Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Thumb.

For about four-and-a-half years we have had a thumb-sucker in our lives.  Little Jackie found that thumb by the time she was three months old and never let go.  And for almost as long we have heard people tell us how long and hard it will be to break her of that habit.

We planned for the worst.  Knowing (as a past long-time thumb-sucker myself) that this could be a long and difficult battle, we pretty much just waited until we thought she might be ready.

That doesn't mean we didn't try some things along the way.  We started with "you can only suck your thumb in your bedroom."  Smart little girl would go and sit at the very edge of the doorway into her room and suck her thumb.  She was two.

Then we made a rule that there would be no thumb sucking at dinner.  She understood that one and we didn't have to reminder her too much.

When we started taking her to the dentist I asked him (in front of Jackie, hoping for some help) if she should quit doing that.  He didn't help.  He said told us that it doesn't do any good to try to stop the thumb sucking if the kid isn't ready to try to stop.  "You'll be fighting a losing battle."  Great.

And then, shortly before Christmas this year we stumbled onto something that might work.  Jackie has been fascinated with taking pictures "just like daddy."  She was asking any chance she could get to use our phones to take photos.  This gave Ethan an idea.  He went into the bedroom and dug out one of our old cameras that still worked.  He put it on the counter and made a deal.

"If you go the rest of the day today without sucking your thumb, you can play with this camera all day tomorrow."

It worked.

And it continued to work from day to day with only one "relapse" when she was sick for a couple days.

And that's it.  That simple.  I expected to have to have a conversation with her about going off to Kindergarten sucking her thumb would mean kids might tease her.  Instead, we will be celebrating her 5th birthday this weekend and almost 4 months "thumb sober."

And don't think I'm just glancing over that "5th birthday" part.  That's a post all it's own. Coming soon.  Very soon.