The struggle is real. I meant it. Raising a child that will not out-grow the pacifier, I mean the natural thumb-sucking pacifier. It a serious struggle.
Kami, my son is almost 10 years old now. But he will not stop sucking on his thumb. Despite all efforts to stop him.
He could stay hours without eating, never complained of hunger. His finger was just enough. He does not only sucks the life out of his thumb, but he’d also facilitated the uplifting of the front teeth, thereby altering the shape of his upper jaw. Which gradually led to jut out of his front teeth, Finding it almost impossible to stay with his mouth closed.
All efforts made to stop him yielded no results. Some of the strategies used were as follows:
- SOFT TALKING: I tried to talk him into quit sucking his thumb, by making him see that he was no longer a baby. I spoke calmly, painting pictures of adults who still suck their thumb, and how embarrassing it was. Such people are often shy, not social, having only a few or no friends at all, and are often a loner. Kami was sorry, he promised to quit thumb-sucking before the week was over. But that did not happen.
- VERBAL WARNING: This time around, neither Kami nor I was finding it funny. I had given him a stern warning. I told him how dangerous it was to put anything unclean in his mouth, especially now that the COVID 19 is ravaging the entire world. I ensured he washes his hands regularly, applies the alcohol-based sanitizer before he could take anything to his mouth. All of a sudden, I discovered that hand sanitizers no longer last a week! Kami would sneak to the dining table, grab a bottle of hand sanitizer, and almost emptied the entire contents. Sadly, I buy hand sanitizer at least twice a week. And he hasn’t stopped sucking his thumb.
- ALOE VERA RECIPE: I remembered having a pot of aloe vera plants in my garden. I plucked a leaf, cut it into six parts, and thrust his thumb in each part. One in the morning, one at noon, the remaining at evening and night. I’d entered his room 3 or more times at night, and rubbed those bitter stuff on his finger. That was a lot of work because I was also losing some sleep. That also did not work. He’ll suck out the bitter gel and continue sucking his thumb.
- Finally, I got one last card. It’s either now or never! I call it “the Nail Art”! When I was having my nails done, at the salon, I saw him playing with a plastic nail. Aha! That rang a thing in my head. “That’s it!” I exclaimed, I was filled with joy unspeakable. I can’t wait to get home and try this one. I was so optimistic about this. In getting home, I quickly called him, talked with him about his interest in stopping this habit. Though he was reluctant. I knew he wasn’t ready, nonetheless, I got my glue and did Justice to his thumb!
After fixing the nail, Kami was restless, I saw how helpless he was looking, feeling sick already. I talked to him and encouraged him. The first two days went by. I thought by now he must have gotten over it. Not when I ask him how he now cope.
I was surprised to see that he had chewed the nail off and continued sucking his thumb.
Please leave a comment in the comments section, how you feel about this post. And if have a child that sucks their thumbs, kindly let me know how you manage it.