Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sayonara Sucker!

Well, I didn't want to jinx it by saying anything sooner but its been a week so I think I'm safe.

Y'all, Will totally and completely stopped sucking his thumb!

People this is huge. 

Here's a little background: I have an ultrasound of Will in my womb at around 30 weeks gestation SUCKING HIS THUMB.

At six weeks old he found his thumb again and the deal was sealed.

If he was awake, and he wasn't eating, his thumb was in his mouth.  And yes, I tried every pacifier shape known to mankind, but none would do.

Starting around six months old, I had to sneak into his room and cover his thumb with ointment while he was sleeping because he basically had his thumb in his mouth all day long and the skin was red and cracked.

I was never so happy when he learned to crawl because if he was crawling, he wasn't sucking his thumb.

It was about this time that we noticed an interesting phenomenon: when he sucked his thumb he liked to rub a cloth tag. It didn't matter the kind of tag, any tag would do.  The tag on a stuffed animal, blanket, baseball hat, shirt, shorts, even, much to my dismay, the tag on his underwear.

He would contort his left arm to reach the tag where ever it might be.  He looked absolutely silly walking around with his hand down the back of his pants so he could rub the tag on his underwear!

Now, there were times when this whole thumb sucking/tag rubbing thing came in handy.  I recall one car trip when he was cranky and crying and I couldn't do anything to sooth him.  

I spied a t-shirt of Scott's in my car with a tag on it.  I tossed the shirt to Will and said, "Hey, look a tag!"  He was in tag/thumb heaven. Hey, don't judge.  We all do what we have to do.

Anyhoo, this habit would rule his world for his first seven years. In fact, we would gently rib him from time to time with the nickname "tag-lova, thumb-sucka." He'd laugh and say, "Yep, that's me."

As he got closer to Kindergarten, we'd mention that he might want to think about breaking the habit because some not-so-nice kids might tease him in a mean way. We didn't push him or make him feel bad, we just wanted him to think about it.  

He came home after the first day of Kindergarten and told me what a great day he had.  When his excitement was spent, he said, in all seriousness, "Mommy, can I just sit here and suck my thumb?" Apparently, he went the whole school day without sucking his thumb and it had taken its toll!

It was at this point that I also started cutting the tags out of all of his clothes and I only bought him underwear that had no tags. I figured if we could start to remove the tag trigger, perhaps the thumb sucking would eventually wane.

All through Kindergarten and First Grade, Will never sucked his thumb at school.  But any time he would watch TV at home, and at bed time, you could find a tag in one hand and his thumb in his mouth.

As he started to loose his baby teeth, we'd casually talk about that, now that his permanent teeth were coming in, he really ought to stop or he might cause problems with his permanent teeth.  To this he'd simply shrug and carry on. 
And then, a minor miracle happened.

One morning, a little over a week ago, Will told me that when he sucked his thumb his bottom permanent tooth hurt.  To which I said, "Well, it would be a shame to damage that tooth. I think you know what you need to do."   

And lo and behold, that night at bed time he told me, "Mommy, I haven't sucked my thumb ALL DAY!"  

Now I had noticed that he hadn't sucked it at all since he'd come home from school but I didn't want to say anything, lest I remind him about it!

He was so cute as he explained, "Mommy, there were a couple of times when I was watching TV and I'd start to put my thumb in my mouth without even realizing I was doing it!  I would go, 'whoa' and I would stop before it got to my mouth!"

Well folks, it's been more than a week and that little man conquered a seriously huge habit ALL ON HIS OWN.  

We are so proud of him. Scott and I both wish we could harness some of his fabulous will power.

So it's sayonara to the tag lova', thumb sucka' for good.

Way to go Will!

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