From the nurse that brought us to the room to the hygienist and finally the Dentist himself. They each asked in turn:
"How's the thumb sucking?"
(From 2012, but the idea is still the same)
But I don't want it to end. This little girl, my only go-round with motherhood, is growing up and I just don't want to watch it happen anymore. I want her to forever curl up in my lap and suck her thumb as I rock her the in the last few moments of each day. I want to look back in the car and see her in the booster seat with one thumb in her mouth another on her ear as she dreams out the window. I want to know what that little "thuk-thuk-thuk" noise is when I check on her at night with my eyes unadjusted to the dark.
I had to let so much go already, can't I hold on to this last little bit of babyhood a little longer?
No? I know...
We have a strategy: a calendar that we put stickers on in hopes to earn a "thumb trophy" (her Dentist office will make a mold of her thumb and send it home with her) and the promise of a build-a-bear Rainbow Dash. Because she is a little girl after all.
She's doing very, very well. She catches herself and reminds herself that she's going to stop forever. Even after she gets her trophy. When I catch her not sucking when I know she usually would she bounces towards me with the slight remnant of her baby belly and her lengthening limbs exclaiming "I'm growing up! I hafta grow up! I can't stop!"
Like Wendy moving to the nursery she has to leave her childish things behind if she's to grow up.
Needless to say, she's taking it a lot better than I am.
Unless she really needs it. We've had a couple of meltdowns since the dentist. Nothing earth-shattering. Just crying, weeping, gnashing of teeth. Over TV time limit, over what's for dinner.... You know, typical kid stuff.
Then one afternoon I get this: "But MAMA! I CAN'T reset!!! I can't suck my mouth! Remember?!?!" (Her term for sucking her thumb, which makes the whole act of thumb sucking that much sweeter, right?!)
And in that moment my heart broke into a thousand pieces.
And I did the only thing I knew to do. I opened my arms, let her crawl into my lap and snuggled close to my chest, and I just sang. Little songs that we've sung for years. One after another Not stopping until the tears had ended, until her breathing slowed, until she just sat. Silent. No "thuk-thuk-thuk" sound.
I buried my face in her hair smelling of sweat and shampoo.
"Growing up is hard, but I know you can do this. You're a brave girl. You're a big girl. I believe in you. You can let this go."
I don't know if I was talking to her or to me... but she seemed soothed and bounced back to whatever imaginary world she was in earlier. Ugh. Growing up is hard. I knew it, I just thought I had a few more years before we had to start.