He’s never been an all-thumb, all-the-time kid; it only comes out when he’s tired and ready to go to sleep. From time to time I’ve thought about how the era with the thumb will end, but I was not prepared to do battle over it. It’s not like we can remove it. I figured it would fade in its own time, perhaps with a little nudging, perhaps not. I’ve read Ask Moxie. I know it’s not worth the throwdown.
So when I took him to the dentist, who asked “thumb or pacifier?” from the second AM opened his mouth, what I heard after that was approximately “blah blah BLAH blah blah, yes? BLAH blah blah, blah blah.” (I’m guessing it was something like, “You should probably help him to quit that, yes? Try painting his nails with something bitter or putting a bandaid on it or bribe him with something.”)
Over a few days last week AM had been complaining of a sore tongue. Cut, burn, canker sore, not sure. It was bad enough that it preventing thumb use.
So, you know, it was serious.
On the one hand, happy! dance! because I was imagining proudly presenting his case to the dentist and I didn’t have to do ANYTHING. A triumph of lazy parenting! My favorite kind!
But after two nights of insanely interrupted sleep, I was rethinking the entire thing. I had realized at the end of the first night that the no-thumb-sucking was causing him to stir every 30 to 90 minutes and be upset because he couldn’t soothe himself.
And unfortunately, the bone-crushing exhaustion that comes with that feels kind of unacceptable when your youngest is four.
Finally at four in the morning on the second night, I found him gently sucking his favorite finger and not crying in pain. Yay!
We had a cute discussion about trying to go without his thumb and not succeeding, but being proud of him for trying.
And finally, on the third night, all was right with the world and he slept all night. I…am still recovering.