pacifierWhen my kids were newborns, I hid all the pacifiers we received as gifts in fear that using them would cause nipple confusion. Plus, I really didn't need another thing to clean. Then my mom bought us some fancy ones most like a woman's nipples and whispered to me, "Just in case." We had one of those "just in case" moments and used them for half a second before my son decided he liked to suck on his foot better and my daughter found her thumb. Thank goodness for that because researchers just revealed that baby boys who use pacifiers turn out to be emotionless jerks who seem to have Botox faces without any expression or empathy for others. 

I wonder if that explains some of the guys I've dated.

Girls come out unscathed. And there hasn't been a study on baby boys who suck their own toes yet, so the verdict is out on my son. But no one wants their precious little boy to turn out to be an apathetic dolt. What the heck is this study anyway?

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Before all pacifier users start freaking out, I will let you know that the researchers say nighttime use seems to be okay. It can be damaging however when we plug our boys' mouths up in the daytime when they should be mimicking our facial expressions. We can shut girls up with the thing any time and we will still turn out to be emotional and heartfelt. I think I find this girls exempt part most fascinating. We're essentially bulletproof here. Perhaps that makes us sup -- okay, I'll stop. Back to the boys ... our poor indifferent men ...

The study was published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology and there were three experiments that yielded these findings -- so they checked them thrice! Those researchers tied "heavy pacifier use as a young child to poor results on various measures of emotional maturity."

Wow. Way to make moms who used pacifiers on their sons who turned out to be callous creeps feel even worse. As if no cards on birthdays, no smiles in the mornings, and years of enduring the cold stares weren't enough.

Paula Niedenthal is the lead author of the bad news that basically says boys who use pacis turn into Neanderthal-types (odd how those names are so similar). She said that mimicking another is an important learning tool for babies. "We can talk to infants, but at least initially they aren't going to understand what the words mean. So the way we communicate with infants at first is by using the tone of our voice and our facial expressions." A pacifier in a baby's mouth is going to inhibit that child's ability to mirror these expressions.

Niedenthal -- whose work is supported by the French, who of course know more than everyone else about raising babies -- put it simply: "What if you always had something in your mouth that prevented you from mimicking and resonating with the facial expression of somebody?"

C'est vrai. It would turn a guy into a robot. Quick! Get those pacifiers out now!

This whole thing just sucks. But parents, instead of feeling awful that you let your little guy pacify himself with a binky, let him watch some Charlie Chaplin movies or sing to any My Chemical Romance record on repeat -- mouth unobstructed -- and I bet he'll end up nurturing lost puppies, letting spiders out of the house instead of killing them, not breaking young girls' hearts, and truly showing love for his mother.

What do you think of this study? Does it worry you or make you want to help your son kick the pacifier habit?

 

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