Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thumb Suckers Anonymous

“Am I going to have a cavity? What if I have a cavity? I’ve been brushing my teeth. If I have a cavity, I’m going to scream. I don’t want a shot in my mouth,” Tommy said seriously.

“If you do have a cavity, they’ll numb your mouth first so you don’t feel the shot,” I explained.

“I don’t want a shot!” Tommy shouted, slapping a hand over his mouth.

I sighed. We were at the dentist and my son was freaking out. Ironically, my five year old was calmly waiting in her chair.

“It’ll be fine, Tommy,” I promised. I crossed my fingers. PLEASE let it be fine. If he did have a cavity I was in no mood to deal with it.

The dentist came back and checked Natalie’s mouth first. Good news! No cavities.

“If Natalie doesn’t have a cavity then it’s not fair if I have to deal with one,” Tommy huffed.

Oh for—I was tempted to ask if we could put the laughing gas on him so he’d hush.

“But,” the dentist continued.

But? What’s this but business? What? Was she missing a tooth? Was something wrong? WHAT WAS WRONG?

“Well, do you suck your thumb?” the dentist asked Natalie.

“Yup!” Natalie popped her thumb in her mouth to prove it.

“You need to stop,” the dentist said.

Natalie’s mouth went O in surprise. Still, her thumb remained. Her eyes flicked back and forth as if wondering if this all was an awful joke.

“It’s messing up your bite,” the dentist explained. “You’re a pretty girl. You don’t want to mess up your teeth, do you?”

Natalie slowly took the thumb from her mouth.

“So no more thumb sucking. Otherwise we’ll have to put a brace on your teeth to stop you the next time you come in,” the dentist added.

What now? A brace? That sounded expensive.

“You can stop sucking your thumb, right?” I said cheerfully. “Rapunzel doesn’t suck her thumb.”

Natalie blinked at me. “But…” she said quietly. “I love my thumb.”

“You’re too old for it now. You’re five,” I reminded her. “You don’t need a thumb anymore.”

“But I do.” Natalie hung her head sadly.

I didn’t have time to focus on her because then I saw the dentist checking Tommy’s teeth. I sucked in my breath. Please let there be no cavities—

“Dkfwl adfklja fklfjas?” Tommy asked as the dentist had her fingers in his mouth.

“What?” the dentist asked, removing her fingers.

“Do I have any cavities?” Tommy wondered nervously.

“Well.” The dentist put her fingers back in his mouth. “It looks like you’re good. No cavities!”

Praise chocolate!

“Mommy. Was the dentist joking? Is my thumb over?” Natalie sniffled beside me.

Oh, crap. My other kid.

“Well. Yes. It’s about time, don’t you think?” I said gently.

“I’m so sad,” Natalie muttered. Out of habit, her thumb went into her mouth. Then she realized that she wasn’t allowed to suck anymore and removed it. “I’m so sad.”

“This is a great day!” Tommy sang. “No cavities!”

Natalie was probably thinking: Worst. Day. Ever!

We’re still working on getting her not to suck her thumb. She slips from time to time. And when I check on her at night, she’s usually fast asleep, her thumb wedged in her mouth.

This is not going to be easy.

I have six months to rid her of her habit.

Yes, I know there is stuff I can rub on her thumb that tastes gross. But Natalie is smart. She’d simply wash it off. Or get USED to the nasty taste and suck anyway.

Is there a Thumb Suckers Anonymous?


  1. Poor little thing! Can you bribe her?

    I thought of something the other day that made me think of you. This Halloween, our baby won't be able to eat any candy. But she'll need to go Trick or Treating. I guess that means I'll have lots of candy to eat. Darn the luck.

  2. I was a thumb sucker. My parents tried everything to get me to stop but nothing would work. In a moment of extreme frustration (I hope, or my parents are really just evil) they told me that if I kept sucking my thumb I would suck all the skin off of it and I would just have my bone sticking out. Cold turkey for there on out!

  3. We used Mavala Stop that I bought off of Amazon to get both of my girls to stop sucking their thumbs. My one daughter was seven and a hard cold addict. The Mavala stop worked in two days for both girls. No kidding. I tasted the stuff and if your daughter continued to suck her thumb with that NASTY on it, I would be dumbfounded. Also the stuff doesn't wash off, you paint it on their fingernail and it lasts for two days and then you reapply. Just my 2 cents on what worked for me.

  4. I was a thumb sucker until I got my first set of braces. Then I had to stop cause the thumb just didn't fit right. Good luck! I think the hardest part will be while she sleeps.

