it’s time

by MrsFatass on May 7, 2017

To my beautiful Thing Two;

It’s well known in our family that your big brother was not a sleeper.

He wasn’t a huge crier, he wasn’t really fussy or anything like that. He just always preferred to be awake. No matter how much we rocked, tried to cry it out, read stories, adhered to a bedtime routine, getting him to sleep was always a battle. Early on, there were many late-night car rides to try to get him to nod off. Later, there were deals struck between Daddy and I about who would go to bed early, and who would stay up with him but then get to sleep in the next morning. And from his earliest days, he absolutely hated a pacifier.

This is just one of the many ways you and your brother differ, because you are my sleeping beauty. You slept so much in the beginning that I worried something might be wrong. You instinctively knew how to soothe yourself; you had your favorite corner of your favorite pink blanket, and your thumb. You didn’t want to be rocked or snuggled to sleep, you could do it all yourself.

And lord was I thankful. Your brother took almost three years to sleep through the night. You barely took three months and we were down to just one middle of the night feeding. It was blissful.

There were many well-meaning folks who suggested that I work harder at giving you a pacifier instead of your thumb. They said how much easier it is to break you of a passy. They said how bad it was going to be for your mouth and your teeth coming in. But I politely ignored them all. After all the nights of hard work getting your brother to sleep, and after all the years of 2-3 wake ups per night, I got a kid who didn’t need or want my help in the sleep department and I wasn’t about to mess with it. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I said. I’m sure she won’t want to go to elementary school with her thumb in her mouth.

And, as The Universe is so wont to do, it laughed at me. Here we are with you almost 10 years old, still soothing with your favorite corner of your no-so-pink-anymore blankie. And your thumb planted right there in your mouth. With the dentist suggesting that I should have handled this years ago. With me worried that any day now you’ll come home and say someone at school teased you about your teeth. With your Dad and I bracing ourselves for what the Orthodontist is going to say. You’ve learned on your own not to suck your thumb at school, and you know that there are certain people who will tell you that it’s time to stop. One day at the doctor’s office a nurse tried to tell you what a bad habit it was, and that it was time for you to stop. Your eyes brimmed with tears and you looked over at me, astonished at the news, and my heart broke. And I said “baby, you don’t have to stop sucking your thumb yet. I’ll let you know when it’s time.” And you were so relieved.

One of the first things you do when you get home from school is to get your bang bang and take a few minutes to chill on the couch. In all of your years, you haven’t ever had to go to bed at night without the blankie/thumb combo. Your thumb has been there to pass the time on road trips, or tailgating, or even going to the movies. I love that it is still a part of you that hasn’t grown up yet. You’re still my baby, this is part of your innocence, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to see this go. But now, baby girl, I’m thinking that it’s time for us to have a talk about you stopping the thumb sucking.

You have absolutely zero desire to stop so I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to handle this. In order for a habit to become a habit (or, in order for a BAD habit to be broken) there has to be a payoff, and I’m not sure that either of us really knows what that payoff will be. You aren’t being picked on. You don’t care that some nurse thinks it’s a dirty habit. And you don’t really concern yourself with the braces that are in your future. And me? Well. I’m not really sure why I think now is the time. Except that I do.

So, my sweet care bear, know this: You are strong. You adapt. You are kind and compassionate. You are mature and wise beyond your years. You are a wonderful communicator and you are open and honest. You are sensitive and emotional, but you are also tough. And you believe in Girl Power.

You are amazing.

And I think you will continue to be all of these things, even without your thumb in your mouth.

I love you, sweet girl.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Thea May 8, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Emma sucked her finger right up until they put a device in with her braces that prevented her from sucking her finger. The first few nights were rough…but she did it. She found another way to soothe (which is another bad habit but doesn’t require orthodontia so o.k.) and moved right on with her life.


KCLAnderson (Karen) May 8, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Oh to have learned self soothing via thumb sucking and not binge eating. Keep on keepin’ on mamma!


16blessingsmom May 8, 2017 at 10:57 pm

Bless her sweet heart! I have a daughter just like her, 9 and a half years old. She’s the youngest, and and and…she JUST decided, day before yesterday, to stop. She puts a band-aid or piece of tape on her thumb to remind herself. She says it’s SO hard, and I feel so sorry for her, but she had to come to the place where it was her own decision. I told her that when you change a habit, there is suffering involved, and it won’t be easy, but when she’s done, she’ll be so proud of herself, plus I a going to buy her a big prize, ha. I read so much stuff online about older kids and thumbsucking, and it made it sound like they all had horrible childhoods or were dealing with trauma, but my little girl just likes her thumb.:) Best of luck to you!



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