Tuesday, October 24, 2006

So, you have a Linus, do you? -- jcarolek

I did. My little guy Stephen was a thumb sucking, blanket carrying little guy. I received lots of advice.

    * Don’t let him suck his thumb, his teeth will be crooked
    * He shouldn’t still be dragging that blanket around at his age

Anyone who has a Linus, knows the drill.

But, everything happens in due time. I am a firm believer

in this and so far, it has been proven true. The hard part is allowing the due time to arrive!

So it was that at the age of six,
having finished Kindergarten and preparing to start First Grade, that Stephen came up to me with his Blanket. He offered it up to me, with the request to put it away for him. He wanted to keep it so, when he grew up, his little boy could have it. I did as I was asked, certain that he would ask me to retrieve it in very short order. He did not.

At age eight and a half, Stephen declared that he needed to stop sucking his thumb. He wanted to know if there was a way I could help him do so. Sure, I told him. They sell some stuff called nail biter. Off we went to the store and purchased some. I supervised while he painted his thumbnail with the stuff. And then we went to the movies. In less than two minutes he had popped his thumb into his mouth and was gagging. Off to the water fountain to flush the bad taste out of his mouth he went, and he was good for the rest of the show.

He painted his thumbnail again that evening before going to bed. He survived his first night without his thumb in his mouth. The next day our family was driving to DE for Christmas. Having carefully painted his nail, he took his place in the back seat, with his safety belt fastened. We were off. Before we had even reached the edge of town, I heard Stephen ask,

“Can I roll down the window?”

I could tell by his tone, he’d popped that thumb in his mouth. “Sure, just don’t..” I was too late, my caution not to spit into the wind was coming out of my mouth as he was already doing just that. Naturally, it came back and hit him right in the face!

He was, understandably, grossed out! However, that marked the end of the thumb sucking.
Some time later, when Stephen was just shy of ten, he announced to me that he was never going to start smoking. Curious as to what had brought this on, I ask,

“why do you say that?”

“Because I know how hard it is to quit something, once you start.

I had a really hard time quitting sucking my thumb…I know.”

And so, my little Linus, had indeed, given up his blanket and his thumb sucking. He grew into a fine young man who, to this day, shies away from things known to be habit forming. Let’s just say, he has not forgotten!

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