Wednesday, September 17, 2008


OK - I know I have no room to judge what others do with their children when it seems that I can't keep my youngest from acting like a heathen for the babysitter....but sometimes, I just can't help myself. This past Sunday evening, Chris and I took the kids out for supper at La Fondita. We were sitting there, enjoying our dinner, when a man and woman came in the door with their daughter. As they entered the restaurant, Chris and I looked at each other at the same time and smiled. It is funny when you reach the point in your marriage when you know you are thinking the same thing as your spouse and that no words have to be exchanged to verify it.

We both were smirking at the fact that these folks had a four-year old child who was sucking away on a pacifier. Before they even sat down, the mom asked the little girl if she needed to head to the potty. The child took the pacifier out of her mouth long enough to clearly answer, "no." If your child is old enough to have toilet control, I think it is time for the binky to go. It never ceases to amaze me though when I see kids as old as five or six, still plugging away on a pacifier - - - and that parents have no shame letting them do it in public. When Maggie was a baby, we let her have her pacifier until she was about one. When we switched from the bottle to the tippy cup, we took away the pacifier. Sure, we went through a rough couple of nights, but after three or four days, she did just fine getting to sleep without it at night.

Now - - all that being said - - I still have a four year old who sucks her thumb. We have tried everything imaginable to get her to stop, but to no avail. Most of the time now, she only does it when she is really tired - - but she does it so unconsciously that she doesn't even think about it. I feel like I say a hundred times a day, "Aleita - get your thumb out of your mouth." She complies when you ask her to take it out, but within minutes, she has forgotten about it and back in it goes. Thumbsucking was very convenient when Aleita was a baby - - we never had to get up in the night to find a dropped pacifier in the crib or fumble around in the backseat to find it in the car - - it was quite easy for her to self-soothe. Now that she is older though, I would really like her to stop, especially before she does any permanent damage to her teeth. People keep telling me that she'll stop when she gets to school because the other kids will shame her into quitting. I wouldn't be so sure about that. I have seen more than my fair share of thumb suckers in the public schools these days - - and I'm not just talking kindergarteners either. When I taught 4th grade, I would always have at least one or two thumbsuckers in my class.

So as I sit and pass judgment on those four year olds with pacifiers, I know there is someone else watching me with my four year old thumb sucker and doing the same thing. Perhaps I need to move out of the glass house before I wing any more stones, eh?


Julianne said...

I am a recovering thumbsucker. When did I quit? At age 12 baby! You may have a long road ahead of you.

kristin said...

I have a feeling Lucy won't be giving up the thumb anytime soon. I'm like you though, I am glad that I don't have to keep track of a paci.

Karen R said...

Recovered thumbsucker and mother of a thumbsucker :D

I saw a girl that was about 22 sucking her thumb on the plane a few months ago. *yikes*

Michelle said...

Curiosity got the best of me. A quick search led me to a website focused on thumb sucking adults. This link takes you to their Q&A. Naturally, the first question is why? What an odd habit. Guess there are worst habits to have!

Michelle then said...

Also, I know a parent whose 4 year old still demands her milk be warmed and in a bottle every night before bed. It's the only way she'll drink it. I say make her go without. She'll cry and then get over it and learn to drink milk like a big girl.