Thumb Wars

thumb sucking.jpg

Being a parent is hard.

There are tons of websites and blogs that serve as a prime example of how difficult it can be, but there are also many moments that leave you wondering if you are made of tough enough stuff.

One such incident happened after our dentist appointment this Monday.

To provide a little background, our Mouskatot is a thumb sucker. She always had been. Try as hard as I could, I just couldn’t get her to latch on to a pacifier. (I wanted this option because I knew I could take away the pacifier, but I couldn’t take away her thumb. I jokingly suggested that I would chop it off and our little one said no I couldn’t because blood would go everywhere. I think we have a little Wes Craven in the making.)

She doesn’t suck her thumb a whole lot, just usually when she is sleepy and it would fall it once she feel asleep.

I knew that when we went to the dentist, that he was going to bring up the thumb sucking issue.

After her exam we found out that she has perfect teeth, and luckily the thumb sucking has caused only a little damage, nothing major, but if it continues it could lead to problems down the road.

Now I was faced with the challenge of how to break this bad habit that has provided so much comfort for her since birth.

The dentist did talk to her and said that she needed to be a big girl and stop sucking her thumb, and once we got out to the car she broke down and cried.

My heart broke right along with hers. It was like watching her lose her most favorite thing in the world. At one point I was trying to find a way to make it all better and I asked her if she could have anything in the world what would it be (I would have given it to her) and through tears she said, “To suck my thumb!”

She is a blanket baby that has to snuggle with her blankie for comfort and in goes the thumb.

So when we got home my mom was trying to come up with some ideas on what to do.

The internet did have a variety of options including:

  • Wrap the thumb through the wrist with an ace bandage.
  • There are also these mid-evil torture devices that are a rubber thumb guard that has a strap attached around it that goes around the wrist.
  • Get her a necklace that is made to bite on and that way she can transfer the oral fixation to another device
  • Show her a video on what it is like to get braces put on. (Nothing gory, but just something that shows the process.)

Well, I decided to give the last two a shot.

I had a necklace that I received as a gift from my mom when Lily was just a baby and is made for teething. I gave it to her and she really enjoyed wearing it. She got used to putting it in her mouth when she had the desire to suck her thumb.

Now a day removed and she doesn’t have to rely on it too much.

What I think really pushed her over the edge was watching the braces video.

Like I said it wasn’t gory, it was something made for kids and it just showed the process of putting the cement on, putting in the tongue guard, etc.

She watched intently and afterwards we had a talk.

Being a person that had to have braces I was able to tell her a little about it and how it required a lot of work to take care of and sometimes it was uncomfortable.

Since then she really hasn’t sucked her thumb.

When she woke up this morning she said that she forgot and sucked it once, but then thought “no I don’t need to do this. I can cuddle Pay (her blankie) like this.”

She found a way to still snuggle her blanket near her face without needing her thumb and it really worked.

I also turned to one of the time honored traditions of parenting (bribing) and said that we would go and get her nails done at a kids salon and spa this weekend as well as get her a “Chubby Puppy” (whatever that is) that she has been asking for if she didn’t suck her thumb anymore this week.

So far, so good, but only time will tell. But, I think that we maybe have crossed this hurdle.

Was your child a paci user thumb sucker? How did you break them of the habit. Leave your comments below.