Sam's Big Challenge, My Big Heartbreak
When the girls were very little they did not take pacifiers. At about 7 to 8 months old they discovered their hands. When they would put their hands in their mouth we would gently pul them away and say, "No hands in our faces." This really seemed to be working (and it did for Riley) until Sam had that first seizure. When I saw my baby laying in that hospital trying to comfort herself by sucking on her fingers I just couldn't say no.
That brings us to now, almost 3 1/2 years later. She's still sucking on those two fingers (she alternates between her hands.) She has huge callouses at the base of each finger, her teeth are being pushed forward, and the roof of her mouth is being pushed upward. They say this could affect her speech, but it doesn't seem to be.
In any case, about a year ago we tried to get her to stop by constantly reminding her to take her finger out of her mouth. It wasn't working and it was just upsetting her more which in turn made her suck her finger more. About this time I read a whole lot about finger sucking and many sources seemed to indicate that children would sto by age four, so we left her alone with it. She hasn't stopped.
Back to the research table for me. A couple of sources suggested sitting down with the child to see if she wants to stop (she said she did), and then let them be involved in the process (duh). Yesterday I got some white surgical tape and together we cut off pieces, and then Sam wrapped them around her finger. This is supposed to make it less comfortable for them to suck so they quit more naturally and without nagging.
I thought we were doing great until the last piece of tape went on. As she finished, she looked up at me, and big, giant tears slowly started rolling down her face. She didn't howl, she didn't complain, she just folded into my lap and sat there with those big silent tears rolling down her face. It made me cry then, and it's making me cry now as I write this. I have never seen anything so sad in my life. I just wanted to rip the tape off her fingers and let her have them back. However, as a parent I know I am doing the better thing for her by helping her to stop.
In the mean time I will silently cry for my baby.
Labels: Sam fingers sucking