Thursday, December 30, 2010

Confessions of a Thumb Sucker

From the 2005 movie Thumb Sucker, I had to see it of course.
You know I'm not shy when it comes to 'fessing up about my past. Parties, getting to first base with Eddie, my diary entries, etc. Last night I was flipping through the channels and TLC featured a young woman who publicly sucks her thumb. Thankfully in my case, I kicked the habit years prior to high school.


THUMB-SUCKING SCARE TACTICS
I remember sucking my thumb and watching Sesame Street. I remember sitting in the backseat of my mom's Oldsmobile, staring at the window on the way to Grandma's every morning -- my mom worked full-time. Bundled up in winter garb, thumb glued to my mouth. I remember going into first grade and my Uncle Tony having a serious heart-to-heart with me.

The thumb sucking had to stop. I was a big girl now. Sucking my thumb meant I was destined for a large dental head brace to correct my teeth. The brace would then rust in the rain. My uncle also told me that my right thumb would shrink and look odd compared to the never-before-sucked left thumb. I believed him, but what could I do. I couldn't stop. One night he doused on my thumb in alcohol. He figured every time I'd try to do my thing, the taste would be unbearable. I washed it off and crawled into bed.


BUSTED FOR SUCKING!
In first grade, we were watching a movie on a very large screen. The auditorium was dark and the quiet made me forget I was still in school. Remember, when you were small? Your parents would correct you for putting both arms on the table or licking your plate? They'd tell you that one day you'd forget and might actually do it on a date or in public? That's what happened.

I was caught. Abruptly, the lights flickered on. I thought I had a few more seconds to spare before the end credits rolled. Wrong. In an instant, the kid sitting in front of me turned around. It all happened so fast. I didn't have time to think. I was sleepy from the darkness and comfort of my thumb. Before I knew it, he was pointing at me, screaming, "Allyson sucks her thumb! Look everyone! She was sucking her thumb like a little baby!" I was six. It was humiliating. I don't remember much after that.

PROBLEM SOLVED
I won't lie, I believe I finally stopped sucking my thumb at around age 11. It was my secret. Nobody knew. I didn't tell friends. I remember having trouble sleeping at sleep-overs.  Trying to hide under blankets or waiting for the other girls to fall asleep first, hoping I wouldn't wake up with my thumb in my mouth. Then one day, I just stopped. I didn't try anything fancy. I didn't go for therapy. I wasn't in a twelve-step program. My parents didn't make me sleep with gloves on. Nobody did a thing. I didn't do a thing. I just realized one day I had forgotten to "insert thumb in mouth." I never sucked my thumb after that. I would try once in a while to see what the allure was, and it always felt uncomfortable and awkward. I honestly can't believe it was ever an obsession.

14 comments:

The Random Blogette said...

I stopped sucking mine in Kindergarten. I remember that I used to turn my head when no one was looking and sneak a good thumb suck as quickly as I could. My SiL jsut told me the other day that she stopped when she was 12!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

One lady told me she put hot sauce on her daughter's finger... the child ended up liking hot sauce! lol.. My daughter sucked her thumb from the moment she was born.. It helped lull her to sleep, calmed her when she was upset... by the time she was in grade school- braces were needed... yep.. and that was the only reason she needed braces...

nikki said...

Aw. I'm glad you outgrew it. I always thought most people do outgrow those habits. I'm glad your parents weren't overly concerned about it.

I did know a girl in college who still sucked her thumb, and wasn't all that shy about it either.

Pat Tillett said...

I stopped sucking my thumb when first told to, it wasn't too hard because simply switched to sucking on my collar or sleeve...
In the few photos I have of me as a young kid one side of my collar always looks wet...

Cheeseboy said...

It's not all bad. I sucked on a pacifier until I was 22.

I remember my sister had the same problem and my parents putting the most horrible stuff on her thumb. Never alcohol though. That is a first.

TS Hendrik said...

With all the multitude of issues I had growing up, thankfully I didn't have this one. I don't even remember sucking my thumb. But I had night terrors well into my teens so maybe I was missing out.

joe said...

I never was much of a thumb-sucker. I was more of a nose-picker. Here, want some?????

Kato said...

Oh my dear, I too, was a closet thumb sucker until I was 9 or ten. My parents also tried the gross taste on the thumb trick and I just screwed up my face and licked it all off in one go and then continued to happily suck my thumb.

I no longer suck my thumb, but I DO need to have the blanket up near, or covering my mouth. I have evolved!

:)

Riot Kitty said...

I never had that one but I did sleep w/a blanket until I was 12.

Riot Kitty said...

Oh, to clarify...I meant I never had a thumb-sucking obsession. Not that I never had thumbs :)

Jules said...

I was never a thumbsucker (that I can remember) but I know there were random kids here and there in school that did it until well past 6. That is horrible what happened to you and kids can be cruel. It’s good you were eventually able to break yourself of the habit and I can definitely think of worse things, so if that was the one bad habit, I’d say it’s better than some others that come to mind.

BlahCooCooBlah said...

I had a friend in elementary school who always sucked her thumb, ALWAYS and we weren't allowed to ask her why or help her stop. WTF????? Should have tried the hot sauce method!

Amber Von Felts said...

Oh man, I was a thumb sucker too! I remember my sister haveing the old heart to hear with me but it was probably like more like a "Hey big baby you better stop that or I'm gonna punch you, you are embarassing me" Well, she was 8 years older than me. Anyway, I can't remember when I stopped, but I did. I don't miss it a bit :-)

J.M. said...

here's something that could've been done. Make fruity flavored lollypops shaped like thumbs, so you can be proud to be a thumb sucker. And why not, now they have baby bottle pops.

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