  5. aside from constant reminding I don't know how to get a kid to stop. My sister is 36 and still sucks her thumb, usually absentmindedly but it's not a pretty site.

  6. I sucked my thumb until first grade. Then my mom used scare tactics on me (always worked) and said if I didn't stop, my teeth would be crooked. I didn't want that! I stopped that day.

  7. Yay for no cavities!

    Maybe it was good to hear about no thumb sucking from someone else. My kids tend to take advice from someone else better than from me.

  8. My 6 yr old daughter sucks her thumb(s) - she's not picky about left or right - and I have told her thumbie only at night. I still see her doing it during the day, and I remind her. Then she says, "I forgot..." I've resigned myself to she will need braces just like her non-thumb sucking older brother...These rotten kids are costing a fortune! LOL.

  9. I sucked my thumb til I was 9 and the only thing that stopped me was peer pressure and a bit of torture.

  10. It's super hard to stop as a kid. It's such a comfort thing. People suck thumbs even when they are old...I'm not sure what to suggest. Just good luck!

  11. My friend had a guard thing that she bought her daughter so it covered it so she couldn't. Once she got home from school and did homework and had a snack it would go on until dinner, off for dinner and bath, back on until the next morning and it was pretty successful. Good luck!

  12. Good luck! Neither of my kids sucked their thumbs. I found that when an authority (doctor, dentist, teacher) told them something it held much more weight than from me. You might want to throw the tooth fairy in for this one as well.

  13. Too bad they don't make "thumb gum." Like Nicorette, only for thumb-suckers. I had a high school student who sucked her thumb once, and you can imagine the teasing. Based on what Jilse said, I'd give the nasty-tasting stuff a try.

  14. Poor Natalie. I was a thumb sucker too until I can't even remember how old. I sucked it at night when I went to bed but didn't do anything to my teeth...never needed braces.

    I remember this older man once showing me his thumb (he had somehow lost the tip in an accident... I know this NOW) but told me it was from sucking his thumb as a child. Almost scared me out of sucking it on the spot. I used to pull it out of my mouth and hold it up to the other one to measure it!

    "Praise chocolate!" Love it!

  15. For this reason, I am thankful my kids took pacifiers. I just threw those babies away.

    It's kinda hard to throw away a thumb.

    Good luck.

  16. My Hubby sucked his thumb as a kid and asked his Dad how to stop at night. His Dad said to sleep on his back with his hands behind his head. It worked.

    That said, my sister-in-law is 40 and still sucks her thumb when she's tired or stressed. Her teeth are fine.

  17. Almost-27 year old thumbsucker here -- but thankful for good teeth (mostly because I just rest my thumb in my mouth, as opposed to actually sucking on it). I feel terrible for poor Natalie -- even if I know I should give it up, I really can't fathom doing it.

  18. I sucked my thumb until I was ten - and yes my teeth paid for it! My mom tried everything to get me to stop, but the only thing that worked was when a friend caught me. I pretended to be joking about it but was so embarrassed that I was done from that moment on!

  19. My little grandson sucks his thumb and I just love it! Sorry.
    He's only 2, but I can see it is affecting his bite.
    Good luck to you. It will a trial.

  20. I was a thumb sucker with horrible teeth. I actually got braces on my baby teeth because they were so bad they needed a head start. I got an overbite from sucking my thumb and training my tongue to push on my front teeth when I swallowed. I had my first orthodontic at age 6, it was a tongue guard.

  21. I sucked my thumb until I was 6. I really wanted my ears pierced so my parents bribed me with that. I snuck at night every now and then and within a few weeks stopped completely. Happily I was able to get my ears pierced. And even teeth and bite have always been great--no braces.

  22. My oldest sucked her thumb and DID mess up her teeth! So if you can't get her to stop, I do recommend the brace. She'll hate it now, but love you later!

    You know, like most things us Moms are forced to do, lol! Hugs!

  23. Mum put stff on our handa to stop us biting our nails. I hate to tell you, but it didn't work, we just stopped when no one was looking. I never got a brace, but I'm English and we don't care so much about perfect teeth, I figure until my modelling career takes off (hehheh), it's OK. I can't face an adult brace.

  24. Good luck with the thumb! I had a pacifier that I wouldn't give up as a kid so the lady that watched me took it, put it in tupperware, and sealed it shut so I couldn't open it to suck on it but could carry it around with me....humm could you take her thumb off??

    Yea for Tommy thought!

  25. I wasn't a thumb sucker. I was a nail biter. UGH. I feel her pain. :(

    Also, this made me smile:

    "You don't need a thumb anymore."


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