When my daughter gets sleepy, she sucks her thumb. She's 2 1/2 years old. And I'm okay with it. In fact, when I see her thumbsucking I know she's completely ready for bed. Yay! Sleep! No one wants to mess with that.
My little sucker was never into pacifiers, but did nurse for comfort sometimes. Her love affair with her thumb started around 6 months. And even though many people want to find ways to discourage thumbsucking, I'm not going to do that just yet. The way I see it is it's just like she loves to sleep with her Dolly. Except of course with that pesky possible orthodontic issue looming over our heads. Which I don't see being an actual issue until she's 4.
I'm not going to take her Dolly away; so I'm sure not going to separate her from her thumb.
I just feel there are habits a toddler can pick up that are far worse. You know, like smoking. Or nose picking and eating. Which ... well, she has done and knows it's not filed under the mommy-approved things to do. So instead of eating the boogers she picks, she tries to feed them to me. I haven't eaten them -- we get tissues and have a lesson in nose blowing of course.
I already feel like my daughter is destined for braces anyway -- I have (still have) an overbite and my husband had braces when he was a kid as well. Are we making her possible "problem" worse by "allowing" her to suck her thumb? Many are going to say yes. How could we let her continue with this disgusting behavior? Gasp! That's gross! But not all dentists are concerned -- ours isn't. So I'm not going to add this to the 12,376 things I already worry about daily when it comes to my kids.
I'll admit, that thumb stinks something awful after a good thumbsucking session (parents of thumbsuckers know what I'm talking about here!), but it's the way she likes to soothe herself right now so I'm going to let her be soothed and deal with the stench. Plus, have you seen some of those thumb torture devices sold to help kids stop sucking their thumb? No thanks! When it is time -- IF it even comes to that -- I'll go the talking it out route. There isn't going to be a power struggle. I don't want tears. And I don't want negative thumb associations.
There have been a few times when I tried to discourage thumbsucking, just to see what would happen. We co-sleep, so I snuggle with her and have tried holding her hands so little thumb wouldn't find its way into her mouth. But she has said, "Mama, I want thummy" so I let her have the little stink bomb. For now.
Do you have a little thumbsucker on your hands? Are you concerned?
Image via noquarter/Flickr