Growing up I was a thumb sucker until early elementary school. I can't remember how old I was when I stopped, but I do vividly remember the dentist calling me at home one night to remind me to not suck my thumb. Then in 5th grade, I got braces...for four and half years. I followed all the rules of my orthodontist and everything, but the thumb sucking got blamed for the years of orthodontia. I got braces again as an adult because my teeth shifted and my lack of saliva (thanks to being nuked during radioactive iodine treatments) was starting to cause some problems.
I vowed to NEVER. EVER. left one of my kids suck their thumb.
When we brought Jack home, one of the last things his foster mom said to me was "Don't let him suck his thumb!" No problem, I won't! And he wasn't.
Then we brought Sam home. And he was already a thumb sucker. He was nearly 18 months old and going through a lot of change so I decided to wait until he was 2 year old. Well, Ian was going to deploy and was going to go through a lot of change, so I would wait until he was home. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer about that time, so I'd wait until that mess way over. Then it was time to move cross country...you can see the theme here.
I allowed all these events to psych me out. I think I honestly just didn't want to do the hard work of reminding Sam to stop sucking his thumb. And it didn't seem to be terribly hard, he only sucked it when he was going to sleep. I guess it's one of those things that will make him into a big boy...and like most moms, I want to keep him little!
Last fall, Sam asked for a "bendy" seatbelt and I figured that would be a good reward for getting him to stop sucking his thumb. So we decided when he was 5 years old, he wouldn't suck his thumb any more.
On the morning of his birthday, December 27th, I reminded him what we talked about. That is was time to stop sucking him thumb so he could get a bendy seatbelt.
"How many days do I have to stop, Mom?"
Shoot. I hadn't thought of that. "14." Sounds good to me. A good two weeks to help him break the habit.
"Then on day 15 I get my bendy seatbelt, right?"
"Yes, Sam. 14 days in a row and then you get it."
He was sold. And meanwhile I'm thinking that this will be a long process...lots of reminding, lots of tears.
Well today was 15 days after his birthday...and guess who got a bendy seatbelt?!
I really never thought Sam was going to stop sucking his thumb this easily. But I'm thrilled! And so proud of him for doing it...and he worked hard...and with few reminders from me.