Mommy's Juice!: Suck This!   

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Suck This!

I like to think of myself as an advice giver.  Make that a good advice giver.  I am asked for my opinion from friends and co-workers frequently and always give honest feedback, regardless of whether or not it is what I think they are looking for. For instance, if you ask me to tell you if your husband is being irrational when he tells you he’s not going to your parents for Christmas the answer is probably going to be yes.  But you may not expect, “yes, he’s being irrational and for that reason I would invite your parents to come to your house instead.” 

I gave my sister very sound advice the day she walked up to the bus stop with her head gear on and I told her to go inside and take it off.   Being the goody-goody that she is she told me, “no, the orthodontist told me to wear it as much as possible.”  I’m just going to take a guess that she wished she had listened to me when we got on the bus to roars of laughter and unpleasant new nicknames.  Being the good sister I am I of course took a punch at the girl down the street which calmed things down a bit.  By the time we rolled up to the school my advice had been taken.

Although my husband rarely listens, I have offered him many pieces of sound advice over the years.  Like the day he walked out of his job while telling his boss to f*** off exactly one month before our first child was due.  My advice, “don’t come home.” 

But today, I ask for advice.  I’m looking for a solution to the “thumb-sucking” issue.  Our three year old son Jackson started sucking his thumb at around two months.  At the time I remember thinking it was the greatest miracle to ever happen.  I had no idea how to make this tiny monster stop his continuous crying myself so it was truly a blessing when he figured it out on his own.  I just assumed this was a habit he would grow out of after a few months.  I assumed wrong.

In fact, not only has the thumb sucking continued, it has increased.  Initially he sucked to calm himself down or to help him fall asleep.  Now he sucks all day long.  I pick him up from school to find him sucking his thumb on the playground, looking in my rearview mirror I almost always get a shot of him sucking in the backseat, just yesterday at his swim lesson he was holding on to the floaty with one hand and sucking with the other.

We’ve tried to verbally remind him to remove his thumb from his mouth over and over but with no luck.  I’ve tried bribery but lately I have to save that card to ensure potty training continues.  So where to go next?  Hot sauce, gloves, amputation??  I am open to any and all suggestions so please send them my way.  Otherwise I might have a four-fingered, Mexican, OJ Simpson on my hands!


  1. This was a big deal with 2 of my boys. The only thing I got to work with them was telling them that sucking their finger is what babies do, not big boys. If you suck your finger, then you will have to go back to wearing diapers.

    I know it sounds harsh, but one of my sons was actually deforming his finger from the way he sucked on it. This strategy worked when I put them in diapers for a day for sucking their fingers. They soon quit.

    Hope this is helpful!

    Visiting from voiceBoks
    Thanks, Becky Jane

  2. I'm sorry but I had to laugh about the husband's job thing. I know I shouldn't have but I admit I chuckled. I have no clue what to advise for your son. My kids didn't do the thumb thing. Our son had a soother we cut the tip off of but man that would not work for your situation. Please don't try that. Lol! It can cause dental issues I think too. I've heard of kids who's teeth get messed up. My only advice would be to try a reward system but if you're doing that with potty training it could get weird. You could do a totally different reward for each. That way he knows what's going on. No idea if I've helped at all. I could offer some perspective. One day he'll be driving and call you because he rear ended someone. Trust me, it can happen.*sigh*

  3. My son is five, and we've just gotten over the thumb sucking thing. He wasn't doing it as much as your son seems to, so we had that going for us, as he was only sucking his thumb at bed time. Our pediatrician told us the prime time to get them to stop is sometime around 4 years of age. But it probably differs for each child. His advice? Turning it around so that it's the kid's decision to stop sucking his thumb. Catching him when he's not doing it and rewarding him with praise (or stickers, etc.). That didn't really work for my son, since he was doing it in bed where we couldn't stop him. Now that he's 5 and can reason, we're going a different route. It started as a game, where I told him for every day that I caught him NOT putting things in his mouth (nervous habit of fingers, toys, furniture, etc.), I'd give him 25 cents. Then my husband upped the ante and told him for every night he didn't suck his thumb, he'd get a dollar. We got a special jar just for this money, and told him when it was full, he could go and buy anything he wanted. That was 3 weeks ago, and he hasn't sucked his thumb since. His jar has long been filled, but he wants to keep going with it. And the past 3 mornings, he hasn't even asked for money. I think, like anything in parenting, the kids have to be ready for it (emotionally, developmentally, etc.).

    Gina from vB

  4. Hey there! I have three faithful thumbsuckers. My paediatrician told me not to worry about it. She said that it will go away. I have realized that in my oldest son, he sucks his thumb a bit less. Hang in there!
    Miriam from VB

  5. Yikes! This is a tough one. I remember when my husband and I wouldnt allow our daughter a binky, my grandmother reminded me... you can take a binky away... a thumb, you can't!!
    Good luck with whatever method you choose.
    Time out- every time he is caught?

  6. My 4 year old is a thumb sucker and we are dealing with the same frustrations as well. I would love to hear some suggestions!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today. I am now your newest follower as well. Keep me posted on any good suggestions you get for your dilemma.


  7. Your post was hysterical, as always :-) But I'm sorry you are dealing with thumb sucking. Ugh! I have no advice either as neither of my kids were thumb suckers or binky users. My youngest bit his nails for awhile, but he quit on his own. He found some kind of motivation, who knows what it was. Maybe Miriam is right. I liked the money jar idea too though :-) I wish you luck!

  8. I am also the parent of a thumb sucker. Although he is only two we try to discourage all thumb sucking except at bed time. I am worried that he will never stop, but I go with it in hopes that one day he will stop on his own.

    i nominated you for a blog award. Pick it up here Two Boys On The Run