Thursday, August 30, 2012

small things {thumbs}

small things #65 ... thumbs

"Please take your thumb out of your mouth."

"Thumb, please."

"Sissy ... is your thumb in your mouth?"

"Please don't just pop your other 
thumb in your mouth."

"Thumb out, please."

This is is the current mantra that I should have recorded and embedded into a little button to wear on my shirt to play on an as needed basis.  And right now it's needed.  A lot.

She's my last baby to quit sucking her thumb.  The trouble is that she's no longer a baby.  But she doesn't seem to care and that's the rub.

We've tried an seemingly endless list of tricks and tips to help her stop:  

the yucky tasting stuff - "No problem, Mom, I'll just lick it off."
band-aids on her thumbs - "That's okay.  I'll suck my pinkie instead."
mits to wear at night - "My fingers get sweaty so I take 'em off and tuck 'em under my pillow."

I've talked to her about how no other first graders suck their thumbs to which she responded with a shrug.  And a thumb in her mouth.  And if anyone else (a stranger, perhaps) points out her thumb in her mouth, she smiles past her thumb, slides her hand to her lap and waits for them to walk away.  She just doesn't give a hoot.

She doesn't care and I can't make her care.  It's just another addition to my long laundry list of things I can't make my kids do:

I can't make them eat.
I can't make them go to sleep.
I can't make them poop and pee.
I can't make them have a good attitude.
I can't make them want to do anything.

In my ten years of parenting, I've often thought about how brilliant it would be if my kids were more like robots.  Wouldn't that be easier?  A few little key-strokes and voilĂ ! ...

Tantrum resolved,
Peas eaten,
Bedroom spotless,
Diapers gone,
Attitude adjusted,
Chores finished,
Homework complete,
Thumb liberated.

But in reality they are their own little selves, not robots for me to program and de-bug. ...sigh... 

That brings me to the conclusion that there is something more to the day-in and day-out challenges of parenting than just getting our children to do what we want and act as we want.  We are not simply nipping bad habits and halting annoying quirks.  We are training, disciplining and teaching our little people with the purpose of developing mature and self-disciplined bigger people.

Bigger people who will be smiling, confident, happy, self-controled, non-thumb-sucking adults before we know it!

The key here is prayer - for them and for me.  Prayer for them to navigate this time of growing up and stay close to Jesus.  Prayer for me to love them where they're at and usher them along ... focusing more on their hearts than their habits.  And prayer for a good measure of patience in the middle of it all!

Thumbs ... just one of the many teachable moments in which my kids have taught me.


#1 - Share something your child taught YOU about parenting.

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. You are can't make your kid do anything! I was the problem thumb sucker in the family, and as a result I got to get braces! I am in the process of potty training, and it would be so lovely if he would just want to do it when I want him to do it, well, that's not how it works!

  2. Over from Mama Kat's...great post. Just wanted I needed to read today. Thanks.

  3. Great post, Morgan! I love when you said, "Prayer for me to love them where they're at and usher them along ... focusing more on their hearts than their habits."

    I'm guilty of oftentimes looking at the habit rather than the heart. Thanks for challenging me.

  4. Great post, and so true! It made me realize how boring parenting would be if kids were robots. I would opt out.

    I'm here from Mama Kat's. Nice to see another Colorado blogger :)

  5. I can totally identify... MalMal has been sucking her thumb again too... keep on keepin' on, sister! I think prayer is much more important than we know! Love you!

  6. This too will pass. Great write!

  7. I can relate in the sense that I was a thumb sucker for far too long after I should've been. Everyone tried to get me to stop, it never worked. With that being said, I have no advice. I don't know what ever got me to stop. Embarrassment as I got to be a teenager maybe. If only children were robots..

  8. This is what I realized when I gave birth in my 3rd child. Allowing them to play with other kids helps them to developed their behaviour and the way they interact with othe kids.

  9. Love this line: focusing more on their hearts than their habits. Beautifully said.

    I think parents spend way too much effort trying to control their children. I try to teach my children to control themselves. I don't want the job forever and I'd like them to be good at it before they leave my house.

    Wonderful reminder. Best wishes with the thumb and with both of you letting it go.

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely week.

  10. --beautiful post.

    sometimes PRAYER is the only answer! X


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