August 29, 2005

The Girl Child: Be afraid, be very afraid

Recall, please, that the Girl Child is only just 4 1/2 years old, ok?

We are attempting to correct her behavior. She sucks her thumb at night, during naps, and when she is very tired. It is starting to deform her teeth and we have been advised to make it stop. So, we've talked to her about it, explained that it isn't good for her, that we'd like her to stop, and, per the doctor's suggestion, instituted a sticker chart reward system -- so many days without sucking will equal a movie or something like that. We're not at all convinced that any of this is working, mind you, but we're fighting the good fight.

On Sunday, my wife told me (I was out at Home Depot), the Girl Child came down from her nap and had the following conversation with my wife:

GC [tone earnest, eyes wide, head shaking for emphasis] : Mamma, I didn't suck my thumb during my nap. But, when I got up, I went and washed my hands for a really long time and I only washed my thumbs, so, if my thumbs look a little wrinkled, that's why.

My wife told me that she was instantly terrified. I mean, if this is the outstanding kind of lie she can come up with at 4 1/2, imagine what she'll be like at 13. We're doomed. She is probably smarter than us both.

Posted by Random Penseur at August 29, 2005 11:37 AM | TrackBack

Oh, are you in trouuuuble.

Posted by: Allison at August 29, 2005 01:44 PM

Oh my.

I LOVE the GC. (Perhaps she and I are related somehow)

May I suggest a sticker calendar for the parents?

Posted by: Wicked H at August 29, 2005 01:44 PM

Ha,ha! I always laugh when I hear people carry on about how children Always Tell The Truth. Little do they realize how devious the little darlin's can be. Sounds like GC is varsity material.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at August 29, 2005 02:14 PM

My parents got me to stop sucking the thumb with a simple little bottle. The liquid in the bottle was called "Yucky Stuff". Or maybe that's just the name I gave it. It was painted on my thumbs sort of like nail polish would. If I ever forgot it was on there I would be quite disgusted when I popped my thumb in... it tasted AWFUL!

Posted by: suzanne at August 29, 2005 02:34 PM

Yeah, but I'm pretty sure she'll use her powers for good and not evil.


Posted by: Margi at August 29, 2005 02:36 PM

The Girl Child is my heroine. I want a T-Shirt with "Do What The Girl Child Says And No One Gets Hurt!" Heh..

Seriously, we went through this with my Girl Child at about the same age. I flat-out bribed her. Back then, we still had those big, thick toy catalogs from Sears or JC Pennys. I told her she could have anything she wanted in there *provided* she stop sucking her thumb for one month.

She picked out the Fisher-Price Complete Kitchen set, with the refrigerator, microwaves, stove and oven and dishes set. The entire set came to over $100, which at that time was a LOT of money for struggling young couple with two little kids.

But she did it and we bought it.

It worked! Of course, maybe she'd like a trip somewhere or something as a reward. Or something else that she would greatly desire.

I believe in bribes for children. They work very well. *grins* Anyway, good luck. Yes, her lying seems to be coming along quite nicely. HA! Did you ever see the Bill Cosby routine about little kids lying? Hysterical!

Posted by: Amber at August 29, 2005 02:37 PM

Trouble, man y'all are in deep trouble.
I'd recommend consuming large amounts of Gin to help ease the pain.

Posted by: phin at August 29, 2005 03:18 PM

I too have a 4 1/2 year old girl that still is a big thumb-sucker--much more so than the 2 1/2 year old. There seems to be mixed opinions on whether it causes teeth damage or not, so we haven't pushed stopping it. Only very gentle nudging so far.

It is amazing how well they can concoct a story. My husband and I already know we are in big trouble. Our only hope is to convince them we know more than we actually do.

Posted by: lawmom at August 29, 2005 03:46 PM

Oh, my. I'd say, Mr. RP, you will have an interesting set of teen years ahead of you. But I'm betting Margi's assessment is correct.

My baby boy has sucked his thumb since before birth. He's even doing it in the ultrasound photos. And even still, at 17, every once in a great while when he's sound asleep early in the morning, I still catch sight of the thumb in the mouth. He'd absolutely *kill* me dead for putting that here. :-$

Posted by: Jennifer at August 29, 2005 05:15 PM

The question is, can you spot the lies? As a lawyer, there must be a lot of lie detection as part of your daily life. My husband and I agree we were both shameless liars as children, but we grew to learn that it wasn't a good idea. Our son is either a really bad liar, or we are really good at lie detection. He learned quickly that it isn't easy to pull one over on us. As far as the thumb sucking issue: if you have a bad habit (and I'm not saying you do) you could agree that you will quit them together. It becomes more of a learning experience and something you can talk with honestly about with her - about how hard it is to quit something you are so used to doing.

Posted by: Laurel at August 29, 2005 07:47 PM

Troooooouble. That girl is going to be trouble with a capital 't'. I love the GC, but you two are so in for it ;)

Posted by: Kathy at August 29, 2005 11:10 PM

My sister gave up her fa-fa (passifier) to Santa at the age of 4--my parents were desperate. Of course, this only worked until she found it again in the knife utility drawer once she figured out how to access the kitchen counters. I can tell many stories about his period, but I won't.

Definitely try the bribery! Unfortunately., you can't *really* hide the thumb like my parents hid the fa-fa.

Posted by: Mandarin at August 30, 2005 01:11 AM

The solution, RP, is the Boy Child. Once he's old enough he'll be volunteering counterintelligence on the Girl Child. And vice-versa, of course. The challenge then becomes getting them to stop ratting on each other.

Then again, GC seems to have BC wrapped pretty securely around her finger. Maybe she's figured out this problem with sibling witnesses and is taking proactive measures. ;-)

Posted by: Jim at August 30, 2005 06:22 AM

LOL .... aren't kids great! Well there is a up side to the GC's creativity in that she is starting early and therefore you have a chance to teach her the importance of honesty. However, she probably is smarter than both of you. Its something that all parents learn eventually!

Good luck and thanks for the laughing reminder of my memories of raising my daughters.

Posted by: dee at August 30, 2005 11:33 AM

Does this ever bring back memories! My husband looked at our GC at one point when she was about the same age as yours and said ,"she'll either be Prime Minister or a felon."
Have fun trying to keep up with her.

Posted by: Jocelyn at August 30, 2005 02:44 PM

You could always refer her to this classic cautionary tale.

Posted by: MCNS at August 30, 2005 03:08 PM

Oh wow, she is good!!!

In terms of sucking her thumb; perhaps start with a specific, short, time period. It would be hard to stop a habit that one does automatically when one is asleep. When she is very tired, and starts to put her thumb in her mouth, stop her at that point, and reward her for not putting her thumb back in her mouth. You might also want to find her a different sort of soothing behaviour. Have her help you figure out something and then get her to switch to that instead.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at August 30, 2005 04:31 PM
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