When my niece Nicole decided it was time to separate Zoe, who was nearing the age of 2, from her pacifier, she consulted the lunar calendar.
In other words, like the wisest of Southern women, Nicole wanted to make certain that the signs of the moon were most beneficial for starting such a traumatic event.
See, such delicate situations should only be handled when the moon is in agreement. Taking a pacifier away from a child on the wrong signs of the moon would be the opposite of heaven. Nicole studied the signs. There were five days - from the 8th to the 13th - when the signs were right. This meant the calendar, obtained from the local funeral home, showed the moon being in the legs. It's kind of complicated, but perhaps I can explain somewhat succinctly.
In a lunar month, the moon travels from the head down to the feet. A lunar appropriate calendar will show when the moon resides in the head, then the neck, then the chest and downwards. When something needs to happen in one part of the body - in this case the mouth - the moon needs to be settled in the body as far away as possible. Nicole determined when the moon was in the legs and feet, circled those days in red and planned her course.
Zoe was about as attached to her "paccie" as Dixie Dew is to a pork chop bone. In other words, nothing should come between either. Zoe had always been adamant about one thing: No paccie, no sleep.
But being the confident Southerners we are and believing in the signs of the moon like we do, we had faith that the lunar calendar that had served us so well for many generations wouldn't fail us now. After all, we had depended on it to see us through surgeries with record-time healings, garden plantings that produced abundant harvests and even cutting our hair when we wanted to make sure it grew slower rather than faster.
More than one dentist or doctor - oh, those scientific types - have laughed or rolled eyes when one of us said, "Let me consult the signs of the moon before I schedule that surgery."
The truth of the matter is that when the signs are right, there will be virtually no bleeding at the incision, and the dryer the wound the quicker the healing with no problematic infections.
Back to Zoe. We believe firmly in the lunar calendar but we also have ample respect for an independent, stubborn toddler who at such a tender age is already set in her ways.
But the lunar calendar again rose to the occasion. When Zoe arose from her nap one afternoon, Mama took the pacifier from her mouth, hid it in her diaper bag and then in her most artful way, weaved an engrossing tale of how she had thrown the pacifier out and the dogs had gotten it.
Zoe thought this was deliciously funny and giggled with great enthusiasm.
"Tell Ronda what happened to your pacifier," Mama instructed Zoe, whose mouth was covered in chocolate pudding.
"Dogs! Dogs!" she chanted, then threw back her head and laughed from deep in her little belly.
And that was that. No pacifier. No tears. No problems.
It was amazingly effortless. So much so that Nicole called a friend who had battled twice before to take her baby off the bottle to no avail.
"Now's the time," Nicole announced. "Take it from him now. The signs are right."
In a snap of the fingers, the baby gave up his bottle. Another happy mama.
Ronda Rich is a best-selling Southern author. Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com.