Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hannah found her thumb at 3 months old, maybe younger, and it became her main comfort. Out went all the pacifiers-she hooked her finger over her nose and stuck that thumb in while holding her blanket. Maybe it was in the genes, her Grandma sucked her thumb until she was way too old.  I figured every baby and toddler, and pre-schooler found ways to deal with comforting themselves.   I never minded it, and I never listed to people tell me I would have to start ending that bad habit as she got older (putting hot sauce on her thumb). In fact, I got a little sick of people who saw her suck her thumb in the store giving me advice and "helpful hints".  Uh-mind your business.  REally.

So when we went to a new dentist (that Hannah LOVES) two years ago and she was STILL sucking that thumb, the dentist said if she hadn't given up the habit by the time her new adult teeth came in, we would have to result to drastic measures. We had a little time, she was only five and the dentist wasn't hugely concerned.  Well Hannah is seven and just lost one tooth, she is kinda slow like I was to lose teeth, so the pressure hasn't been to high.  She went to the dentist in December who now said, time was up, the thumb sucking is going to start doing further damage. She even offered up some prizes.

We have talked to her, a lot (really alot) about what it does to her jaw and teeth and how she has to stop.  I told her by her next visit, the bad habit really must end.  Then I said, they were going to install a wire bar behind her teeth so she couldn't suck her thumb.  I think that was it, plus we threw in a better incentive-a toy of her choice.  She has been wanting a large stuffed tiger for years.  I asked her how I could help and she chose the code word "cookie".  If I saw her thumb in her mouth, I said "cookie" to remind her.  Plus, she never sucked her thumb at school, (that was just highly unacceptable..."I'll get teased" she says), so I said, well if you don't suck it as school, I bet you can not do it at home.   It worked!  I am proud to say after only about 2 weeks, my girl has kicked her habit.  I can't believe it.  Where there is a will there is a way.  I am really proud of her determination.  Poor girl, she has had many sleepless nights since that thumb couldn't go in her mouth and she can't get to sleep. Some nights at 10:30 she is still wiggling around, but everytime I check on her the thumb is not in the mouth!!  But little by little, she is managing.  Now I have to find that big stuffed tiger!  I wish adults could kick bad habits that fast!

I am also noticing Hannah acting a little more mature and she is isn't so shy.  Her thumb was kind of her shield when she didn't want to talk or face things, and now it's gone.  She's talking a lot more.

I'm also proud to say her behavior has been really great.  Her friend privileges aren't returned yet but she has made really great progress in the not lying or stealing area.

Sometimes, growing up is really hard on moms!


Rendi said...

YEAH!!! Way to go Hannah!