Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sucking

You know how it is when you are a first time mother, and even more so, before becoming a mother; You. Know. It. All.
Well.  When I was in that stage of life, I never liked pacifiers much, especially in older babies and (gasp), especially in toddlers.

When I was a first time mother, I was 'like that.'
I knew it all.
I knew what I was doing.
Megan used a pacifier until she was eight months old.  And even then, she didn't use it much.  (In fact, I must have disliked it so much that I have only about three or four photos of her with it.)  When Megan was eight months old, I figured she was too old for a pacifier anymore.  I wanted to get rid of it before it became a habit.  One afternoon I took it away.  Megan didn't miss it.  She survived just fine without it.
After all, I knew it all.  I knew what I was doing.
(Megan, 5 months old)
When Luke was three months old, he refused the pacifier and instead favored his fingers.  It was actually quite nice.  I never had to make sure I had a pacifier with me when we went somewhere, I never had to fumble around looking for one in the night.  In fact, we must have thought the finger sucking was so cute because there are numerous photos of him while sucking.
Luke began sucking these two fingers:
 (Luke, 5 months old)

By Luke's first birthday, he sucked the first two (instead of the middle two) and covered them with the opposite hand:
(Luke, 12 months old)

Before long it became convenient to have his fingers close to his nose.  Heard of the saying 'Kill two birds with one stone?"  Luke was able to 'kill two birds with one stone..."

 (Luke, January 2005, 3 years old)

Thankfully, when Luke was just shy of his 5th birthday,  (coincidentally, the day he received his first cowboy hat and pair of Wranglers and 'became a cowboy...')  Luke got stitches in one of his sucking fingers and by the time the stitches were removed, the habit was broken.

(Luke, October 2006)

At the time of Luke's stitches, Ellie (2 1/2) was already well and truly a thumb sucker.  I wasn't concerned, (I must have still had some mothering confidence,) after all, I easily broke Megan's pacifier habit, and Luke's finger sucking habit was easily broken.  I had the confidence that somehow I would have the ability to break Ellie's thumb-sucking habit when I felt it necessary.

(Though subconsciously, we must not have thought it quite as cute as Luke's finger sucking as there are far fewer photos of Ellie's thumb in mouth.)

( Ellie, almost 3 years old)

Last summer, before Ellie was to start Kindergarten, we began telling her that she was too big to suck her thumb anymore as she was going to start school.  It is a rare occasion that I see her thumb in her mouth anymore, yet I know the habit is not completely done away with.  Sadly, 'my mothering confidence that somehow I would have the ability to break the habit' is no longer there.  I am now aware it is a hard habit to break...

 (Ellie 3 years old)

And then there is Joshua.   Joshua, like Luke, became a finger sucker as an infant.  Joshua's habit is even worse than Luke or Ellie's ever was; Joshua doesn't even care what finger/s it is.  He also doesn't care if they are clean.  (Although the fingernails on his right hand are always VERY clean compared to the left....)


And Joshua, like Luke, has mastered the "kill two birds with one stone" ability.

At this point my mothering confidence has diminished severely.   I am completely bewildered with how to break Joshua's finger sucking habit.

And so,
It is with great energy I heard myself say yesterday afternoon, and then again last night, and then again this morning, and then again this afternoon,

"Drew. 
Don't. Suck. Your. Fingers.  
Get. Them. Out. Of.  Your. Mouth.
NOW. "

Please don't tell me that at 12 months old a finger sucking habit can START.
It is not cute.
It is not even worthy of a photo.
I no longer have the 'first time mother' confidence.

And though I might not know how to break a finger sucking habit.
I do know this:

I do not know it all.

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