Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where is Thumbkin? Hint: in my mouth.

Little kids are illogical. They do things which just simply do not make sense to adults, and often I wonder if the things kids do even make sense to them.

When I was younger I had a lot of favourite things. One of the most important of those things was my left thumb. As far back as I can remember my thumb and I were best buddies, and to keep my best buddy safe and warm, I kept it in my mouth. It's the same reason that Peter wakes up with drool on his nose now; he is my buddy, and I must keep his nose safe.

My protecting my buddy with my mouth is not the illogical thing, that totally still stands up as a smart thing to do, I just don't know why my thumb was so important to me; it isn't particularly delicious, it doesn't know any jokes, and it doesn't even look very pretty. Regardless, that thumb was everything to me.

My deep love for my thumb was a fact that brought great shame to my parents and siblings. I was Troy Bolton in High School Musical, and my thumb was the musical that no one wanted me to be a part of. Clearly my family does not appreciate the importance of a young soul being allowed freedom to dance, sing, and suck... their thumbs! If I didn't have so much love for that finger of mine, I would be making bank in bribes, because I was offered everything under the sun in exchange for it. The problem with the bargaining was that with each new thing that was offered to me, suddenly my thumb seemed to be that much more worthwhile! You'll give me candy for my thumb? THIS THUMB MUST BE BETTER THAN CANDY! And so on and so forth.

Another family tactic was to instil fear in my little heart by telling horror stories about what would happen to me if I didn't stop sucking. Usually, these threats revolved around my teeth and how they were going to be ruined big time (they were), but sometimes people got creative. My uncle Dennis, who lost his thumb to a lawnmower when he was a teenager, told me he had sucked it off, showing a perfect example of how lying to children is an encouraged pastime and tradition of American adults.

You would think that fear would be a good motivation to stop my bad habit, but the thing about children is: they cannot see into the future. Sure adults can't either, but we're much better at it than kids. I can say to myself, if I push Peter down on the couch and attempt to stick my tongue in his nose, he will fight me, and I will probably lose. I have seen my future of that particular decision. That doesn't mean that I DON'T push Peter down and attempt to stick my tongue in his nose, it just means I now what will happen when I do. Kids can't do this. There's that study, by super smart scientists where children are put in a room with a marshmallow and told that if they don't eat the marshmallow in X amount of minutes, they will be given more marshmallows. Spoiler alert!!: many of the children do not make it to the more marshmallow stage. They have a very hard time making decisions based on their consequences. Even if something better or worse is waiting for them, usually they just stick to what is most immediately gratifying. Seeing as I was not swayed by the possibility of crappy teeth or a disappearing thumb in my future, I would hypothesise I would have finished the marshmallow before the scientist had left the room had I participated in that study.

When the bargaining and threatening didn't work, the punishments and plotting would begin.
One particular punishment dished out to me by my mommifer in cahoots with my paediatrician was The Glove. This glove was pink, with different coloured fingers. It originally stretched mid-forearm, but was now a Franken-glove and had the top end of a white tube sock sewed onto it so it could cover my entire arm. It was then attached by glove keepers (heaven bless the '90s) to the back of my shoulder, thus making the skin on my hand completely inaccessible to me, an innocent 4 year old. I was Franken-glove's prisoner, and I did NOT like it. I remember one afternoon, after a trip to the grocery store, Mommifer had put the Franken-glove in place, and left me under the supervision of Barney on TV in the basement (this was where the TV was, not, like, I was put in a dungeon or anything). While normally Barney was a great love of mine, I could not enjoy his escapades while my thumb-buddy was being smothered by Franken-glove, so I spent my allotted TV time gnawing at the glove towards my freedom.
My slow destruction of Franken-glove had to be kept secret, so I reserved all my gnawing for times in which I could be alone, and tried to keep the hole on the padding on my thumb so I could easily hide it in my fist. It was kind of like I was digging a tunnel out of my prison and hiding it behind a poster. I was a totally logical, glove eating 4 year old.

Eventually Franken-glove was defeated and I was free to fill my parents' hearts with shame once more.

Looking back on it, I have so many ridiculous stories about me and my thumb, as well as my refusal to take it out of my mouth. Eventually, my parents paid an orthodontist to glue a metal claw to the roof of my mouth to attack my thumb anytime it entered, so that was fun, but hey, it worked. I am now only sucking on popsicles (like a sane person - Peter bites his which makes my teeth hurt and my soul confused as to why we are married) and filling my parents' hearts with shame in other ways, but much less frequently, and usually interspersed with joy, like when they read how witty and funny I can be on the internet (Hi, Parents!!!).

I tried to find a picture of me with my thumb, but I guess it was a non-documented thing for those full 9 years (oh, the family shame!), so here's a picture of me with a lamb at my thumb sucking age. Look at that awesome overbite.

1 comment:

  1. Mental image of Melly sticking her tongue into Peter's nose: majestic and hilarious