Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Deal With It

Hallie never took a pacifier as a baby.  She was more than happy to suck on one if I was willing to hold it in her mouth, but the minute I removed the pressure keeping it in her mouth, it fell out, and she never showed any signs of missing it

Until she was two years old.  She found some of her pacifiers that I had been saving in case Hanna wanted one when she was born (she didn't) and suddenly Hallie had an intense and constant need for one.  At first I thought it was just a phase, and I thought it was kind of funny and cute, and whatever. I let her have it.  But when it became really clear that she wasn't going to give it up, it became an issue of frustration for me: I'm going to have to deal with weaning her from the pacifier when I had never enjoyed the benefits from it when she actually "needed" it as an infant.

We went through a few tantrums and now I just keep them hidden out of her sight, because if she sees one lying around (as I prepare for Heather - do you think she'll take one?) she pops it right in her mouth and another fight ensues, and I am so so so tired of that fight.  I mean, it just seems really especially useless since she never wanted one as a baby.

That being said, I think what we're entering now is worse.  On Sunday she would not stop sucking her thumb.  ?!?!?!?!?!

Now, I'm fine with thumb sucking in general for babies and young toddlers.  But like with the pacifier, I never once saw Hallie put ANY of her fingers in her mouth at any time, in fact sometimes when she has some food item on them and we are somewhere without napkins (say, in the car and she's had a sticky candy) I tell her to suck on her fingers - and she will not. She just never seemed to understand the concept.  Until now, apparently. 

And so, much like with the pacifier, I find myself with an almost four year old who never sucked her thumb when that could have come in handy as a soothing technique, and now I'm going to have to wean her from that too.

I am hoping and praying it doesn't become a big deal, when Devin saw her do it he got into a big fight with her about it, a battle of wills.  When I saw Hallie do it later I didn't want to get caught in that, causing her to suck on it just to spite me (which she would totally do) and so I pulled it out of her mouth and I said, "What do you have on here? Strawberry jam?" and I thoroughly inspected her thumb. She stared at me like I was crazy, and popped it back in her mouth. I pulled it out again and said, "Oh, do you have something stuck in your mouth that you are trying to get out? Let me see." And I tipped her back and pretended to try and look in her mouth while tickling her.  This distracted her enough that she did not put it back in... but will this work every time?

AND last, but not least, where did this come from?! Is it normal for kids to pick up these behaviors at the age when I would have thought they should stop them?


  1. Well my kid isn't old enough to compare and she has always been a thumb sucker, but I feel very, very sorry for you. :(

  2. You are right about not letting it become an issue, but the only way I know to stop it is NOT CARE. She's getting something from it, either physical, or emotional, or attention or something. My opinion is it's like eating issues, the more you give it attention, the bigger it gets.

  3. I've heard from a few of my friends that their 2-5 year olds revert back to infant like habits. Like baby-talk, whining, and even diapers. From what I hear they grow out of it with encouragement. Keep up the positive feedback and you'll have your "big girl" back soon enough.

  4. New baby on the way...not uncommon for older sibling to express regressive behaviour. Lots of cuddling and praise for appropriate behaviour; not one word about the thumb. She is getting attention but in a negative way. You might want to read up some on sibling reactions to new baby. Just remember, she isn't as big a girl as you think! Changes are coming and she is feeling a little insecure.

  5. Maybe she just really likes having something to suck on; she likes pacifiers, and thumbs now. Sucking on things is soothing, and maybe she is getting anxious. Perhaps you could find her something else to suck on. Like mints. Or lifesavers.

  6. It's probably because you're having another baby. I did the same thing when I was her age. Yes, it's totally normal.

    I suggest not trying to wean her from anything. Ann and Jana are right. My parents tried to fuss with me, and I dug in my heels. But when they stopped caring, I stopped doing it eventually. It didn't feel natural, because it wasn't natural for me. I'd never used a pacifier, or sucked my thumb. So any time I tried those things, I realized it takes too much work to keep them up, and I quit.

    She'll stop. Just try to stop worrying about it.

  7. Good luck. I didn't stop sucking my thumb until I was eight. Mom tried so many things to get me to stop.

    This past month, Jill has wanted to nurse three times. So, put that into perspective. Her picking up a binkie or sucking her fingers isn't nearly as awkward as her wanting to nurse . . . :)

    How frustrating though.