I had a different post planned for today, but I’m so impressed with my almost 4 year old that I decided to go ahead and celebrate him today.
My son is a thumb sucker. Not only did he suck his thumb in-utero, he was sucking his thumb the minute I pushed him out… Literally. All soggy, wrinkly, scaly and squished… the boy found comfort in his thumb.
I quickly noticed that he had an affinity for his left thumb but I didn’t mind that much since he was able to self sooth…very helpful for a newborn.
His thumb sucking habit also made him more prone getting infections…(like the time the babysitter took him to a store, put him in a cart and he picked up cart germs, sucked his thumb and literally got a bacterial infection in his throat…. I digress).
We’ve tried to discourage him from sucking his thumb and praised him when he momentarily removed his thumb. We never pressured him. He’s young and I know he’d eventually stop, but we wanted to gently nudge him.
His response to our nudges have been … “I’ll stop tomorrow”….. ” I’ll stop when I’m 4″ …… ” I’ll stop when I get married”. Eventually it became “I don’t wanna stop. My finger tastes yummy.”
Anyway, someone told be about a product she used on her children to help them break the habit. It’s a really bitter tasting clear nail polish. After researching the product and reading lots of reviews, my husband and I decided to try it.
Day one: I polished both thumbs before bedtime. As soon as he got sleepy, he started sucking. I asked him if it was bitter. He said he only tasted the bitterness when he takes his thumb out of his mouth.
Day two: I polished all 10 fingers. He was eating a snack, he grunted really loud. When I asked what’s wrong, he said his snack was bitter. I felt really bad . At bedtime, once again, he endured the bitterness to continue sucking his thumb.
Day 3: Conversation..
son: It’s time to get the thing on my finger, Mommy.
me: No Dear, I’m not going to put it on anymore.
son: Why not?
me: The bitter taste of the polish is supposed to stop you from putting your finger in your mouth, but instead you suck the polish off. I don’t want you to keep getting that chemical into your system.
(He looked at me with a silent curiosity.)
son: Mommy, are chemicals poison? (he knows that poison should not go in your mouth)
me: it depends on the type of chemical.
son: I know I promised that I’d stop sucking my thumb before, but this time I’m for real.
me: OK baby (I gave no thought to him actually stopping. My OK was saturated with subconscious doubt and subtle sarcasm that I suspected a 3 yo wouldn’t detect.)
Wouldn’t you know. We are going on day 4 and my son has not sucked his thumb. Four days! Can you believe it?! For the first time in almost 4 years, his thumb looks like it’s healing. I’m almost in tears as I write this because I’m so proud that my almost 4 year old boy has the strength and courage to stop cold turkey.
The product we purchased to help him didn’t work, but the thought of putting something potentially harmful into his body did.
The skeptical adult part of me wonders how long this will last, but I’m inspired by my son to embrace his childlike faith with confidence.
On Superbowl Sunday, my Super boy JR will be 4 years old. Please help me congratulate him!
- Did you or your children suck your finger? For how long?
- How did you stop?