I was a wee bebe when I started sucking my thumb along with a blanket to accompany the joy and I remember both bringing such comfort. The familiar smell of the fabric, the soft worn edges with a strip of satin, the caress of my finger beneath my nose. I continued this much-loved habit until I was in fourth grade and I only quit then because I was getting braces. Who knows if I'd still be sucking my thumb to this day had it not been for my orthodontic needs.
Bryan was a long-term thumb sucker too, so we had our suspicions that Theo would be as well. I was THRILLED when he found his thumb at a few months old. He took a pacifier as a newborn but quickly lost interest in it after a month or two and honestly, I was glad because it was a PAIN replacing it for him every time it launched out of his mouth. I was praying for him to suck his thumb because hey, it's always right there! No parental involvement required! Because you know nothing says Mother Of The Year like a hands off approach to newborn soothing techniques.
At first he'd dance back and forth between his right and his left but eventually settled on his left thumb and he's been going strong ever since. Theo also has a blanket, The Blanket, with a specific satin tag in one corner that gets his undivided attention. I absolutely love that he has something that can bring him comfort when he's tired, upset or not feeling well. The look of contentment that falls across his face when he first pops his thumb in his mouth and rubs his tag is amazing to see.
So you can imagine the heartbreak that befell him last night when his thumb was sore to the touch last night, causing him to cry. He had a hangnail at daycare that tore down to the quick that was red but didn't look infected. Every time he wanted to suck his thumb to go to sleep he'd cry and not know what to do with his hand. I called our pediatrician to see if I could put Neosporin on it to ease the pain. Didn't want to poison him or anything, obviously. (Oh! As an aside! I first called the pharmacist thinking "Hey, is Neosporin poisonous?" would be a quick and easy question. Instead I got: "Well WHY would you do that? It's not going to HELP anything. Just put a band-aid on it." To which I replied "Uh, well, I thought that would help prevent infection. And I didn't want to put a band-aid on it since he'd probably chew it off." "Band-aids don't TASTE like anything, why would he chew it off?" "Oh, well, uh, because that's the thumb he puts in his mouth and he just wouldn't like the feeling of it." "Oh, well I guess there's no telling what people will do these days." /end call. HELLO ASSHOLE!) We got the go ahead but one application didn't cure it instantly, of course. He finally fell asleep after much singing and rocking (his new favorite night time song? Happy Birthday. I gotta say, it's really odd to sing that over and over again in the dark.) Bryan and I thought we were in the clear until he woke up SCREAMING around 3:30. He settled for a little while and then hysterical sobbing ensued until 5:00 when we just decided "Okay! We're up! Elmo on DVD it is!"
After another application he's able to suck again, so I fully expect him to take a marathon nap and sleep like a champ tonight. So please, take it from me:
1). Careful with hangnails if you have a thumb-sucker.
2). Never call your older-male-with-no-kids Osco pharmacist to ask about Neosporin application to an appendage that goes in the mouth.
3). Just take the day off work for the love because keeping your eyes open at Workplace is going to make you want to curl up under your desk and suck YOUR thumb.
4). Maybe pacifiers aren't so bad after all?