Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get that thing out of your mouth...

I use to be anti-binky. When Ava was born I swore I would sooth my child sans pacifier. That lasted about a month. Then, I told myself she could only have it when she was screaming in the car or at church. So, in protest, Ava, already wise beyond her ears even as a newborn found her own solution... her fingers. She began sucking on her middle finger and ring finger, while her pointer and pinky rested on her face as if she were saying, "Rock On!" I used to tell myself, I'd rather her suck on her fingers than a binky. I'm not sure what my hang-up with the plug (as some people call it) really was, maybe I thought it looked a little ridiculous... who knows. Anyway, I was happy she chose her fingers over the binky. Fast forward two years, oh, how I wish I could go back in time and pop her tiny little fingers out of her mouth, because she's still sucking on them. The thing is, you can throw a binky away, cut it up, hide it... you can't do that with fingers. We're trying to break her of the habit. She's gotten better, really she has. She used to suck them while reading, while watching TV, while sleeping. Now, she just sucks them when she's really tired. And it's so funny, often, she'll ask permission to suck her fingers.

So, when Jax was born, I was all about the bink. I waited until he was about a month old, at the suggestion of the American Academy of Pediatrics. But as soon as I could, I was shoving that thing in his mouth. Now, I should be specific, I don't put it in his mouth every time he makes a peep. Just when he's screaming uncontrollably or it's bedtime. The bedtime thing is more because the American Academy of Pediatrics (I should be their spokesperson) says that putting a baby to sleep with a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS. So, I do it. Now, as of late, Jax has been spitting out his binking more and more... and, *GASP* sucking on his fingers. Well, it's not so much sucking as a slobbering, chewing, sucking, licking, thing. He even has sound effects to go with it. You'd think I was feeding the kid a rack of ribs. Anyway, like I said, it's not really a consistent suck. I've been chalking it up to teething and exploration. Hey look, fingers. That is until yesterday. So, I'm in the kitchen making dinner. Jax is in his Exersaucer, sliming his hand and growling like a lion feasting on a gazelle. Then, the noises stop and I hear sucking. I look over, my jaw drops. There he is, sucking on his fingers. Not just any fingers - his middle and his ring finger. Rock On! What?! I've done everything to prevent this. I blame it on Ava. Monkey see, monkey do, right? Or maybe, my children just have a genetic predisposition to finger sucking. Who knows. Regardless, I take a picture. Andy wasn't there to see it and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have believed me if I simply told him.

So, what's a formerly anti-binky-now-pro-binky-anti-finger-mom to do? I know Ava will eventually stop sucking on her fingers. Either she won't need them, she'll get made fun of by mean peers, or the calluses on her fingers will begin to scrape the roof of her mouth (seriously, she has calluses from all the sucking). But, I don't want to fight this battle again.

I guess the reality is, I can't do anything... that is unless I want to put hot sauce or pepper on my kids' fingers, but I can't bring myself to do that. There's that stuff you buy at the store that smells like nail polish, yeah, it's gross apparently but Ava just powers through until she's sucked it all off and she gets to the fleshy goodness that are her fingers.

So, here we go again. I'll still keep campaigning for the binky. But, I have a feeling that as Jax gets more and more coordinated he's going to realize his fingers are much more accessible... and maybe tastier than a piece of latex. I dunno, I've never tried it... just an assumption.

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