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Issue Date: August 2004 Issue

Bye-bye Binky

Dalia Wheatt

For thumb-suckers, temptation is always just an arm's length away. Pacifier users may have life a little easier, thanks to Laurie Saponari of Independence.

She came up with the concept of Binkyland, a magical place where preschool-age children can send their pacifiers, after watching her now 9-year-old daughter endure years of painful orthodontics to correct palatal damage caused by her pacifier.

"The guilt just kills me, because I did that by not taking it away, because I had no clue how bad it is," Saponari says. "I just wanted a place where [kids] could send their Binky."

Last year, with the help of Saponari's brother and Cleveland illustrator Janet Purdy, Binkyland packets were born. "The Story of Binkyland" (Northern Ohio Printing, $10.95 plus shipping) encourages kids to send their pacifier of to Binkyland, where the pacifier becomes anything they want it to be. Each packet comes with an envelope addressed to Binkyland so the pacifier can start its new life as a nurse, firefighter, veterinarian or whatever fate the child chooses. There's also a certificate naming the child a hero of Binkyland.

The method can work if families are persistent. "It's not a one-time read," Saponari says. "It might take a month or two." But breaking the habit now will save your family suffering and expense down the line.

"Take it away when they're one, before they can talk," Saponari urges parents. They're going to cry for a week — so what?"

To order a Binkyland packet, call (216) 252-3475 or visit

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