I am so proud of my Buggie girl. We have entered a new transition. One that I was planning to put off for forever, but it came and found me. And she is far exceeding my expectations.About 3 months ago, I took EBug in for her first dental appointment. Of course the dentist mentioned that she needed to stop sucking her fingers for blah blah blah reasons. I got home and told Rob how sad I was that we would never be able to go to the dentist again.From then on I would hear random stories in random places about people sucking their fingers into their twenties. But then you also read that some kids just grow out of it in early elementary school.
The thing is, I knew that EBug would be the former. She is an avid, heavily reliant sucker.So about a week ago, she had a spill on the playground that resulted in a little tooth injury. I took her back to the dentist to have it looked at, and he informed me that it would not fully heal unless she stopped sucking her fingers.
One of the gifts that my sister and her family gave to EBug for her birthday was nail polish. E started asking if she could paint her nails. So we had a little conversation about having her nails painted.
Me: Well, you know, I would love to paint your nails. I think that would look so pretty, but if you have your nails painted, then you can’t suck your fingers anymore because it will suck off the polish.
Me: Do you think you are ready to stop sucking your fingers?
E: Yeah, Momma.
Me: Really! That would be wonderful and so big!
E: Yeah, but I need to twirl my hair.
Me: Well, you could still twirl your hair and just not suck your fingers.
E: But they go together, Momma.
Me: Hmmm, then I guess that means you can’t twirl your hair. Do you think you could do that?
I knew she would need a ton of help actually committing to it, but I knew her desire to stop was there.So I decided to approach it alot like I did potty training. Fully Commit. Be Consistent. Tons of Affirmation and Positive reinforcement. And oh my word, I can not even believe her determination. She is so resolute.
I have offered tons of special rewards. Like overkill.
The main times when she sucks them are in the car, while watching or listening to something, and at bedtime. The rewards have really helped give her short goals. Like, “If you make it through all our errands without sucking, then you can pick out a treat at Target.” Her treat choices are always candy, so her sugar intake is going to rot her teeth out. Our dentist is gonna love us.
She has mentioned a few times that she “really needs to suck her fingers.” When this happens I try to put a positive spin on it instead of just saying, “No! Don’t do it!!!” I’ll say, “You’ve been doing such a great job. You are such a brave, strong girl. I think you can keep from sucking them.” And then I throw out some huge reward she’ll get if she resists 🙂So we are definitely not through the woods. I don’t exactly know how long it takes to break such a habit, but I am really hopeful with her progress so far. Maybe I’ll post an update in a few weeks.And now a few quotable lines from my girl:
“We’re at the sharing party. Wanna join?”
“Tell me three things you’re thankful for, and then I’ll make you some brownie for a treat.”
“I want to run. I want to go everywhere I want to take myself.”
“I wanna lay in the sun and take my shoes off and read books all day.”
“But I don’t need to potty. I pottied last week.”