Both my boys were thumb suckers. We had a terrible time getting my oldest to stop, and now we’re fighting the battle with my youngest (who is four years old). He’s trying, but it seems to be a very difficult habit to break. This morning, I thought I’d take a quick look through my notes from when we faced this problem with our oldest. As I searched, I stumbled across a memory that I never wrote a tale for. Here it is.
For my youngest, one thumb wasn’t enough. He didn’t try to suck both of them at the same time, or at least not more than once. Instead, he stuck his non-sucking thumb in his belly button.
This sounds cute- and it was – but it looked very strange, especially when he was wearing a diaper. His diaper, you see, covered his belly button. To stick his thumb in it, he had to force his hand inside the waistband of the diaper.
Imagine a little baby with one thumb in his mouth and the other in his diaper.
Not only did we not enjoy the looks people gave him, but his diapers fell off with alarming frequency. We tried fastening them below his belly, but they just slid off when he stood up. After a great deal of pondering about the problem, we decided to try the old fashioned approach: talking.
We told him he wasn’t allowed to put his hand in his diaper. When he was not wearing a diaper, or if he was lying down and the diaper was low enough, he was welcome to stick his thumb in his belly button. He was not, however, allowed to force his hand into his diaper. It took some explaining, but he figured it out. In fact, I think it helped motivate him to get out of diapers as quickly as possible.
I remember one morning in particular. It was towards the end of his diaper days, and I was changing him for the morning. As soon as I took off his diaper he jabbed one thumb into his belly button and the other into his mouth. I took as long as I could to get the next diaper ready, giving him plenty of belly button time.
When I finally put the clean diaper on, he pulled his thumb out, looked down at his belly, and sighed.
“Bye bye belly button,” he said.