Friday, March 5, 2010
Anyway, one thing my mother used to say that has been bouncing around in my memory is this..."Catherine Elizabeth, someday you'll have a child just like you and then you'll see why I get so frustrated sometimes! I swear, you bring me such joy and then such aggravation!" Of course, I would think to myself..."Ha! I should be so lucky to have a child as cool and funny as I am and if I did, I would never, ever yell at them and never make them clean their room or clean out the catbox or do anything at all that they don't like to do and I wouldn't even send them to school because I would want to play with them all day and they could eat all the candy and ice cream they want and they could suck their thumbs whenever they felt like it because I would be the COOLEST MOM EVER!" You know the drill.
This brings me to the subject of thumbsucking. Many of you have strong opinions about this. I know that because COMPLETE STRANGERS have approached (or should I say reproached) me in public when the twins were little to weigh in on the issue. Listen, I get it. Of course, I wish my children would stop sucking their thumbs. I know it's bad for their teeth. I know they are carrying around germs on their thumbs and that it is not exactly a hygenic thing to do. But as a mother of a very busy 2 1/2 year old and newborn twin babies with no family around...I gotta tell ya...it was great when they were little. Never had to run around trying to find their 'binky'. They barely cried and could soothe themselves to sleep. That was priceless to me! These days, they don't really suck their thumbs in public and don't do it at school at all so we are making steady progress.
I'm sure I would be more distressed over all of this if it weren't for the fact that I was an epic thumbsucker myself. So I understand. I know why they do it and why they don't want to let go of it. They were sucking their thumbs in every ultrasound picture and immediately after they were born. I did the same thing when I was little. It was a comfort to me and yes, it became a habit that was pretty tough to break. (I'm happy to report that I did eventually stop and am -in my humble opinion- pretty well-adjusted and healthy). Well, I did have to wear a retainer, but no braces. We probably won't be that lucky.
Here is what we won't be doing: Shaming them or embarrassing them or making them feel defective. This is unfortuately what my parents chose to do. Tabasco sauce, Nail-biter, bitters and jalapeno juice didn't work. Band-aids and tape and even making me wear a pacifier around my neck to school didn't work. Like most kids, the more they harrassed me about it, the more stressed I was and the more I sucked my thumb. It's just not worth it.
Someday I will remember these times and wish I could turn back the hands of time. When their little voices were so sweet and their giggles would float down the stairs and cover me with a warmth like no other. I'm treasuring every moment. They are young for such a short time. Pretty soon, the thumbs and blankets will be replaced with footballs and pom-poms and cell phones and I-pods. Call me crazy...but I will miss the thumbsucking days...frustrating as they can be sometimes...I will surely miss them.
I did end up with a kid just like me. Mattie is a little mini-me. Sometimes she frustrates me but mostly she is an unbelievable joy. I'll bet my mom is in heaven looking down and laughing it up at my expense. I know she's also crying tears of happiness and pride over her precious grandchildren. So...just for you Mom...the thing you most loved hearing me say: "You were right, Mom."
Miss you mucho!