Monday, February 17, 2014

How Molly Stopped Sucking Her Thumb and The Awesome Reward She Earned!!

 Molly was a lifelong left thumb and pointer finger sucker...as in sonogram pictures and in womb started this habit!  
She's so cute!  That seems like last week, but no, five years ago!

I wasn't too concerned about her habit because...
1.  She was a great sleeper!
2.  She sooth herself, as in for hours, was quiet on long car trips  
3.  I had Will 19 months after she was born, I needed someone to sleep! 
4.  I wasn't honestly concerned until she turned 4...not sure why 4 stood out, but I just assumed she would outgrow it by then and she didn't!

Another factor that delayed the end of her thumb sucking, was our move from Texas to Kansas and she needed that comfort and security of her thumb, finger and green blanket, pictured above!  

Trust me, I've asked on here, online, at the dentist, her pediatrician, the general consensus on getting her to stop was to let her at her own pace!  Let her do it on her own and be accountable for her actions!  Yes, I made sticker charts, rewards, bribes, but it's true, she didn't stop until she was ready! It was so simple too!  Molly's in Kindergarten and everyone told me this was the golden year, due to her growing up, maturing, and knowing what is and is not socially acceptable!  Around Christmas, she got a paper cut on the magic finger and needed a band-aid, when she went to sleep that night, it was no big deal...until she woke up super excited and super early, and realized she slept without sucking her thumb and finger that night!  Yay Molly!  So, we talked about if she wanted to try again and she said yes but didn't think she wanted a sticker...after much discussion, we figured out that for every night she didn't put her finger in her mouth, she got one streamer in her room!  "It will look like my birthday everyday in my room!"
So, the streamers* worked and so did a band-aid, at first!  There were a few off nights, a few setbacks, but she did it, and all on her own!  We only praised her, encouraged her, and when she got frustrated or sucked her thumb and finger the night before, we would talk to her about growing up is hard and never got mad at her!  We even talked about if the princesses from Disney sucked their thumbs, and she looked at me like I was growing two heads!  Hey, it worked and helped her realized that she was growing up, could totally kick this habit, and do it all on her own!  

About mid-January, she was 100% done with thumb sucking, just like that!  I will admit, it's been hard for her to relax at night to fall asleep, she lost her lifelong comfort and it's hard figuring out a new way to relax to get to sleep.  Usually reading books works best for her!  

Now, for her reward!  I told her we would get her or take her anywhere in Kansas City!  Right away, she said she wanted her ears pierced!  So, after a bit of research, I made an appointment with her pediatrician** and we waited the week for the appointment!  I'm happy we had the week to prepare and discuss what actually happens when they pierce your ears!  

Finally, finally, the day arrived!  And none too soon since it was the third of three snow days!  A perfect excuse to get out of the house that afternoon!  With her teddy bear and brothers to support her, we were ready!  


In the waiting room, last picture of her ears with no holes!

The dots, the first one is always the easies!  

The first ear!  All she said was, "Ow and I don't want to do that again!"  Luckily the doctor just leaned over and did the second ear, right when I told her we would get cupcakes to celebrate!  Streamers and cupcakes, the true way to her heart!

At home, enjoying her cupcake!  She was a rock star!!  
Of course, we clean the ears two to three times a day, and spin the earrings...a tad dramatic the first few days, but going great now!  I can't emphasize enough how proud we are of our Molly for working hard at not sucking her finger and thumb!  I've always said this about her, she has her own Molly Time, and no one will get in it's way!   You go girl!

If you're looking for ways to motivate your child to stop thumb sucking, you know them the best and know what motivates them!  For her, it was streamers in her room, ears pierced and a cupcake!  If one of my sons was going through this, most likely, a new toy, a movie date, or a sporting event would motivate them!  And I promise, as hard as it is, let your child lead the way and want to stop when they are ready!  I was at the point last Thanksgiving to ordering a $135 glove that you lock on their hand...I'm so happy I saved that money!  But, I had a friend swear by this glove and bought two!  I had another friend that cut her daughters lovey or another that hid her daughters, thought of those but I felt like that was too mean!  And I've wanted to do my best to be upfront, honest, and truthful with my children, so I felt like that wasn't fair!  But, my best advice is to let your child lead the way and do what is best for your child!!

*Those streamers were the worse!  It was so hard to walk into her room, they were constantly falling, and we were running out of room to find a new place for the streamers!  It was cute and I wish I had one picture, but every time she got a decent amount, someone would tear them all down, her, a friend, a brother, me...they got annoying after awhile!  But it worked!!

**I choose the pediatrician after researching a little on ear piercing for kids.  I went to Clarie's as a kid and it was fine, but I've heard that they're not the best with young kids, making the earrings even, and are pretty forceful.  I was worried too because Molly has the smallest earlobes ever and I wanted them to look good!  Nothing against Claire's, just happy we went somewhere everyone knew her, she had been before and had good experiences each time!  Eric suggested a tattoo parlor, which makes sense since they do piercings all the time, but I was worried who she would get and what she would want...like a tattoo or a nose ring!  Not on my time at least!!  

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