middle son lost all of his and we never found them *wink wink*. he was 16 months. My last boy never took them. He plays with the ones he has found around the house but doesn’t suck on them.

  32. Dana says:

    I’m going to have to remember the squirrel thing! Our daughter will be 3 next month and still “uses” at night only. I’ve been trying to figure out how to gracefully get rid of them!

  33. Molly says:

    Oh my hilarious!
    Our little guy is probably close in age, and it just kills me to see him so grown up sometimes. The other day at lunch I marveled aloud to him, “How did you get so grown up?” He just gave me his three and a half year old smile and kept eating.
    The Little Tykes car in the backyard that he used to scoot around in is now used for climbing up on and jumping off the roof. I think my heart skips a beat every time he does it.

  34. Jamie from Ohbecareful says:

    That’s hilarious. Do you think she dreamt of the baby squirrels in their nest, happily sucking on her pacifiers?
    My son was about the same age when we finally decided that the pacifier had overstayed its welcome.
    We bribed him. I made a “No More Pacifier Punch Card” with numbers 1-20 (I think) printed on it. For every night that he went to bed sans pacifier WITHOUT whimpering for it, begging for it, carrying-on in tones of deep and mournful grief over the loss of it and otherwise forestalling sleep, he got to punch off one number. When all of the numbers were punched–after 20 consecutive pacifier-free, fuss-free nights–he got to pick out a toy.
    Our suspicions that he was entirely too old for a pacifier were confirmed when he chose an Army Men game for the PC.

  35. Fiddledeedee (It Coulda Been Worse) says:

    When Emme turned 4 (after an admonition from the dentist) we told her it was time to give up pink binky. From the kitchen, I heard Daddy continue to explain, followed by much wailing, a few sobs, and then finally quiet.
    A few moments later he came into the kitchen. “Well, we’re going to Disney World tomorrow.”

  36. Cheryl Lage says:

    Oh Shannon, you’re so much more thoughtful than we were! When our two were just about two, we made ’em cold turkey (after getting down to night-only usage) with a very rational adult diatribe on how they were SOOOO big, and really didn’t NEED them any more, that we did understand…blabbity, blah, blah. They did A-OK; but like you, it was a marker toward maturity that was poignant as a parent. Hang in there, Mama…and kudos on a compassionate anti-paci plan!

  37. TheCottonWife says:

    What a great story! I always tell people that in my days of teaching I never saw any seventh graders with pacifiers… but I saw a few who sucked their thumbs!
    What a precious girl and what an imaginative, patient mommy!!

  38. Molly says:

    Oh, how this brought back memories! Our oldest, now 10, gave her pacis to my brothers kittens! Oh, the things we think of as parents, but, hey, when you are desperate to ditch the paci…anything goes! Way to go!!

  39. Runningamuck says:

    I love the baby squirrel idea! lol. We’re bracing ourselves for the removal of pacifiers from our home sometime in the next few weeks. Our youngest is just shy of 20 months and his beloved time with his pacifier is ticking… I would love to use the baby squirrel idea with him but he won’t get it. I’m almost tempted to wait another year so I can use it! =0) Just kidding… kinda. =0|

  40. fullheartandhands mama says:

    That is precious.
    A couple of months ago, we took away Little Man’s paci. I’m still finding them around the house and it almost makes me cry.
    Lucky little squirrels. Do you think Mama Squirrel will reuse that gift bag?

  41. Laurel Wreath says:

    You are better then me, we collected them and handed them over nicely to the garbage man! Of course I have boys and the thought of them going into that giant, green truck was waaaayyy to cool for any boy to refuse.
    Of course the days following, there were long looks outside the window with the repeated sentence “Garbage man took my binky.”

  42. Tracey says:

    What a great idea….my brother had his twins give them to the baby groundhogs that live under his garage…..they loved them too!!!

