Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Son of Bugs Bunny

When I was a young, and then an older and older thumb-sucking girl, I used to regularly hear, "Watch out! When you grow up, your teeth will stick out like Bugs Bunny if you don't stop that!".
Unfortunately, that line of thinking wasn't motivating. By God's mercy, I don't think I look like Bugs now (comment if you disagree!), though I have a space between my top and bottom teeth when I bite down that renders me unable to eat a sandwich gracefully.
My parents tried other things like NASTY-tasting medicine on my thumb, etc. None of these methods worked.
In fact, I wasn't finally and truly done with sucking my thumb until around the alarmingly old double-digit age of 12.
Now, can anyone tell me where that Bible verse is that says something like "the sins of the father (mother) are visited on the sons down to the third and fourth generation"? I checked Bible Gateway but couldn't figure it out. I didn't try that hard, I was too anxious to get here and start ranting about the fact that

ARGH! *sounds of hair tearing and things breaking*

Um, and yes, though many things about his birth and the months thereafter are already becoming fuzzy in my memory, I clearly recall being happy when he started sucking his thumb. Ha! No pacifiers to keep track of! Not much crying when he's upset or going to sleep because he can comfort himself! Ha!
Now the laugh's on me?!
Recently I read on Babycenter that I shouldn't worry about it much unless he turns three and is still doing it. Furthermore, I shouldn't tell him not to do it, I should engage him in creative play and distract him so that his hands are busy and not available for engagement in his mouth.
These methods are ideal for a perfect mother. I do not fit the category. Of course I play with Koji; not as often as I think I should, but I do. However, the times he's busy with his thumb are usually times when it would be difficult to engage him in play for other reasons--for example, he's watching a video, or he's sitting in his stroller and we're on the train.
He's relatively verbal and understands a lot, so I've been telling him for awhile that "shaburu no ha neru toki dake (sucking your thumb is only for sleep-time)". I know he understands, because when I tell him...hundreds of times stop, he sometimes asks, "neru toki dake? (only when I'm sleeping?)".

The distance between head and heart--thumb--is long. I know this well, and for the days I didn't listen to my parents on this subject, I repent! Now Lord, please please please let these 1000s of times per day that I am cajoling, urging, commanding, begging Koji to stop sucking his thumb come to fruition soon. No more Bugs in this family!


Sam said...

Hey Jamie,

try using the words 'generation' and 'sin' in the default bible gateway search, you'll see examples of the verse in question in exodus, deutronomy and numbers.

But honestly, one thing you've failed to mention in this blog, is whether or not it is actually detrimental to a child's physcial and mental health to suck their thumb? :-)

Laurie Ann said...

Don't forget Koji's only 2 1/2... give the kid a break! Mom often has to tell me to remember Ollie's only 3 and there are just certain attributes that a 3 year old has that may be annoying. I had NO idea you sucked your thumb until you were 12. Where was I??

Stephanie said...

I remember sucking my thumb. I did it long enough to remember my parents threatening to put hot sauce on my thumb in the middle of the night so I'd be in for a nasty surprise. I don't think I sucked it in public once I entered school, though, and I remember seeing a girl in (first or second?) grade who sucked her thumb in line. "Gross!" I thought, and I think that was the end of my own thumb sucking. Plus, I heard the other kids calling her a baby. Ahh..the innate kindness of children.

Mom said...

I think you actually stopped in or before first grade for a good long period and then something in first (or second) grade tramatized you and "the thumb" entered the picture again.

I also remember worrying more than praying when you were little. So now is a good time for me to make that up to you.

I love you, dearest Ed and I KNOW how you feel.

PS Was that first comment from Sam, as in your Uncle Sam? my brother? If so, how delightful to see his name on your blog. :-)

jamie christine said...

sam, thanks! next time I need a verse, maybe I'll ask you INSTEAD of Bible Gateway... and I'm not actually sure if the thumb sucking traumatizes kids, it seems to be more of a reaction to trauma? (see mom's comment above)

so, laurs, between what you and sam have observed, maybe I should give him a break...I think I'm frustrated by it because it honestly is so all the time!! yet another prompt for me to pray for patience?

stephanie, I think I remember (though my memory may be faulty) being "called out" in elementary school for trying sneakily to suck my thumb; I felt bad about it! the kids aren't always nice and sometimes the teachers don't understand either?!

mom, I wonder what traumatized me? not that I'm going to head to therapy to try and dig up my buried memories! I wonder if it was the time that I came to school on Monday morning to find my bag of books partially submerged in a puddle of pee on my chair?!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Hope I do this blog comment right and that you see it, since it is a good two weeks since you posted it initially. I got on to share the good news of your nephew's successful heart surgery (YAY!! Thank you God!) and had to scroll down to see your adorable family. Wait...before I go on and on...let me see if I can post without registering all my retirement accounts.

Anonymous said...

Ahh...okay. So Sam (2 years old in August) still loves his "plugs" and I think about this because I feel some pressure from family members to wean him from them. But I many people do you meet who say "yeah...I had to get braces because I sucked my thumb too long." And you, alleged Bugs Bunny, have no inkling of such consequences! When I truly analyze's worth it to me for Sam to have that source of comfort. I think there's time later for him to give it up. The kid's 2!! He's got a lot of self-sufficiency to learn! I realize that once the plug is weaned, he might resort to the thumb. Another bridge to cross later! I don't want to put any pressure to wean the plug anytime near potty training either...not sure how those chips will fall. But no need to get sidetracked here. All this to say, I hope that you find the resolve you need for Koji. I for one, am glad that the kids have a way to soothe themselves. I'll probably replace his plugs with cigarettes.


Anonymous said...

That would be quite decidedly a joke, by the way.

And I'm Christine in TX from whom you hear once every three years. Thanks for keeping me in the loop.