Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh the Thumbsucker's Thumb

I've always wanted a red-haired baby and a thumb-sucking baby. My mom, her sister, and her brother all have red or redish hair. And my great-grandfather on my dad's side had a red moustache, so red hair does run in the family. Unfortunately, none of the kids or grandkids have ended up with red hair.

But I think I finally have my thumbsucker. I should preface this by saying that I sucked my thumb until I was eight, when my father made me wear a sock on my hand to break the habit. Little did he know that I just sucked my thumb in bed at night when he couldn't see me. My mom, to give me a retort for those who teased me, taped a copy of Shel Silverstein's poem about thumbsucking on the inside of my lunchbox. It was the first poem I ever knew by heart:

Oh the thumbsucker's thumb may be wrinkled and wet
and withered as white as the snow
but the taste of the thumb
is the sweetest taste yet
as only we thumbsuckers know.

Ella used a pacifier until she was three, when the "pacifairy" came and took all of her pacifiers to give them to new babies and left a big, blue bicycle in their place. I tried to get Lily to use a pacifier, but she was never interested. She's always had her lovies - cloth diapers with bright fabrics sewn on. The nice thing with her is that in a pinch, a dishtowel or washcloth will work as well as a lovie.

When Campbell was about two weeks old, I gave him a pacifier, and he took to it right away. Brandon protested strongly. He didn't want to go down the same path we had with Ella. But then one night, when he was in charge of the baby, he gave in and popped one in Campbell's mouth. Now, Campbell's interest in them is sporadic. Sometimes he'll use one, but most of the time he won't.

Instead, he's spent much of the past two weeks trying to get a thumb in his mouth, and I've been encouraging his efforts. He started out by holding both hands straight out in front of his face and concentrating on them. Suddenly one would move, and he'd pop himself in the forehead. He'd do this over, and over, and over again. Slowly, his aim is getting better, and he can get his hand to his mouth. I'll hear him in his crib, slurping on his fist. Now, though, he's getting better at getting his thumb in his mouth and keeping it there.

One friend said I shouldn't let him suck his thumb, but I consider it the ideal soother for babies - it's always attached, we can't lose it, and he can put it in his mouth by himself. Plus, I finally have my thumbsucker!


t. Cooke said...

I sucked my thumb until I was 6. You beat me!

Unknown said...

I "googled" thumb sucking because my 6 month old has taken a liking to it and came across your blog - very cute story :)
I asked the pediatrician about it at my son's last appointment and he said it was perfectly fine and exactly like you said, good for self-soothing. And well, it's gosh darn cute!
Anyway, my only concern is that his thumb is always red and chapped - the doctor suggested putting Maalox on it so I'm passing along the suggestion.