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In the Family

In the Family

A cute, little habit that needed to be eliminated sooner rather than later. Our precious baby girl who had just turned four years old, had a habit of sucking on just the corner of her pink silk blanket. She would meticulously fold the corner into thirds and stick the triangular end into her mouth. Her eyes would close and her facial expression would change to one of complete peace and utter bliss. She would shut out the world and only that satin piece of blanket in her mouth existed. Yes, it was great at first, the self-soothing that accompanied that blanket inserted into her adorable little mouth that had just been wide open and screaming at the top of her lungs. As a busy mom, I honestly was thankful for the quiet and the peace that followed the storm. I appreciated that our daughter had a way to calm herself after a tantrum or put herself back to sleep after a dream. The sucking, well it just made us all feel better. Then the speech therapist in me took hold of the situation. I had an awakening that although this was cute, convenient, and peaceful it was a bad habit. I realized that I needed to parent bravely and confidently and begin the transition to stop this bad habit before any damage was done to the development of her face, jaw, speech, breathing, and swallowing. I truly did not need any more reasons to get rid of this sucking problem and the sooner the better! So, we began the process of replacing ‘peak sucking’ times with new activities that kept her busy and engaged in the new activity. For example, new books that we could all read together for example, a dinosaur book. We would read a chapter or couple of pages with the pictures and then add an ‘excavation’ day. She would pretend she was an archeologist with a ‘brush’ and uncovering a dinosaur bone in the yard/sand box. We would take ‘mystery drives’ and she had to ask questions about where she thought we might be going, we added additional prayers at night during the bed time routine. It was the entire family in this together. We were a team. Then one day, she made the decision that she was done with the pink, silk blanket. It was said with complete conviction and sure enough one day turned into another turned into a month, turned into two months and so on….as C.S. Lewis is attributed as saying, “Isn’t it funny that day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” This was true for us. It changed my way of parenting, it changed our family dynamics, and our once shy, blanket sucking child was now a confident member of our family.

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