My four-year-old is a master in finger sucking. As far as I remember, she started it in the week just after her birth. But it wasn’t the thumb. She preferred to suck her middle finger and ring finger together, that too by hiding that ‘process’ using any piece of cloth she got.
As she reached six months, she found her own ‘sleepy’ (during the night) and a ‘choo-choo’ during the daytime. Now the sleepy was a worn out old cardigan, and the choo-choo was also another worn out fleece cap. We never found the relation between sleepy and choo-choo till she was two yrs old.
Then one fine day, it dawned on me that both had fleece as the inner-lining and for some unknown reason she liked the feel of fleece.
Now I couldn’t blame her because there is a bit of history behind this awkward phenomenon. I was an infamous thumb sucker till eight yrs old, and that too with a chaa-choo (I don’t know how she almost got the same name for hers!).
I was in the third standard, and this finger sucking was becoming very difficult (No, I never did it in public. Only for sleeping). My parents tried everything to stop this habit, by bandaging my thumb and even coating it with a mixture of neem and turmeric, which tasted horrible. But I just went on with my self-comforting method. My right thumb is still thin in the middle, which reminds me (and my parents) about that horrible habit I had.
As far as I remember, that habit went away automatically or rather I grew out of it.
With that experience in mind, when my elder was born, I gave her the soother (known as doddy, here) in her first week itself. As she might not bite on to it always, here, we also got the doddy clip too which we can clip to her dress.
Now blame me, the super-awesome mother, my daughter became addicted to it, and it blocked her top two milk-teeth from coming out. Also, she refused to talk as she never took her doddy from her mouth.
I was worried that she might have some tongue-tie, but the doctor told me to throw away the doddy that day itself. That night I collected a box full of different doddies and hid it behind the cupboard.
The next morning she started frantically looking for doddy everywhere, and we also acted to assist her by looking for it. As she hasn’t started talking then, she couldn’t tell me what she wants. Luckily, in a week she was out of that habit without much fuss, and soon her two front teeth appeared. And in a year she started talking.
We all learn from previous mistakes. I too learned. At least I thought, so.
So when my younger came, no doddy was given to her. But who am I to stop the inevitable? She started finger sucking and that too, two fingers at a time.
Now she is four and a half years and still stuck with her fleece sleepy and choo-choo.
We didn’t give it much thought as she is very talkative and had her teeth all in time, unlike her sister.
Till two months back……
I heard my husband screaming frantically downstairs while he was with my younger. I ran out thinking that she might have hurt herself, to hear him tell me “our child has a disfigured finger”. His tone was like that I almost thought that my baby somehow got permanently disfigured without my knowledge.
Then he showed me her index finger. She is unable to stretch her right index finger. It looked crooked – almost like a witch’s finger.
After the first shock, automatically the blame-game started between us. We thought that somehow she might have accidentally put her finger between the door (she has a habit of closing doors, for no reason) and got a fracture, which might not have healed properly, DUE TO OUR NEGLIGENCE.
Soon both of us were arguing over whose negligence made our child’s finger disfigured. Of course, the blame always falls on mom, as usual, because she bathes her, she cuts her nails, she is the one doing everything – and still, she was incapable of noticing it. My husband made me feel the worst mother God has ever created in this world. I wanted to kill myself for my negligence.
Now my husband acted fast. We took her to GP, and she referred for an X-ray, all done within 24 hrs, ONLY to discover that there wasn’t any fracture in her finger. Her tendons got shrunk because of the constant fingers sucking. As she was using middle and ring finger for sucking, the index finger was always in bent position. After being in the bent position continuously for four long yrs, the index finger naturally couldn’t stretch straight.
Now that took the guilt out of me being the worst mom in the world.
So before we arranged, her tendon fixing I decided to put a STOP to her finger sucking habit. I googled frantically and finally found a product called MAVALA STOP. It looks like clear nail polish but tastes horrible and is also safe to use on kids above three years old. Its main purpose is to break the finger sucking and nail-biting habits.
Voilà! I had hit gold!
I ordered it from Switzerland, determined to break her fingers sucking habit. After all, it is her right index finger!! It came in post after three days. I was so excited to put it on her nails the first day. She also was excited seeing that it looked just like clear nail polish with brush and all.
The first day she told me that her “sleepy is disgusting” and threw it away. For the first time in my life, I saw my baby sleeping without fingers stuck in her mouth. The second day also went like that.
I felt like someone who has cracked the most difficult mathematics problem ever. Literally, on top of the mountain. When my husband returns from Hungary I will show him, what kind of BRILLIANT mom I am !!
Now on the third night, I went to her with the nail polish, and she said “NO”. I froze. “what!”. “how did she know?” She is NOT supposed to know.
And at that second I realised the taste of failure. Yes, my four-year-old realised her mommy’s clear nail polish trick to stop her habit. But I wasn’t ready to accept defeat, so easily. I insisted on putting it. And then I saw the heart-breaking failure of my attempt.
My four year old continued her fingers sucking WITH that AWFUL TASTING thing on her nails. I mean, she didn’t care anymore about its disgusting taste.
I realised that I FAILED MISERABLY in my mission. Even Swiss scientists FAILED before my four-year-old.
Now I have the whole 10 ml bottle sitting on my bedside chest, which guarantees, the safest way to break finger sucking habit in kids. I MUST sue them for a million euros!
And on the other side, my four-year-old continues with her middle and ring finger sucking EVEN WITH the DISGUSTING thing coated on her nails.
Moral: I defeated my mother. My daughter defeated both Swiss scientists and me.