Friday, May 06, 2011

Will and determination

I've mentioned before that Katy has a strong will. For most of her life, I have viewed this as an area of struggle. As an infant, she would fight sleep, fight nursing, refuse to eat, and scream and cry inconsolably for hours. As a toddler, she required many, many, MANY reminders not to do things that were not allowed. And if she gets something in her mind, watch out. You won't hear the end of it until it is done.

But I've always had the fleeting thought that some day this determination would serve her well. I'm starting to see some examples of this, like when she learned to ride her bike without training wheels in a matter of minutes, and when she decided she was going to climb our crabapple tree and then did it.

So last week, we went to the pediatric dentist. When we had gone before, they had asked me if she sucked her thumb, and then merely encouraged me to let her know that big girls eventually stop sucking their thumbs. No pressure at this point. I may have mentioned it to her once, but it was not a battle that I was prepared to fight just yet. She does it exclusively when she is holding Blankie in her hands(you'll notice she doing it in every photo in that post), which is only occasionally during the day, and then to fall asleep at night.

But at this dentist visit, the dentist spoke directly to Katy and said, "Now that you are almost 5, it's time to try to stop sucking your thumb. If you keep sucking, it will move your teeth and make your smile look different. You might have to wear braces on your teeth!". They told me about a book called David Decides, in which the little boy (who I can tell must be my age by now, and I wonder how he feels about being the poster child for thumb sucking) decides on his own to stop sucking his thumb. They gave Katy a sticker chart and told her that if she can go 30 days in a row without sucking, she can bring the chart back and have her photo on the wall and get a prize.

I left the office curious to hear what Katy would say about it, but still not 100% convinced that we were going to fight it yet. It just wasn't on my radar screen. But she didn't give me a choice. The rest of the day she bugged me until we went to the library and got the book. Then she insisted on wearing band-aids on her thumb during the day and mittens to bed.

She has not sucked her thumb one time since we left the dentist's office over a week ago. She didn't cry the first night, just took a little longer to fall asleep, and that was that. She's been sleeping in mittens and placing stickers on her chart one day at a time.

I am floored. This was a battle that I was dreading. But that girl has a mind of her own. Challenge her to do something, and she's going to do it. As long as she thinks it's her idea.

However, try to take her Blankie and she will fight you to the death. She recently asked me if Blankie would be able to come to heaven with her when she died. How do I answer that?


Physibeth said...

I wish I had had a dentist that challenged me that way at her age. I sucked my thumb for many years more then I should have. Glad to see her will going towards a worthy cause.

bluedaisy said...

I wish I had that determination! Bless her little heart :)

Pam said...

Good for Katy! She is going to be such a strong personality later in life.
It was great to see you all tonight. Good luck tomorrow! X

Oma said...

Katy is made out of strong stuff! You go, girl!!

Blankie will be a big help in the delivery room later on and when she is staring out the window waiting for headlights of a long-awaited car. There is another former thumb-sucker in her life that will ALSO pack her blanket for the trip to heaven. :-)

Mommy Daisy said...

That's wonderful! Good job Katy. Though in general I'd say he's not quite as determined as Katy, Zachariah is at an age where he loves a challenge. To get him dressed in the morning, all I have to do is say I'm going to get dressed. He has to "beat" me every time, and if for some reason I'm dressed before him he tried even harder the next day. So if I need something done, I just have to make it a "challenge".

Kate said...

Go Katy! There's another cute book that just came out called Thumb Love that's hilarious. Might be good if she has a relapse-- but it doesn't sound like that's going to happen.

Kelsey said...

Go Katy!

She and Harper are alike in a lot of ways that I think will serve them well as they get older. :-) As long as we survive them!