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.