Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Tearful Farewell

Lucy has stopped sucking her thumb. And it only cost me $13.96. It would have cost me only $7 something, but we dropped the bottle of Mavala STOP on the bathroom floor. Over the years we've lived in this house, we continue to test what will endure being dropped on a ceramic tile floor. From our extensive research, we have discovered that among many other items: coffee mugs, china plates, glass mixing bowls, ceramic dolphins, bottles of red nail polish, and laptops cannot survive a drop on either our kitchen or bathroom tile. We can now add bottles of thumb-sucking deterrent. Feel free to use our research if you don't wish to conduct your own.

Lucy has sucked her thumb since...well, forever. I'm sure she did it in utero. Then--enter Rabbie into her life. Alysa and Maddie gave her Rabbie when she was only a few weeks old. Lucy's thumb and Rabbie made a potent self-calming combination. We are convinced this is why she has always been such a good sleeper too. She utterly rejected any sort of conventional pacifier; she had one built in. Whenever she would fuss as an infant, we would hunt around for Rabbie and tell her, "Find your thumb!" Instant success.

As for Rabbie, he's the fifth member of our family. He's become almost like Where's Waldo? He appears everywhere Lucy is.

Here she is, looking at him lovingly (a note: he began life as an adorable rabbit. My dad now refers to him as "the sewer rat"):

Here he is at my brother and sister-in-law's wedding with Lucy as the flower toddler:

Here he is at the grave of Paul Revere:

Here he is at Lucy's first Christmas program (she is singing "Away in a Manger" and Rabbie is standing in as Baby Jesus):

If you could peek in this pink bag, you could see him here on Lucy's first day of pre-school:

Here he is now:

I never worried about her stopping the thumbsucking habit because all the psychologists and child experts I read said that children will stop on their own, and any attempt by parents to get them to stop will only make it worse. So I did nothing. Thanks, psychologists. Now I have a 5-year-old dedicated thumbsucker with an overbite.

I first gently gave reminders to remove her thumb. I tried limiting Rabbie only to bedtime. I would remove her thumb from her mouth every night when I checked on her. I asked if she would consider wearing mittens to bed. We tried sucking on tic-tacs instead. Nothing worked.

Now Lucy is beginning to get her permanent teeth. As I write this, she has one bottom tooth and her two top front teeth loose. The dentist says there is a chance they will grow in straight if she stops sucking her thumb. So I did some more careful research of products. Most seemed destined for failure, with the exception of Mavala Stop. I ordered a bottle, and we tried it. (Then shattered that on the ceramic tile floor after two applications and had to order another bottle.) The taste is so wretched, there is no way you would put it in your mouth for even a moment. Lucy hasn't sucked her thumb since we started applying it. She has, however, had a hard time getting to sleep most nights. And one night I came in to check her, she was crying quietly.

"I miss my thumb!" she sobbed.

Then came the day when she wanted to watch a movie and said, "I guess I don't need Rabbie with me for the movie if I can't suck my thumb."

This is what I've wanted! I'm so proud of her! It looks like this habit is broken, thereby possibly alleviating Darren and me of extensive orthodontist bills in our future. Plus, she's a big girl now. She's five, and it is time to put away things from when she was a baby.

But...a little part of me way down inside is so, so sad.

I'm going to miss this:

And this...

And this...

And this...

And this...

And especially this...



Ann-Marie said...

Oh Mylanta, that was incredibly sweet. I love the photos, the wonderfully precious show of progression. I guess it just goes to show you that rabbits are comforting creatures, even in the stuffed form.

Awww...I just melted at the thumbsucking adventures!

Mae said...

I loved the sweet pictures. It is hard to see them leave certain stages in their lives.

Heather said...

i loved the pics, Alice.. my little Ali is just the same. She LOVES her thumb and right now at only 2 1/2 she has no interest in saying byebye to her thumb yet either... time will tell I guess.

Juliet said...

What a beautiful story of Lucy and her thumb-sucking.

The photos are just adorable!

Had to laugh about your Dad calling her rabbit a "sewer rat."

Jill said...

How sweet. Neither of my girls sucked their thumbs...but we did have a 'Passy saga' -- Congrats to the big girl!!

Melanie said...

Ohhh, not Rabbie too! Those pics were so sweet! I'm so happy for you guys and Lucy's future teeth that the thumb-sucking is behind her now but all I kept thinking was, no not Rabbie too! It's a mixed bag for sure. So sweet seeing her grow 'up' in all those great pics.

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