Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mother Knows Best

Yesterday I was at the dentist's office with Matthew (displaying his new ragamuffin smile above) and Leah (who came along as decoration) when the dentist noticed Leah happily sucking away on her thumb. Matthew is a thumb-sucker as well, so the sight of two babies doing it at once was too much for the tooth man. "All right, Mom," he said, "you really need to get them to stop doing that now that they're a year old."

This is when my eyes glazed over and I nodded and smiled and said things like "Oh, really?" "Mmmm hmmmm." "Good idea" and "I'd never thought of that before." Confession: I had no idea what he was saying. And I didn't care. Because, frankly, I'd rather throw myself over a bridge than wean my babies from their one reliable self-comfort mechanism. They are only 13 months old, for heaven's sake. And in case anyone hasn't noticed, there are two of them, which makes the ability to self-comfort that much more important. The thumb-sucking has been my salvation - not only has it saved me from having to take up swearing (curse words are obligatory when one is crawling under the crib at 3 a.m. looking for the %$#$@!# pacifier, especially when one whacks one's head on the crib rails and wakes up the other baby), it is probably the only reason I am sane right now. Really.

Besides, I think the whole thumb-sucking thing is sort of adorable. (By saying that I'm not waiving my rights to pull my hair out when they want to suck their thumbs on their way out the door to college. But for now, I have no problem with it).

It's funny how every medical professional has his little idiosyncrasies. The dentist wants the babies to quit sucking their thumbs now. My old pediatrician said it was fine as long as they stop before their permanent teeth come in. My new pediatrician didn't even notice the thumb sucking, but congratulated me on advancing the babies to sippy cups, which my old pediatrician informed me was a mistake that would result in my children never being able to drink out of real cups. He thought the transition should be directly from breast to cup, without deference to living room carpets and car upholstery. (Apparently someone needs to inform him about the millions of children who have gone from sippy cup to regular cup just fine).

After our dentist adventures (so far so good on keeping the tooth, by the way), I took Matthew for a little extra torture and had his blood drawn to check for allergies. He's had fairly severe reactions to eggs and peanut butter (hives and vomiting), foods which my current pediatrician informed me I should never have given him before he was a year old. My old pediatrician said 9 months and a friend's pediatrician said, "Whenever you want to start with eggs and peanut butter is fine. There's a lot of evidence that delaying introduction of allergenic foods causes more allergies than it prevents." Go figure. What was I saying about idiosyncrasies?).

It's a wonder the human race continues to survive. Especially my kids. I mean, I don't even read to them while I am nursing.

There goes their chance at Harvard.


fiona said...

Your title says it all. And Bran is a happy little thumb-sucker at 4, despite all the Bulgarians who apparently think his life will be ruined because of it. I smile and nod and say, "he's fine."

Poor Matthew! I'm glad his tooth should be fine.

Suzanne Lucas said...

Ha! My pediatrician said that if I didn't put Daniel on a sippy cup he would,drum roll please, never learn to drink out of a regular cup.

Yes, it's true. Look at history, before sippy cups were invented and these poor children had to go directly from breast to regular cup, they were never able to do so and as a result, died of dehydration and civilization ENDED.

You should always do exactly what your pediatrician says, or (as demonstrated above) civilization will END.

And thumb sucking? Normal mothers pray their kids suck their thumbs. It's super-de-duper awesome.

Stephanie Black said...

Bonnie, you are a very wise woman. If you took all this contradictory advice seriously, you'd lose your marbles and make parenting a stress-fest. Even the most popular "must/must not do" theories are probably going to change, given a few years.

Bonnie said...

LOL, Suzie. That is some really nutty advice.

Sara said...

I'm laughing because when I asked our pediatric dentist if Woodstock was doomed to horrible teeth because I couldn't bear to wean her off it before Pebbles arrived, he laughed and said, "of course not!"

And my pediatrician has never said a word about sippy cups or weaning.

Sometimes I wonder how WE didn't all end up dead - since all the rules have changed in the last 30 years.