Sunday, October 28, 2012

Growing Up Kayla

My baby girl Kayla is growing up. This is her usual sleeping pose below, thumb in mouth, blankie in hand. The blankie, a sleep sack, has been with Kayla since she was about 9 months old. She has never missed a sleep without this blanket at her side. Kayla is now 5.5 years old.

Up until quite recently, Kayla couldn't sleep without either soothers. Last year we tried having Santa send her a "magic" glove that she could wear at night to remind her not to suck her thumb, accompanied by a letter that said she was getting to be a big girl and shouldn't be sucking on her thumb - and of course that didn't work. Kayla wanted to stop sucking her thumb, she even told me she wanted to, but she said she just couldn't stop. Kayla told me how it would take her a lot longer to fall asleep at night because all she would do was think about how much she wanted to suck her thumb. Since I couldn't bare to have her lose sleep over it (she is only just 5),  I reluctantly told her to go back to her thumb sucking for now and we'd figure something out together later on. How do you help a lifelong thumb sucker stop?

So I googled around and found physical contraptions for the thumb, pj's with nubbed sleeves, and repellant spray for the thumb. None looked promising.

Last month, Steve took Kayla to the dentist who commented that Kayla was getting an overbite and would need braces because her front teeth were starting to protrude due to the thumb sucking. The dentist told Kayla she should stop sucking her thumb.... And so she did. We aren't sure what happened, but the dentist told her to stop and Kayla just stopped on her own. I think maybe having a third party tell her to stop sucking her thumb struck a chord with her. Later on Kayla told me her secret is to put her hand underneath her pillow while she sleeps such that she can't suck her thumb. Now why didn't I think of that?

Coincidentally around the same time, Kayla's blankie went missing for almost a week. We searched the entire house looking for her blankie and because it was nowhere to be found, she ended up having to go to sleep without it. One night turned into two nights turned into a week. Finally when we found it during the weekly folding of the laundry (it had gotten tangled inside a bed sheet), Kayla was happy to see it and the thumb sucking returned. Obviously the blankie and the thumb sucking were self perpetuating each other at night.

A few days later we "lost" the blankie again. Surprisingly, Kayla only asked for the blankie the first night and has since seemed to have forgotten about it. And the thumb sucking has stopped.

Its now been about 2 weeks. The blankie is hidden in my closet and every day I tell her I am so proud that she no longer sucks her thumb. I know its such a hard habit to break as I sucked my thumb for a very long time as well. I feel bad that I've hidden her blankie from her as its been with her for so long, but she doesn't seem to really need it anymore - she's growing up......maybe I'll start sleeping with it as it reminds me of my Kayla as a baby.

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