String Bean is a thumb sucker. She discovered her left thumb at three months old, and it’s been in her mouth any time she’s sleepy, scared, or needing some comfort ever since. The dentist tells me her bite is only mildly affected now, so not to worry, yet. We’ll tackle the habit more seriously when her adult teeth start coming in. I have to admit, it’s come in handy, the fact that she has something so comforting with her all the time. As soon as she found it at three months old, she started sleeping through the night. Now, when she’s nervous about a new situation or scared, it keeps the tears at bay. She also uses it to remember her right and left (she never sucks her right thumb, so if you tell her to turn to her left, she’ll pop her thumb into her mouth to orient herself first, then turn in the appropriate direction).
Neither of my kids had any interest in a pacifier. I tried, when they were wee things that cried regularly, but it just didn’t do it for either of them. String Bean found her thumb, and, wanting to prevent Peanut from adopting the habit, I tried various comfort measures until she chose one for herself. When she was about six months old, she started insisting on sleeping with one of the cloth diapers that I used as a burp cloth. She’d latch onto it while nursing, then cradle it to her chest as I put her down. As long as she had her burp cloth, she was a happy baby. I was happy with the choice, since I had dozens of identical cloths around the house, so we were never short of one. I kept them in her bed, in her swing, in the car, in the diaper bag, and tucked into the glider I used for nursing. I was never sure what to call it, this mini security blanket of hers, and tried various terms, but she came up with her own at about a year old, and that’s what it’s been called ever since. I’m not sure how it’s spelled, but it’s pronounced “tay.” She’ll be three years old next weekend, and she still sleeps with her “tay” every night. But we just had a dentist appointment, and her bite is perfect.