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Son no dummy as he dumps dear dee-dee

WE reached a milestone last week. Gary, my son, put his soother in the bin. It's gone now forever. I couldn't be happier. He will be five on Saturday and I had begun to despair of him ever giving up the dee-dee.

That's what we call our soother – a dee-dee. I know people have many names for it including a su-su, a dummy, a pacifier, and God knows what else, but in our house it was always a dee-dee. I've no idea why. And to be honest I had a love/hate relationship with it.

We have probably had about 40 or 50 dee-dees over the years. I had a few in every room just in case we ever ran out. I remember, as a smoker, I always had a massive fear of running out of cigarettes in the middle of the night.

But when I was expecting Gary I gave up the fags for good. Nine months later my new obsession became the dee-dee. There had to be two in the pram, five in the kitchen presses, three in my bed as that's where Gary slept most of the time, and four in his suitcase, which he used when visiting his dad. It was absolutely imperative that we would never run out. Not ever!

Everybody, from the nanny to my own parents knew that if there was one thing you could never be without, it was the dee-dee. If Gary woke up in the middle of the night and he couldn't find it, all hell would break loose. He'd scream for the dee-dee until somebody – yes, usually myself – got up at three or four in the morning, and retrieved the dee-dee which had usually fallen off the bed.

Mum began to notice the dark circles under my eyes. "Aren't you getting any sleep?" she'd enquire.


And I'd shake my head and admit that, no, I'd had another restless night thanks to the temporary disappearance of that damn soother.

"You see, it doesn't affect Gary so much, as he just goes straight back to sleep, but I am left awake for the whole night then, tossing and turning, until my alarm goes off at 6.45am. I'm worn out!"

"It has to stop," she advised. "Think of how much it will cost you in orthodontistry in later years?"

"I know, I know. But I've tried everything. Other people told me he'd grow out of it at around three or four and simply hand it back. But that hasn't happened yet. He's in school now and this is getting ridiculous!"

Then a few nights ago, Gary went to stay the night with his six-year-old cousin, Rachel. It was his first ever sleepover and he was excited about it.

He went off with his little night case with a big smile on his face. And four days later the dee-dee was put in the bin without any prompting from me. I was startled at this sudden change of heart, but delighted all the same. I rang my sister to tell her the good news.

"Well," she said. "Rachel was amazed to see Gary had a dee-dee when he came to stay the night, and words were had."

So, the little girl had shamed Gary into giving up the dee-dee! Ah. Everything made sense now.