Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thumbsucker

It would have been impossible for me to imagine this four months ago. Today, I just about burst with pride when my daughter managed to suck her thumb. Why did I get so giddy over this? Because I've been watching her struggle with it for the past three months. Even though I've seen sonograms that show babies in utero sucking their thumbs, I've come to appreciate that that's a happy accident. Having giving up on tucking that spat-out pacifier back into her face One More Time about a month ago, I assure you this could not be a more glorious development. At any rate, she's been working on mastering those spastic limb movements of hers, gamely shoving her fist (or fists) in the general direction of her gaping slobbertrap several times a day for the past three months. It used to be a reliable sign of hunger, but some time ago she discovered recreational fist-eating. Somewhere around three weeks ago, I noticed that sometimes she actually managed to extend her thumb at the same time and could suck on it for a second or two. About a week ago, she started reliably hitting her mouth every time, but still only 1 in 4 attempts worked out. Today, it was more like 3 in 4, and she was able to suck her thumb for 5-10 seconds before she'd lose it.

I'm sure this sounds like mommyblogger drivel, but this opens the door to a brave new frontier. One that, frankly, can't get here soon enough - going to sleep. Zoe does NOT like to go to sleep. Especially alone, double that for going without something to suck on. This, in effect, turns me into a giant pacifier. Either I have to nurse her off to sleep every time she needs to go to sleep, or I have to stay awake and see to it that her pacifier stays in place until she falls asleep. I can also walk with her until she falls asleep, but this presents the dreaded problem of How And When To Put Her Down in a way that prevents immediate return to wakefulness. And, sleep lover that I am, I'm not excited about this. Some of the best advice they give new moms is to "sleep when she sleeps." If you're paying attention, you've just noticed the conundrum. If I have to stay awake to put her to sleep, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY for me to sleep while she sleeps. Until she does fall asleep, and then I'm allowed to start falling to sleep, which means I'm guaranteed to be just drifting into the blessed REM zone when she startles herself awake and needs to be soothed back to sleep again. *sigh* Perhaps with a little sleep I can start writing something other than drivel, however amusing and momentous I find the drivel to be.

So, let's hear it for thumbsucking and other self-soothing behaviors! Even if she's not ahead of the curve at all, I'm glad we're getting there. I can see the distant shoreline of the Ocean of Sleepless Nights ahead. I'm sure we'll make occasional forays back into this Ocean as we progress, but a couple of nights on shore will make future sailing trips easier.

4 comments:

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

I've got high hopes for you! My boy never slept through the night until age four, and it was never consistent until closer to age nine or ten. Sleepless nights is the one and only reason I didn't have more babies. It was for the best though, since as it so happens, they end up turning into teenagers.

The other great thing about thumb sucking is that she won't have sucked on plastics for two years and then you find out three or four years later that they're banning those kinds of plastics in baby materials because they cause cancer, infertility or whatever type of dreaded disease is in fashion.

She's ADORABLE by the way!!!!!!!!! Very, very cute!!!!!!!

D said...

She is getting so big so fast! I LOVE these pictures!!

Lavender Luz said...

Too true. I had to grit my teeth whenever someone said "Sleep when she sleeps," as if it were easy.

You have a beautiful daughter. Yay for self-soothing!

Brian said...

Hi, just browing through and saw these lovely pictures of Zoe. Such a beautiful baby I had to call my wife to have a look. All the best to you and every happiness to Zoe.