BLOG: It might ruin her teeth and stunt her speech so Now's Jess Spiring asks why haven't the Beckhams binned Harper's dummies yet?
The last time Harper Beckham was papped with a dummy (she was three at the time) I wrote a blog about how my own three year old, Bibi, still had one too.
I bemoaned how judgmental people were about it, how old ladies would tsk tsk if she’d fallen asleep in her buggy with one in her mouth, and other mums would pointedly ask if I was worried about her teeth.
I hated the disapproval and had only resisted getting rid of them sooner because a) I was exhausted and didn’t need to give our family yet another round of sleepless nights and b) I felt bad that Bibi’s then five-year-old sister would suck her thumb for comfort and that was somehow tolerated (or even considered cute) whereas Bibi’s dummy-sucking was not.
It wasn’t just me and the Beckham’s who were enduring the binky backlash. As I wrote at the time, you Google ‘celebrity kids with dummies’ and whole galleries appear with a multitude of mini-mes sucking away. Suri Cruise at almost five. Gwen Stefani’s son Kingston at four. Three-year-old Princess Tiaamii, Katie Price and Peter Andre’s daughter…
So, although I felt the condemnation of the Beckhams was harsh, in my heart of hearts I knew it was time for the dummies to go, after all, experts say they can disrupt speech development and damage teeth. Much as it might pain us, three-year-old toilet trained toddlers aren’t babies any more.
This Easter, just after Bibi’s third birthday, I manned up. I bought a little door to install outside the girls’ bedrooms and had the ‘dummy fairy’ who lived there write to Bibi asking if she could donate her dummies to a new baby in return for a toy.
Duly bribed, she happily gathered them together and later that night I spirited them away, never to return. We had a few sleepless nights but I was relieved that it was done.
I assumed that parental pros David and Victoria were doing the same. So I was shocked this weekend, when pictures were published of Harper now four-years-old STILL sucking away in the street beside her dad, David.
I wasn’t the only one. ‘As much as I like Mr Beckham, to see 4 year old Harper still using a dummy is quiet disturbing #notababyanymore’, wrote one fan on Twitter. ‘ I can’t deal with the dummy situation!!?’ added another.
I think I know what’s going on here. The Beckhams must have known everyone would be up in arms about Harper’s dummy – they are one of the most heavily scrutinised families in the world after all. But they also know how well a dummy can give a fractious child a mood makeover. Stubbed your toe sweetheart? Here, have a dummy. In a grump? Let’s stop the whining with this!
Is the dummy disapproval a lesser evil than the thousand of column inches a Baby Beckham breakdown would generate? I suspect it is.
But sorry, Vix and Dave. Taking the easy route as a parent almost always comes back to bite you. Harper isn’t far off starting school and she can hardly reach for a dummy there when she’s feeling anxious or angry. You need to teach her other coping mechanisms and soon. It really is time to say, so long suckers!