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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finger-Sucking Good

When the twins were infants, I rejoiced and counted my blessings for many reasons, not the least of which being that they refused to take a pacifier.

What luck! I thought. No constant disinfecting of plastic tabs, no finding gross old pacis under the couch, no losing every single dummy just when I need one the most. No crying at night or during nap when the babies couldn't find their little rubbery paradise.

No, my kids were smart. They chose the pacis that would never leave them. Natalina decided on her thumb. Dulce sucked her two fingers, which, as she got bigger, changed to just her pointer finger.

Well, that was short-sighted thinking, wasn't it? I say three years later. Because while all my friends are using the "pacifier fairy" (hi Alison!) and simply taking the dummies away, my kids still have their fingers and thumbs. Not even the best, most adept, pacifier fairy could take a child's digits away.

So what would have been a few days or maybe even a few weeks of begging, whining, sleepless nights, a few tantrums here and there, is for me a constant battle.

"Take your finger out of your mouth; you'll break your teeth."

"Don't suck on your thumb, baby, you'll pull your teeth forward."

"Just a little suck my finger, mama?"

"I'd prefer not, boo. You don't want to break your teeth, right?"

To my amazing luck, they've taken to this pretty well. Apparently breaking their teeth is a concept they can grasp, and something they don't want to risk, even for the comfort of sucking. And they still have their loveys (which usually go hand in hand with sucking behavior), to help them through the rough patches.

My heart swells with pride when I see them push their loveys up to their little faces, almost in the comfort position, the only piece missing being the thumb or finger in the mouth. Instead, that thumb or finger lingers just millimeters from its intended goal. But it never goes in. Well, almost never. And it's been only a few days.

And two unexpected perks? Now that they're concerned with their teeth, they want to brush them all the time. And now that they know at night they can sneak a suck here and there because I'm not in their room, they go to bed quite a bit easier. Winning all over the place.

What big girls I have. What strong-willed, amazing girls. They might just save me $8,000 in dental bills yet.

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  1. I sucked my thumb until I was 8, didn't screw up my teeth!

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