Parenting for dummies - or rather, about dummies

Tibbons started comparing the lampshade to a dummy.

A few days ago, Tibbons started comparing the lampshade in mine and Daddy-O’s room to a dummy.

Nothing strange in that, you might (or might not) think, except that, as far as I was aware, Tibbons didn’t even know that dummies existed. He’s never had one and we’ve never talked about them. I can’t rule out the possibility that he’s noticed them in other babies’ mouths, or on supermarket shelves, but ours is pretty much a dummy-free world. Or rather, I thought it was.

You see, Tibbons has a new friend at nursery. It seems to be a fun and mischievous partnership, with games of monsters and hide-and-seek and it’s lovely to hear him talk about their adventures. The latest of which, it turns out, has included Tibbons’s very generous companion sharing their dummy with him.

And so two things suddenly make sense: his unexpected comment on the appearance of our lampshade and his declaration that he wants a dummy of his own.

Now, at this stage, I should clarify that generally in parenting I am of the “each to their own” point of view; the fact that we’ve scrupulously taken the “no dummy” path isn’t a commentary on those who have done otherwise. But avoid dummies we have, and I can’t be the only one to think that taking up a dummy for the first time aged nearly three is neither sensible nor typical. Peer pressure clearly starts young.

How then to persuade a toddler that they really don’t want a dummy? And that, come to think of it, they probably don’t want to share their friend’s dummy either?

Really, I blame myself. If I’d chosen a different lampshade, then we might never have had the dummy conversation and I’d be none the wiser. Ignorance is bliss and all that.