  43. MaryBeth @ Four Silly Sisters says:

    We live on a farm so my oldest gave hers to the baby cows some time ago, but I distinctly remember how very unfamiliar her face was sans paci that first night. I also remember thinking, “why didn’t we do this sooner” because it wasn’t nearly the dramatic ordeal that I thought it would be… well, except for the occasional theiving of her three little sisters’ pacis when she’s having a moment of weakness. Hopefully it is all downhill from here for you guys where the paci is concerned!

  44. Richelle F says:

    Great job! Our son gave them up when they broke. (He was about 18 months old). He was down to just 2 of them. When he bit a hole in one I told him he had to throw it away. Then he knew he only had one left and when he bit a hole in that one, that was it. He seemed surprisingly OK with it at the time, and only had a little trouble sleeping the first couple days, but then was fine.

  45. Erin says:

    I guess I’m just mean and uncreative. When my daughter turned 1 I told her they had to stay in her bed and at 18 Months I made her throw them out because only babies have dobbies, as we called them.

  46. Melanie says:

    I am thinking that a Mommy squirrel just might be writing Corrie a sweet thank you note because her baby squirrel had been crying and could not sleep until she had the new pacifiers.
    And Mommy Squirrels have been known to leave a toy with their thank you notes.
    So I’ve heard.

  47. Kristen says:

    Thank you for posting this idea. And for everyone who commented! My son is almost 3 and he seems to get more attached to his “gonky” every day! He LOVES to go to bed because that’s where he gets to have his gonky. I’m not sure if he cares enough about the baby squirrels to do this, but I’m going to give it a shot.

  48. Joanne says:

    I think that is just about the sweetest way to get rid of a pacifier addiction.
    I will be sharing this with all the young moms that I know.
    Where do you come up with these things?!? God has gifted you with an amazing personality. Your family is blessed.
    Joanne :O)

  49. Mandy says:

    How very sweet. My daughter (real name Cori) and I tied her pacifiers to a balloon and sent them to heaven for the angel babies. Hey it worked. But, uh, anyone have any ideas how to get said child (now 7) to quit sucking her thumb? I thought about tying it to a balloon but I would miss the rest of her!

  50. Doris says:

    My sister was four, I think, and never without a pacifier (she called it her “sucky”) until the day it fell into the raccoon cage at the petting zoo. No kidding. Her pacifier literally went to a raccoon, who literally put it in his mouth and walked off with it. She never again asked for a pacifier.

  51. jennyggh says:

    What a great idea! I don’t think I can use it for my thumb-sucking boy though. If you have any ideas on how to get my 3 year old boy to give up that habit, please do share!

  52. Jamie in Mississippi says:

    “I hope they bwing them back” ooohh that got me. My oldest had his paci until he was 4 1/2. I think it was more for us than for him.
    My 2 year old still has hers, but once we move and get settled we will try to take it away.
    At her 18 month checkup the dr said we should go to a toy store and pick out a new toy. Then we should put it out of her reach, but in sight, and tell her that once she gives up her paci she can have the toy. Right!! An 18 month old does not get that reasoning. We just shrugged the advice off.
    So proud of you guys and so happy for the baby squirrels. Haha. 🙂

  53. Amanda says:

    What a great idea!
    Fortunately, we never had a paci battle. Our son came to us as a baby in foster care, and if he used pacis before, he didn’t use them with us. (He came empty-handed, and we were first time parent who didn’t know we should buy such things.) We got some at the baby shower for our daughter, but she just never caught on.
    I wonder if there is some sort of wildlife trickery I can pull to stop the 7-year-old lying stage around here. Hmmm…

  54. Andi says:

    We took my almost 3 year old’s binkies away a little over a month ago. He only asked for them the first 2 nights, but still takes FOREVER to go to sleep without them. I was glad to finally be rid of them, but felt sad as the last of the baby world drifted away.
    We took him to the toy store & let him buy a new toy piano by paying with his binkies. We haven’t been back to that toy store yet…

  55. Kate says:

    luckily for us, just before it was time for my girl to give them up my parents had been in finland. They went to see Santa Claus there ( oh, yeah… the real deal… he apparently lives in finland and you can go see him year round ) and he had big brass cauldrons next to his chair filled to the brim with finnish children’s binks. So they took pictures and we explained that we would gather hers up ( which she gleefully did ) and put them in a gift bag ( of course ) and leave them on the fence and Santa would come in the night and pick them up for the baby reindeer. We let her leave a note for him requesting one toy in their place. How delighted were we the next morning when she awoke and the binks were gone and the gift was delivered. that santa! he’s great all year round!

