For the past three years, one thing has been both my savior and yet the bane of my existence: baba.
Anyone who has ever tuned in has surely seen a photograph of my sweet baby girl with her pacifier - it is certainly her most prized possession. Some kids have blankets, some kids have a special lovey/stuffed animal that they adore and that comforts them: For Ava, that "lovey" is baba. In a way, it's her best friend.
Tonight, on the eve of her third birthday, the "baba fairy" is paying our house a visit. We're not cold-hearted meanies: we've been prepping Ava for this for some time, which is why we're choosing to do this on her birthday. She'll even tell you that, "Three-year-olds don't have babas," which we're hoping makes the transition easier.
I would be lying if I told you that I hadn't been looking forward to this night. In fact, when I spent the weekend away from A in Dallas back in September, one of the first things that I noticed about my absence was how freeing it was to not constantly be a slave to the baba. How many times a day I must locate that thing, wash it off, and generally babysit the baba - oh my word, how I've waited for the day when I wouldn't have to constantly be aware of where it was at any given moment.
So tell me why it is that, putting Ava to sleep tonight, I sobbed uncontrollably (and still am - I can hardly see the keyboard right now) at the thought of taking it away from her.
I know that it is time. I know there are baba naysayers who site dental issues and so on as being a reason to toss it, and say that "they're lucky" because their child never got into the baba. But as often as it has been the bane of my existence, it has been my salvation several times over. When Ava was a newborn, and wanted to cluster feed, we introduced the baba with the hopes that I'd get a break from nursing around the clock.
When she had what they thought was measles at just a few months old, baba provided comfort to her through the lab work, and then again through appointments with the pediatrician and pediatric gastroenterologist when we discovered her milk protein intolerance.
How many nights did I hear the sound of her sucking on her baba and take comfort that my baby, whom I lived in fear of succumbing to SIDS, was alive and breathing. I still count that sound amongst my favorite. Just last month, while hospitalized for severe illness, baba provided her with a sense of comfort and normalcy almost impossible to recreate in that environment:
More walking down memory lane:
And today, our last picture with baba:
For these, and for many other reasons, I am so grateful that my daughter took a baba, and that she's found comfort and security through it. And for these reasons, I feel sad to my very core that her time with "baba" is over.
We'll miss you, baba. Thanks for being there for my baby.