When I was a little girl, I loved my pipek, my pacifier. And why wouldn't I have? At only 1 1/2, I had already lived through Communism and snuck over the Polish border (with the potentially penalty of death) into Austria, leaving all our family and belongings, including all my toys, behind.
In Austria, we waited for American paperwork and my mother became pregnant with my brother.
To say I had a stressful first few years of life is accurate. But, all in all, I was still a very happy child.
I did, after all, have pipek.
One day, in the Austrian countryside, when I was a little over 2 years old, my parents convinced me to throw my beloved pipek to the chickens. After all, I was a "big girl".
I threw it willingly and the chickens celebrated this new treat by fighting over it and trying to figure out how to use it themselves, as they had no lips.
Little did my parents know that in the middle of the night I would have a toddler conniption fit which would bring my father out into the night looking and hunting for a replacement pipek throughout the village we stayed and even visiting another village near us until he found one.
He has told me since that I not only wanted my pipek but a blue one with a flower. Yes, I was specific. And chic.
I went on to use my beloved pipek until I was about 3 1/2 years old, when my parents made me give it up against my will. At the time, we were living in the US in a townhouse with my new brother, having had my hand severly burned by accident and learning my third language by then.
Later on, my pipek caused my father to have to get me braces as a teenager.
So, when my children were born, I offered them each 5 different styles of pipeks a total of 3 times each. They refused them and I celebrated that we wouldn't have to go through anything like what my parents did.
I got quite a bit of grief from some friends and a pediatric nurse for not allowing them to have a pipek.
But, guess what? My children didn't cry or whine anymore than children who did use pacifiers. When they wanted to suck on something, I nursed them. And they grew.
To each their own.
I'll try to find a picture of myself as a small child with my beloved pipek.