oh, ye cruel recall gods

Maddie is a month old today! And light is beginning to appear at the end of the sleep deprivation tunnel. If you will indulge me for a moment, since this is all parents of newborns want to talk about, last night she ate at 9:45 pm, 1:30 am, and then made it until 6 am. That means she was only up once… and that time, Daddy gave her a bottle! So I had a blissful opportunity to sleep eight straight hours, although of course, I didn’t. I woke up at 2:45 am, started wondering why David hadn’t brought her to me yet, and spent the next hour lying there and talking myself out of going to check on her, just in case. But my mind kept going back and forth: maybe something’s wrong with her. Maybe something’s wrong with David. At 4:00 am I finally caved, checked on both of them… and found them both still breathing. It’s the curse of being a mother of a newborn: if they don’t sleep, you don’t sleep. If they do sleep, you still don’t sleep, because the milk letdown wakes you up, and then you lie there worrying that they’re sleeping too long. Or maybe it’s just me.

We did suffer one devastating disappointment this week, however. Maddie hasn’t been much of a pacifier fan, or a “dady” as we call them at my house, and Mommy is a big proponent of said sleep prop. Cooper loved them, thank goodness, because he was the toughest newborn ever and it was the only thing that made him happy. Fergus didn’t care for them, and didn’t need them anyway, because he never cried. Miss Mairead Catherine seems to be somewhere in the middle. She’s happy most of the day, but around 5 pm passes into the late afternoon colicky crying jags I have heard tell of, and refuses all latex comforts. We’ve tried the Nuk, the Soothie, some random kind with Winnie the Pooh on it– you name it.

Then last week, my babysitter Alicia said, “I think I get her pacifier from my country.” As in, Mexico. “They tiny tiny tiny,” she said. Well, so is Maddie’s mouth, so that sounded good to me. Alicia was gone most of the morning on her journey to a specific store in upper Manhattan that would carry these Mexican pacifiers. She came back with a collection of them, and if they weren’t the cutest darn things I’d ever seen:

And they looked even cuter in her mouth!

Most pacifiers are quite unattractive, but I think you will agree, this one lends her a doll-like quality. And it made her happy.

That made me happy, until I woke up in the middle of the night worrying that they were after all very rare Mexican pacifiers and we only had four and I would lose them all by the end of the week. So I got out of bed and Googled “Jaloma,” the brand name embossed in loopy script on the front of each pacifier. That’s when I found out that these adorable wonders had been recalled. THREE YEARS AGO.

Apparently, they were coming apart in kids’ mouths and the “sugary substance” they were filled with was leaking out. This gave me pause on several counts, not the least of which was, why were they filled with anything? Does calling something a “sugary substance” mean it contains something sugar-like but not actual sugar? And could that substance be a combination floor polisher/ date rape drug?

We took the Jalomas away from Maddie immediately. But I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. What if she’s REALLY upset, I thought? Maybe I’ll hold her and let her have it and if I watch her the WHOLE TIME then I can pull it away just before it breaks, or just suck the sugary substance back out of her mouth. Thankfully, my husband overruled me on this idea and threw them out. (Although I will say, in my defense, that David is never home at 5 pm, and so did not understand my slight desperation in this matter.)

Since then, we have had a couple of tough days, but as of yesterday Maddie has decided that on certain occasions she will accept the Nuk brand pacifier, and life is getting easier again. Still, I wonder: why is it that it is only the things our kids love most that get recalled? Their favorite pacifier, their Lights n Sound James Engine, their Aqua Dots (which my older two are still clamoring for daily)? Why do the recall gods only take away the good stuff?