Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A mother interferes with her daughter's love life

When my daughter was born I was amazed at her beautiful round cheeked perfection.

She had a shock of black hair that was velvety soft to the touch.

We were cosseted and loved on by our boys and existed in a euphorically hazy bubble of cute baby induced hormones. 

I couldn't have loved her more.

I thought she felt the same.

That is until I was introduced to her real love.  Her true love.  The one she would never be parted from.  The one that could bring her comfort at any time any place. 

Her Thumb.

I guess I should feel somewhat glad that I was at least there for the introduction.

It was a beautiful fall day, she sat in her swing at my office and I cooed at her as she fussed and tried to settle down before a nap.  
I offered her a pacifier that she wanted nothing to do with.  
Knowing she was fed and changed and simply sleepy a gave her a moment to wind down.  
She turned her head left and then right and then left again.  
She waved her chubby baby fists in the air working to make contact with them.

And then she did.

She socked herself in the tiny face with her tiny fist.  

Her lips parted on a cry and her fist landed in her mouth.

Her fingers loosened and her thumb nestled into the tiny center of her orally fixated universe.

She went silent almost in surprise, her body stilled and then went limp.   
Her eyes rolled back in her head and she fell into a deep sleep.

I'll admit it was nice not having to find a pacifier, 
worry about losing a pacifier 
or ultimately playing pacifier fairy when I was done with the prior. 

What wasn't nice were the germs.  
Oh the places that tiny mobile babies put their fingers...
Oh the places that toddlers with big brothers put their fingers.  

None of which would have been so cringeworthy if she didn't 
then promptly pop said fingers into her mouth.   

However, there is something to be said for mass germ exposure at an early age.  
Miss Thing is a robust girl and doesn't get sick often, but still.  


When she turned 3 (the same age that the pacifier fairy visited Super Son) we began to in earnest discuss when you can suck your thumb (at bedtime), 
where you can suck your thumb (in your room).  

I might have been more successful trying to convince my chickens to snuggle up with Eli to nap.  

She had absolutely no interest in stopping.

We had brief encounters with nail polishes that taste horrible
 (which will burn when you get them in your eyes and make anything you eat taste awful for hours),
(easily removed for a child with good dexterity),
fancy nail polishes that you don't want to come off
(which is what happens when you suck your thumb)
and chewing gum.

We have reminded her, ignored it, begged her, enticed and cajoled all to no effect.

Everyone tells me that she won't go to college sucking her thumb, so don't worry.  

Which helped until I met a lady who commented on my lovely daughter 
and how she too had sucked her thumb as a child.  
When I shared my "won't do it in college" mantra flippantly the woman smiled at me and said

"Oh, but I did.  I finally stopped a year ago"  

The woman was probably in her late 20's.  

Now that I think of it, that is when I developed that pesky tic over my left eye. 

So this week I decided to give up. 

 I told Miss Thing that she could suck her thumb all she wanted for the next 2 weeks, but would be stopping forever after that.   

She was ecstatic.  

I'm pretty sure she only listened to the "You can suck your thumb all you want" part.

A visit with our friendly dentist this week confirmed that Miss Things teeth are starting to show the effects and shifting of being a Thumbsucker.  

Why 2 weeks?

That's how long it takes for the mouth guard the dentist is making for her to arrive.  

The general opinion is that with the appliance in place it will take a month or two, but by the end of Summer the nearly 6 year long love affair with her digit should be over.

We feel good in our decision, but you will have to excuse me if I flagellate myself periodically. 

It's a mother's job to fret and worry if she is doing the right thing.  

Worst case scenario I feel comfortable with the knowledge that all of the wonderful and inspiring people I know as adults were damaged in some way during childhood by their parents.

I would be an awful parent if I didn't want her to be wonderful or inspiring.  Right?

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