Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Oy, my sweet little boy, he is a thumb sucker. He was sucking his thumb in the womb and practically from the moment he came out. He never wanted a pacifier and the thumb sucking mostly did the trick when he was wee tot. I did research on the pacifier vs. thumb sucking at the time and decided that both were equal in some ways. Plus, I distinctly remember thinking HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO GET A KID TO STOP SUCKING BY AGE TWO??? SO who is the SUCKER now?!

Kevin just returned from a visit with the Dentist with mostly "dire" sounding news. The last visit with the Dentist he suggested we get Matthew to back off the thumb but it seems that any focus on his thumb was/is met with stubborn will, meaning he would do it more when we told him why he should not do it. This visit, they said Matthew's jaw is showing signs of misalignment and the roof of his mouth is rising up. Also, his whole jaw is off or crooked so when he smiles his teeth do not align.

After the 1st, my darling husband started in vein trying to get Matthew to stop. Admittedly, I have been mostly laissez-faire about the situation. I suggested to Matthew rather then suck his thumb just to put it in his mouth but not to suck it. I understand this is likely a stupid approach on my part. He sucks a lot and saying just put your thumb in your mouth but do not suck your thumb is like telling an alcoholic to just put the shot of booze in your mouth but do not swallow the drink. On top of all that, my mom was telling me how she sucked her thumb into adulthood and that Matthew would be fine, to let it be. For the record y'all because this rarely happens I actually listened to my mother, thankyouverymuch!

I started reading articles from a Google search entitled "how to stop thumb sucking". My goodness. These articles make me feel terrible for ever letting my child stick his thumb in his mouth. After reading several articles most of which felt like the authors were saying in essence "you dumb ass first time parent didn't you know that thumb sucking could do this to your kid!?!?!"

From these articles I learned that my child sucks due to being anxious, stressed out and he has low self esteem. Additionally, he will have speech issues from not being able to say the s, n or p sound (I think...) Finally, most telling and guilt worthy for all working parents in the world, my kid sucks his thumb because I tossed him to the wolves by leaving him at day care when he was too young (which has lead to the self esteem and anxiety issues according to earlier reports.)

Like I needed more parental guilt or really any guilt for that matter. I mean this has been a sucky few weeks for me so far - HELL, let's throw a healthy dose of guilt on top of guilt and really make a shit filled month! YEAH ME. Pity party for one, HERE.

SO with that pity party really just being for me, I found some less "guilt ridden articles" on how to stop thumb sucking and ways to do it with out scaring the crap out of my kid (and making him never want to see the Dentist again which is the direction we were heading). If you have heard of any good remedy or have a great suggestion I would greatly appreciate the head's up.

Another suggestion by the dentist was to find some books on thumb sucking which sounds so easy. Go to Amazon and insert key words, right?! When I put in 'thumb sucking' and thumbsucking' I was linked to this and this. No doubt these are excellent books but really will Matthew get what he needs from Kingsolver?!

ADDED: Contest Linkage


AndreAnna said...

We don't have a thumb sucker, but to say my daughter is attached to her pacifier is an understatement. I realize at some point, I can just take it away, which unfortunately you can't do with a thumb.

I wish I had some advice for you but I hope someone can help!

LoriD said...

I was a thumb-sucker until I went to kindergarten! To finally get me to stop, my dad put a big X with permanent marker on my thumb daily as a visual reminder to knock it off. Apparently it worked, even though it seems a little lame.

melissa said...

Lily was a paci addict but at around 20 months we just cut the tip of it. When she went to nap time she picked up the paci and said it was broken. We told her to throw it away. She did and that was the end of it.

I don't guess you can cut off the tip of his thumb though! It would be VERY hard work but I wonder if some kind of reward chart would work? The trick would be that you would have to monitor him all the time.

Maybe you should write a thumb sucking book! That could be how you make your fortune! I hope someone has better advice than I do!

melissa said...

Just saw a link to this book:


jennifer said...

I sucked my thumb until I was 10. I know, right? I only did it at night when I got older but it was definitely a self-soothing thing when I was younger. I also had a blankie, my mom took it away at 10 & I got it back when I went to college & I still have it! If these dentists want everyone to quit so badly, do THEY have any hot shot ideas?!? As I'm sure you can tell from a lot of my pictures that my jaw is a little out of whack although it has never been said that it's because I sucked my thumb which gives me pause :) I am also a "tongue thruster" which means my tongue (at rest) is on the roof of my mouth not like everyone else's which lies (where's yours right now!??!) at the bottom of your mouth WHICH caused me to have my overbite much more than thumb sucking was ever blamed. That was remedied with braces & a bunch of wire being tied back there & when I thruster I would thrust against a bundle of wire - lovely, right? I don't know if you want to figure out where Matthew "keeps his tongue" to see if you can discern if it's his tongue or thumb that might be causing some issues. Sorry for the novel :)

Welcome to our World said...

Don't be sorry, Jennifer! My mom calmed my nerves in the same way and she indicated she sucked her thumbs into her 20s. She never had any issues with her jaw or mouth that I knew of or can see visibly. The dentist gave some suggestions but basically from my reading of non guilt ridden articles we need to convince Matthew to give up sucking his thumb all on his own. I do not think he does the tongue thrusting thing but from what I can tell that may happen with later thumb sucking? I have no idea. Matthew also has a blankie and apparently these two things are sort of tied together. SO we have decided to be as gentle as possible, do a rewards chart, try to find a decent kids book on why to stop thumb sucking and do lots of kind loving supportive talking with him. It will all work out. Can you tell my pity party has mostly ended?!??!

K and J's mom said...

We are gradually weaning Kate from her thumb sucking (which she does only when snuggling her sleepy lion when tired or very upset) to keeping SL only in her room. Thus, to snuggle him, she has to physically move her body to do it and then leave him in her room to return to the chaos of family life. I don't let her carry her SL around all day and it only goes with us somewhere if she is going to sleep there. It's helped some. But I gotta warn ya, this probably isn't the best time to be weaning Matthew from anything. Worry about it next Christmas when his life is adjusted to the "new normal". It will likely increase as the "big adjustment" comes in the next few weeks! (And his jaw will be fine and so will his speech- think of all the kids who suck their thumbs...do we really see many of them walking around like that as adults?)