When the time comes for your little one to stop using their binky, whether on your terms or theirs, there are a number of ways to get rid of it. Some parents choose to take it away cold turkey, while their children are still young. They deal with a few rough nights and then they’re done with it. Others choose to let their children keep their binky until they’re ready to get rid of it on their own. With my boys, I fall into the second group. There is no right or wrong way to ditch the binky, but my decision was to let my kids give up theirs when they were ready. My oldest son, Caleb, gave up his binky one week after his 4th birthday. I didn’t pressure him to do so but we had been discussing that he probably didn’t need it anymore, since he was about 3.5yrs old. We read all the binky books, talked about the binky fairy, and even talked about putting it in the mailbox and sending it to a new baby who could really use it. Caleb loved the idea of all of those things but it wasn’t until I showed him the Build-A-Bear website and told him all about building a Binky Bear, that he decided he was ready. This is our Binky Bear experience:
The Binky Bear Idea
Right before Caleb’s fourth birthday, I came across the idea of a “Binky Bear” on Pinterest. A Binky Bear is a teddy bear that your child builds at a Build-A-Bear Workshop, and stuffs their binky into before it is sewn shut. I showed Caleb the Build-A-Bear website and explained to him what a Binky Bear was. Right away, he excitedly said “I want to do that!” Yay! This was the week before his birthday party so I prayed that he didn’t lose interest in the Binky Bear before we could get to a Build-A-Bear Workshop. Every day, for a week, we talked about the Binky Bear, and every day he got a little more excited about it.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop
When the big day finally arrived, we all took a trip to Emerald Square Mall in Attleboro, MA, to visit their Build-A-Bear workshop. After studying their website for a week, Caleb couldn’t wait to check out the real thing! As we walked into the store, his eyes lit up. If you’ve never been to a Build-A-Bear Workshop, the store is divided into sections. Each section brings you through the different steps of building your bear.
As we entered the Build-A-Bear Workshop, we were immediately greeted by a cheerful employee. She introduced herself and got down to Caleb’s level to speak with him. She asked if he had been here before and what brought us in. Caleb told her he was going to be making a Binky Bear and she knew exactly what he was talking about. She told him what a big boy he was and how proud she was of him. She then brought us over to the first station in the Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Building Our Binky Bear
Step 1 – Choose Me: The first station at the Build-A-Bear workshop is choosing which stuffed animal you want to make. Caleb went there with then intention of choosing a bunny he saw on the website but when placed in front of all the options, he had to carefully examine every stuffed animal on the shelves and in the bins. This was a pretty difficult decision for him to make but he eventually decided on a tiger striped teddy bear with green eyes. It was actually the only one left and was randomly placed in a bin containing a different stuffed animal. I guess it was meant to be!
Step 2 – Hear Me: At Build-A-Bear’s second station, your child has the option to choose a sound that they can place inside their stuffed animal. Some options are a beating heart, a themed song, or a personalized message. We actually skipped this step and went right to Station Three.
Step 3 – Stuff Me: At the third station of the Build-A-Bear Workshop, Caleb chose a heart to place inside his Binky Bear. What happened next was priceless. Our Build-A-Bear helper started talking to Caleb about his binky bear and how special it was going to be to him. She then went through a whole routine with him before he placed the heart inside his Binky Bear. Here’s what she had Caleb do:
- While holding the heart, rub your hands together so the Binky Bear will always have a warm heart.
- Wave the heart over your head so the Binky Bear will be really smart.
- Wave the heart next to your ear so you can tell bedtime stories to each other.
- Touch the heart to your nose so the Binky Bear can smell.
- Wave the heart in front of your eyes so the Binky Bear isn’t afraid of the dark.
- Rub the heart on your arms so the Binky Bear will be really strong.
- Wave the heart over your feet so he can keep up with you.
- Jump as high as you can so the Binky Bear has lots of energy.
- Place the heart on your heart and make a wish.
- Kiss the heart so there’s lots of love in him too, then place the heart inside the Binky Bear.
Next, she had Caleb help fill the bear with stuffing, by pressing the down on the pedal of the machine with his foot. Once the bear was completely filled, it was time to place his binky inside. I was really nervous about this part but he did it without even blinking an eye. Our helper then pushed Caleb’s binky right up to the Binky Bear’s heart so Caleb could always feel it when he needed to.
Step 4 – Stitch Me: Once the binky was in Caleb’s binky bear, it was stitched shut. Our Build-A-Bear helper again told Caleb how proud of him she was and then he gave her a huge high five! That was definitely a proud mommy moment for me!
Step 5 – Fluff Me: After your stuffed animal is made, is time to give it an air bath at the “Fluff Me” station. Caleb had a lot of fun giving his new best friend a “tubby”.
Step 6 -Name Me: We did steps 6 and 7 backwards. Caleb didn’t name his bear until he picked out it’s outfit.
Step 7 – Dress Me: Although Caleb is a total boy, he has a thing for princesses and was super excited when he saw a Snow White costume on the wall of outfits. After much thought, he eventually settled on that Snow White costume and was eager to put it on his binky bear. He then announced that his binky bear’s name was Snow White.
Step 8 – Take Me Home: Once your child’s Build-A-Bear is complete, they will sit at a computer and make a birth certificate for their new friend before taking it home.
I have to say that I was extremely happy with our entire Build-A-Bear experience. As you can see from smile on my little guy’s face, he really enjoyed it too! The fact that he went to bed that night without his binky and never asked for it again was an added bonus! Thank you, Build-A-Bear Workshop. We can’t wait to come visit you again!