I know, I know. Not supposed to reward kids with food. I get it. But Tabby's favorite thing in this whole wide world is candy, she never met a piece she didn't like. So, just what did she do to deserve this giant carb loaded sugar bomb?
SHE STOPPED SUCKING HER THUMB!!! You do not know how relieved I am! The actual thumb sucking never bothered me. The problem was what it was doing to her teeth. You see, I was a thumb sucker myself and I had to have braces for seven (!!!) years. Not just braces, I pretty much had every orthodontic apparatus ever used in the 1980's installed in to my mouth. It was horrific. We're talking headgear with the strap going across the top of my head and another one going behind my neck. Crazy rubber band mouth, Power Chains (colored according to what holiday was coming up), Arches, Spacers, Retainers, and this weird white plastic thingy that hung down behind my top front teeth. I swear they made that last one up just for me because I have never heard of someone else having that! This is why I feared for my little girl and her cute little mouth. Don't get me wrong, braces on kids are adorable and that alone wouldn't bother me. But I wouldn't wish the horrible orthodontic "devices" that I was forced to suffer through for seven (!!!) years on my worst enemy.
Now you now why I just HAD to get her to stop sucking her thumb before it was too late. But here's the thing. I couldn't get her to stop. She found a way around everything I tried. I taped socks to cover her hands at night, I tried thumb guards, I tried that nasty tasting stuff you paint on the nail, I tried ignoring it, I tried praising her when she wasn't doing it, I tired a reward chart. I TRIED EVERYTHING!
I then began thinking of starting a savings account for all the millions of dollars we were going to pay to some orthodontist somewhere who could fix my little girl's buck teeth which she was totally going to get for sure now because she was not stopping for anything or anyone.
Then one day, it happened. It was like she got it. All I said to her was "Tabby (she was about to start kindergarten) they don't let you suck your thumb in kindergarten." Kinda snobby, I know. But it was like it just clicked with her. I don't take any of the credit because over the next few weeks, I saw her just simply will herself out of the habit. She would bring her thumb up to her mouth and then catch herself and stop. She would make little fists and tuck her thumb in to try and remind herself not to do it. I was completely impressed. Over the course of a few weeks, she totally broke the habit all by her little 5 year old self. Sometimes her strong will and stubbornness can be helpful, I suppose.
I just realized the irony of giving my little girl a sugary teeth ruiner because she stopped sucking her thumb to save her teeth...