Thursday, January 29, 2009


Before I actually had kids I always said, "My kids will never be thumb suckers.  You can always take a pacifier away but you can't take a thumb away."  Little did I know that I really have no say in the matter!

When Areyna was about 3 months old I very clearly remember sitting on the couch with Josh watching TV.  All of a sudden I heard a noise.  I ran upstairs to Rainy's bed and found her half-asleep with her thumb in her mouth sucking away.  WHAT?!  This can't happen.  She WILL take her pacifier!!!  After several attempts of gently taking her thumb out of her mouth and  replacing it with her paci, just to have her spit it out and stick her thumb back in, I gave up, hoping it was just a one-time thing.  Nope, she was officially a thumb sucker.

Just about the same story could be said of Zeke too.  Neither of them were too terribly bad though, since they would only suck their thumbs if they were tired or sleeping.  

Now, as for thumbsuckers, I think it is so stinkin' cute to see a little toddler cuddling up sucking their thumb and there are plenty of benefits to having a thumbsucker; such as never losing it like you would a pacifier.  

That being said, it is another thing to see a 4-year old walking around sucking their thumb all day.  Areyna will be 4 in another month and it is time to be done with the thumb!

So, Josh and I devised a plan.  We figured it would be easier to do it with both the kids since they do everything together!  I called around to get this stuff called "THUM".  It's this nasty stuff you put on their fingernails.  Well, we went all out and painted their whole thumb.  It didn't take long for them to suck the stuff off and get back to sucking so we moved on to idea #2.

Check out the short video of the socks and duct tape HERE!  It is hilarious!!!  Not only did it not work, it took several hours for the kids to fall asleep!  Ahh, it was awful.  Plus, Zeke cried off and on for the first hour and a half.  It seemed like torture to him because he couldn't feel his bubby=(  
After several nights of trying to figure out different ways of taping the socks on we gave up on this idea too.  After 2-3 hours the socks would be pulled off somehow and thrown on the floor anyway...

We were running out of ideas.  We had heard of one other trick that might work.  Tobasco-type hot sauce.  This has actually worked the best.  Zeke cried out at about 2:30am because his tongue was on fire.  That's a good sign, only because we know he still had the stuff on his thumb and he hadn't been sucking his thumb up to that point.  When we went in the room Rainy wasn't sucking either!  

So, we have a 2-step process to nip this in the bud, or at least to guarantee a shorter span of thumbsucking...

Step 1:  THUM stuff all over their thumbs. We got it at Target for about $3.
Step 2:  Tobasco sauce, Texas Pete or any other spicy HOT sauce on the tips of the thumbs (it Areyna's cracked thumbs). I get it for free with coupons all the time at Harris Teeter. I always go in to kiss the kids one more time before I go to bed and I have yet to see their thumbs in their mouths at that time.  The battle is not over, but we are making some progress.  Areyna really wants to be done sucking her thumb but a 4-year habit is hard to break!  

How about you, do you have a thumbsucker?  What did you do, or what are you doing, if anything at all, to stop the habit?

*Disclamer-we are not trying to punish our children by not allowing them to suck their thumbs.  Areyna has terrible excema and her thumb has been cracked and bleeding a lot, this winter especially, from the dry air that we needed to do something.  Not to mention the oral benefits from quitting.


Susan Sene said...

I'm pretty sure I sucked my thumb well past the age of 4 - regrettably. :) My parents got me to stop by bribing me. I know it sounds awful, but it worked. But I still had to have braces. Well, maybe - you know how those orthodontists are...just like mechanics.

Anonymous said...

Well, I sucked my thumb until I was 9 years old! So I'm with ya on stopping it now :) I wore a glove to sleep in...but I wanted to it might not work so well with the litte ones who want to keep sucking :) Thankfully my kids never took to the Paci or the thumb.

Sara said...

yep, i was a closet thumb sucker until 3rd grade (at least)... the only way i stopped was that i was getting embarrassed of the callous that had formed from my lower teeth on my thumb - it was PROOF that i was still a thumbsucker!! it definitely lengthened my brace-face, too.

Kelly Via said...

Tash, I am loving all your creative ideas!! Way to go!! Maybe with the third one, you can put hot sauce on the thumbs right out of the womb... (just kidding, please don't email me people!)

Wow, what a hard habit to break!! You guys are great for helping them break it now!!

The last time Cana was with Rainy, she came home...and tried to SUCK HER THUMB! We had to talk. I stayed on her all day, and she stopped...thank goodness!

The Via Colony said...

Kelly, that is hilarious. Sorry about that=) Rainy and Zeke are ALWAYS trying to mimic things they see or hear Cana do or say. Aw... cousins!!!

Jenifer said...

Tasha, my 9 year old daughter STILL sucks her thumb. We have tried everything from the nail stuff, which she would rub off, to taping socks on her hands at night, to taking away her favorite blanket which seemed to trigger the thumb going in the mouth, to hot sauce, to rubbing aloe plant on her thumbs- a tip from the dentist- none of it has worked. Our next step is to have an appliance put in her mouth by the dentist.

Thumb sucking has caused problems with the positioning of her teeth and braces are in our future. I pray you have greater success than we did!