Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Little Thumbs

Exhibit C has been a thumb sucker since the day he was born. At four years old, it was still one of my greatest pleasures when he curled up in my lap to snuggle and I heard that sweet little sucking noise as he drifted off to sleep.

I'm not one of those moms who gets overly concerned about things like thumb sucking, picky eating, potty training, or other such things, for, as my father would have reassured me: "I never saw a bride walk down the aisle with a pacifier in her mouth" or "My friends all know how to use a toilet" or "You know, I never met a grown up who only eats mac'n'cheese".

I don't quite understand parents who feel the need to put horrible tasting things on little tiny thumbs or who tie down the thumbs of sleeping children. Most kids who suck their thumbs do so only when they are tired, feel nervous or uncertain or maybe when they get bored. It seems to me that the ability to self-comfort in the first two situations is something we should all be so lucky to have and that creating drama around it doesn't do much to empower or reassure a child. In the case of boredom, well, a little creative parenting can go a very long way.

That said, I recently broached the sacred thumb sucking subject with Exhibit C just to see what he'd say.

Me: Do you think you might stop sucking your thumb any time soon?
Him: *big doe eyed, long lashed blink* NO. (immediately followed by insertion of thumb in mouth)
Me: Alrighty then

Three days ago, though, he announced that he would no longer be sucking his thumb and that at the end of one week with no thumb sucking, he would require a new DS game. Ummmm... OK.

And with that, he promptly stopped sucking his thumb.

This afternoon he curled up in my lap and we talked about important things like Spiderman, birthday parties and why kitties have bristled tongues. I kept expecting him to start to fade and accidentally put that tiny thumb in his mouth, I kept thinking that at any moment I'd hear the familiar, rhythmic, self-soothing sound... but I never did and, truth be told, as glad as I am he did it on his terms and in his own time, I already miss it just a little.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I Am, Indeed, A Quitter

Someone recently called me a quitter. At first, it made me angry because it was so obvious to me that he had no earthly idea the kind of fight I put up every single day. It's an interesting concept really... for most of us really don't intuitively know what each other goes through, so I am not sure how we arrive at such conclusions, but it happens quite often, I believe.

My immediate thoughts were as follows, in no particular order: Do you know how much effort is required to slap on a happy face every freakin' day regardless of what havoc is being wreaked in my body at any given moment? Do you think it's easy to try to go about my business, maintaining a sense of normalcy not only for myself but so that the small human beings who once dwelled in my belly can feel secure and know they have the world at their fingertips? Does wanting to be in control of my own destiny, be surrounded by the people I love and be in the places I want to be in make me a quitter? Does signing a DNR order mean I've thrown in the towel or is it perhaps a sign that I understand that in both living and dying, prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance? Is it so wrong to want to handle things on my own terms? And, perhaps, most telling, are you presuming that your way is the only way and therefore the right way?

However, upon further consideration, I must say, I concur. I am, indeed, a quitter... for today I do, in fact, declare that I quit. I quit putting effort into people who can't be bothered and who don't appreciate how fleeting time is. I quit taking medications that make me feel worse than the disease for which I am taking them, and I quit hanging my hopes on unkept promises and arbitrary statistics. You tell me there's a 94% chance that something bad will happen and I will look you in the eye and say there's a 6% chance it won't. You say quitter, I say fighter, but I do, indeed, quit fighting with you. So there. You were right. I am, indeed, a quitter.

For whom?

I do not believe that it is selfish to value quality of life over quantity. I believe that someone asking another person to endure pain and medications and procedures that are sometimes worse than the condition itself and adding the words "for me" or "for them" to the end of the sentence is far more selfish.

That is all.