  56. Sarah says:

    You are a genius. Will you please come up with something equally brilliant that will get my soon to be 4 year old boy pooping on the potty? Please!

  57. Kaye says:

    Great idea and great post. We’re not so lucky…our little one is attached to his thumb and I don’t see us giving that one to the squirrels. Oh well…we’ll figure something out! And good girl, Momma, for letting her grow up too. =)

  58. schmutzie says:

    That’s a brilliant way to have done it!
    My mother weened me off my pacifier by making me hate it. She poked a small hole in the end, and then each day she made it a little larger until she was cutting whole strips off the end. She says that I eventually marched over to the garbage, yelled at my pacifier, and threw it out. I guess I had no idea that she was behind it.

  59. Jen says:

    What a great way to handle this potentially traumatic event!!! Love your new look too! Very pretty and classy!

  60. Genny says:

    How cute! When we were trying to wean my daugther from the binky, we “gave” it to the garbage man. A lot of good it did us, though. That same day, she discovered her thumb and apparently thought that was much better anyway!

  61. Holly Smith says:

    That makes me feel much better…and inspires hope! Our 21 month old is still in love with her paci. And she is the baby. And I can’t bring myself to take it away. So perhaps I could follow your idea or one of your readers’ ideas! If I can…

  62. E says:

    “making a difference in these baby squirrels’ lives.”
    LOL I’ve said inane stuff like that to my kids. I don’t write them down often enough.

  63. Kimberly says:

    Oh, that touched my heart. Very creative and a teachable moment. Will share with my sister when her baby needs to be de-pacified.

  64. Shannon says:

    That is so stinkin’ cute.
    And now you have the pics to show her when she’s a teenager and oh how she will roll her eyes at you! 🙂
    But for now…totally adorable.

  65. Kathryn - Boysmum2 says:

    My baby turns 3 next Wednesday and he still has his. His brother gave his up on his own at 2!
    We have managed to get it down to bedtime only but I love your story and how you did it.
    Gives me thought for what we can try later in the year.

  66. Soliloquy says:

    Hubby ASKED me to comment on this. He said, (and I quote) “We SO sympathize with you.”
    Our daughter, now 13, was 3 1/2, when we finally parted ways with the paci….
    It was a HORRIBLE first night….. despite the celebration and the trip to Toys R Us for a “big girl” toy – we definitely had to walk through some withdrawal.
    It was ROUGH.
    Baby squirrels…. (sigh) I don’t think I would have been so creative or…. “accommodating” given our recent squirrel eviction from the attic – but this is a priceless post!

  67. Amber (Bringing Good Home) says:

    Oh my goodness! I just read this whole thing. That’s hilarious. I’ve hears some good pacifier stories but this one takes the cake. By far. I’m so happy for her, though, she really was a very big girl, and unselfish in her giving. 🙂

  68. Redneck Diva says:

    Ohhh I remember when we gifted the pacifiers! My son was 2 1/2 and already showing signs orthodonitic needs looming in the future. My Mom had taken the pacis away when I was in Chicago a few months before, but I promptly gave them back when I got home because how dare she do me a favor? (I know, I was an ungrateful teen and obviously an ungrateful adult.) So my husband and I decided the time had come for the pacis to go. We put them in a gift sack – I mean, just CHOCK FULL of pacis – and put fancy curly ribbon on the bag and then Sam proudly gave them to my very unsuspecting pregnant friend who looked at me like I was a total fruitcake, giving her soon-to-be-born son USED pacifiers. But Sam looked so proud that he was helping out the new baby by passing on a source of obvious comfort.
    When I explained to my friend later that I really didn’t expect her to use them on her newborn son she looked incredibly relieved.

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