My daughters are a lot of awesomeness and they are also thumb-suckers. 

Lil O wasn't at first. Then her pediatrician happened to us (Doctors DO NOT always know the right thing for you!). When Lil O was adjusting to Day Care, her pediatrician recommended that she learn to self soothe and suck her thumb. So BK and I actively taught her to suck her thumb. She was 10 months old and she obliged. Well, some people have Xanax, she has her thumb. 

Now she is 2 years old and hasn't stopped. Lil A is already at it as well. 

We tried some stuff (I am ashamed to admit that they all failed because good parents obviously cannot fail). We tried putting some salt (which she loved and asked for more), bitter gourd (which she loved and asked for more), some other bitters (which she loved and asked for more), lemon juice (which she asked for more) and most recently ginger-garlic paste (which she loved and asked for more) on her thumb. 

Disclaimer: we put tiny diluted amounts so as to taint the wonderful and familiar taste of her thumb and not enough to be brutal or cruel. The tables turned because each time she asked for more. 

We tried bandaids with Dora on it, with Elmo on it... didn't work. She cried and BK can't stand tears. (I can't either but he is the weaker one).

So like any good parent, I googled it. The results were NOT GOOD, to say the least. 
By the time I read through Baby Center and other Parenting sites and then all the message forums, I was convinced to get every single anti-thumb sucking products and get to work. 

Unfortunately this is what I found. 
Picture
tguard.com
Oh my God! This is like a straight jacket for the thumb! There is no way that I was ever going to consider that. That's cruel. And look at the number of people who 'LIKE' it!

And oh my God, what is this for?
For the child who gives the middle finger a lot? Yes, wave instead. Terribly clever.

There were friendlier products too. 
Picture
www.thumbbuddy.com
These products woke me up. I don't care that it may have worked for so many. 

I also don't care for everyone (excluding family - because we are all in it together) who comments on Lil O's and Lil A's habit. Seriously, none of your business. 

I don't think I want to be paying for therapy on 'about that time when my mother stopped at nothing'. 

I read about so many women who sucked their thumbs till they were 7, 14, 44 (!) but all of their messages were the same. By fighting it, I am calling a toddler's attention to something and something that they hold dear at that. Maybe I should just ignore it, just like I ignore all the food O is hiding behind the couch. Either it will go away or it will become a non-invasive habit that is not seen, not harmful and not affecting anyone. If not, there is always therapy.  And all those aforementioned ladies, they turned out to be fine. Yes, including that 44 year old thumb-sucker. 

Best thing that came out of this, I know that I am not alone. The resounding message out there is positive reinforcement (O's new pediatrician confirms). If I kept her occupied and active which would mean less TV time for both of us, she wouldn't suck her thumb. If I read to her instead of tossing her  an interactive toy, she would point and read aloud and wouldn't suck her thumb. If I played Miss Mary Mack instead of giving her an iPad, we would have fun with our hands. And instead of therapy, I am putting money aside for braces, just in case. 

For every problem in parenting, there seems to be a fun solution for both the parent and the child. (Also notice that for every parenting problem, it always is the parents' problem ultimately!). 

Also I realized that I am a thumbsortasucker. You too BK. When we are at home, no matter what we are doing, our phone is always near by and being refreshed for new posts, messages, pings, pokes, mails, tweets, reminders, dings and dongs. It's crazy. We need to ease up on that habit too. Maybe we need lil O and A to help us keep our hands busy. Or get that straight jacket, the middle-finger one. 

Dear O and A, I am going to try to be obnoxiously hands on during your play time. You will thank me later. Forget about buck teeth, you need those little thumbs for when you turn into teenagers with iPhones. That much I know is true. 
 


02/20/2013 6:36pm

Wb is a thumb sucker too. I am hoping he grows out of it. But it works very nicely right now!!

<a href="http://www.ramblingsofasuburbanmom.com/">Ramblings of a Suburban Mom</a>

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Jen
02/20/2013 10:19pm

I know. The joys of thumb-sucking. Did L have that habit? If yes, how and when did it break?

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minsi
02/22/2013 1:07am

gins, it's a very valid point u made when u said as parents v also sorta-suck our thumbs. instead of being preoccupied with our activities when v take an active part in playing their games, v can gently guide them away from habits like this...

Reply
Jen
02/22/2013 12:53pm

And it works Mins! We tried it. Around the time she wants to watch TV or sleep, I read to her and talk to her through her show (she talks through mine, so why not?) and she forgets to put her hand in her mouth.
Eventually one of us will have to give. I sure hope it's her.

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