Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bedtime Tales and the Suckie Fairy (A Guest Post)

I've been promising my dear friend, Moe, that I will tell her "Give-Up-the-Guckie" story. Instead, I convinced her to write it out for me and am delighted to post her story here, in her own words.

Moe's warm, funny and well-adjusted kids are certainly not mourning the loss of their beloved "guckies'." I credit their awesome mum - and this lovely, magical story she spun them - for all of it.

One evening Liz and I were having a catch-up dinner when she mentioned she was talking to other mothers about the use of pacifiers. My kids are six and four, and I have successfully (without the tantrum) convinced them both to give up their suckies.

A little background on me:

I am completely PRO-PACIFIER. I used 'em, loved 'em and happily tell new moms I meet to go ahead and use 'em. Whatever works, right?

See, I was once  am currently a thumb sucker. Granted at almost 40, it now happens only in private when I'm hugely upset or needing comfort in some way. AND I don't think there is anything wrong with me (that's what my shrink says anyway).

It's a comfort mechanism, that's it. But it drove my parents crazy: they tried everything to make me stop. The biggest problem they had was that it was permanently attached to me. A suckie isn't.

Knowing the comfort I derive from thumb-sucking, I wasn't about to force my kids to stop using their suckies.  However, I do know about the dental problems, and the embarrassment that this can sometimes cause. But I made it their decision and didn't pressure them. Too much. And they had gotten to the age where they were embarrassed to have it in front of friends or family.

Instead, I told them a story, repeatedly, until they could tell it back to me.

By the way, we believe in fairies.

Here goes:

In a "Tinker Bell" movie we learned that fairies are born with the first laugh of a new born child.
In the movie "Hook: we learn that fairies can be killed with a child saying that they don't believe.
They can be brought back to life when the child claps and says "I believe in Fairies!"

Remember the Tooth Fairy? There's Suckie Fairy, too.

See, each new born fairy is so grateful for the life the new born baby has given them, s/he
 presents to the new baby a suckie -  to give them comfort and make them feel safe and loved.

The baby can use the suckie for however long they need it, but as they get bigger, they should need it less.When the baby becomes a big boy or girl, they are to put it under their pillow for the Suckie Fairy toretrieve, in return for a coin/present.

This way a new fairy can give the suckie to a new baby, as a thank-you for the gift of life.

The first time I told this story to my Tink-loving four-year-old, she was so upset at the prospect of giving up her suckie that she exclaimed, "Mommy, I don't believe in fairies!"

I jumped up and started dancing around the room clapping my hands.Startled, she began to laugh and asked what was I doing. I replied that her words had made a fairy sick somewhere and that she too, should start clapping, in order to save the fairy's life.

So we both jumped around the room clapping our hands, shouting, "I BELIEVE IN FAIRIES!"

Three months later she put her suckie under her pillow without being asked.

Moe's DH made her these memory boxes as a gift.
One box, suckies included, for each child.

And you? How did you convince your child to give up their favorite gucky/suckie/lovey?


  1. I love this. I told my kids something similar, but way less poetic. It went like this: "We need to mail your dummies to Santa Claus so he can give them to little babies who need them."

    It worked.

    No therapy.


    (Love the memory boxes!)

  2. Aren't those memory boxes something? I got teary when I saw them - her DH is a doll, to have made them. So sweet.

  3. Thanks for making this memory immortal for me.

    Love you too.
    P.S. (I can’t believe I just told the world I’m a thumb-sucker, my mother would be mortified! LMAO)

  4. Melanie (that one!)July 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Ok... so after reading this, I have to ask for some help! I have a 6 yr old step-son who still sucks his thumb. He has a hard time biting into food because he has such a bad overbite. We've pretty much accepted that we'll be shelling out for orthodontic work in his teens, but would still love some advice on how to get him to stop. Any suggestions?

  5. Oh that was totally me when I was younger.
    K, However Horrible Mommy this is,
    This is what I would do
    Tools needed
    1. There is a solution you can get that is not harmful to your kids However it tastes like crap. Mavala Stop or something like that
    2. There is a book called Jake and his Best Thumb.

    K, so I’d start by asking him if his thumb tastes ok today? Just cause once he becomes a big boy, the thumb starts to change it’s taste, cause it doesn’t want to be sucked anymore. Just mention it in passing a few times here and there over a month or so.
    Start reading the book with him at bedtime. Not every night, just make it a favorite of yours, but don’t point out to much about him stopping.
    Then after the seed has been planted, in the middle of the night when he is dead asleep, go into his room and coat his thumb with the awful tasting stuff. Try really hard not to get caught.
    Do this for about a week. Don’t mention to him about it though. Eventually he’ll say something about it and then you congratulate him, cause he’s turning into a big boy.
    However much you don’t want him to grow up, you are really proud that he is.
    Keep coating the thumb at night, until the habit is done. Maybe a month.

    Yes this is sneaky and horrible. But I remember the fights I had with my parents, and I know part of me kept doing it just to spite them. So if you make it about him and his growing up, then it’s not you and he’s too little to understand why you want him to stop, but growing up he understands.
    Anyhoo, just my thoughts.

  6. I sucked my thumb until I was 11, when my parents, despairing of this habit, had the dentist insert a "claw" into the roof of my mouth.

    If I tried to suck my thumb, it was soon shredded by the claw, so my habit was soon broken.


    I started smoking at 13 and there's no doubt in my mind that part of the allure of smoking was a strong oral fixation (Insert your own dirty joke - DH love to, whenever he re-hears this story)

    Was that helpful or not? Sorry. It's not the most child-friendly course of action, but it mostly worked.

  7. This is so sweet. I have two children that were pacifier addicts, and two that wanted nothing to do with anything that did not produce food. It always amazes me how different children can be!

    I let the two suckers give up the habit on their own time. It was at about 3.5 for both of them. I'm praying this means they won't be smokers later in life! ;)

  8. Monkey stopped sucking his thumb when the desntist (read: expert) said he needed to stop sucking it because it was impacting his bite. He is a very logical Monkey.

    Begging, bribery, promises of rewards did not work. I feel confident when I say invoking the fairies would not have worked either. But one "expert" shows up and he never popped that thumb in his mouth again. Ever.

    Great read.

  9. Oh dear. I am such a terrible mother. When Matt was 3 and was having a nap I cut the nipples off all of his "soo-soos". When he woke up, he was startled to find them broken. I told him it happens to everything, even our favourite things sometimes. He asked if they would grow back if watered them and gave them some sunshine. So we wet them under the tap and put them on the kitchen windowsill. He checked a couple times the next day then completely forgot about them. I pulled the same stunt with Isaac two years later....Now I'm thinking I could have been way more poetic.