Monday, March 29, 2010


Earlier this month I took the kids to the dentist for their 6 month check up. I am trying to start them off at a young age with good experiences at the dentist's office. I must confess that the dentist is the last place that I like to go. I just down right don't like it. This is probably due to the fact that when I was a little girl I went to a dentist who seemed ancient. His hands were large and rough, and his bedside manner matched his hands.

I remember the sweet hygienist taking me back and being so kind as she cleaned my teeth always telling me that I needed to floss and brush twice a day. The experience was pleasant until the dentist entered the room. His gruff persona immediately terrified me, and it seemed that every time I went I had a cavity or two requiring a shot in my mouth and the dreaded drill. It makes me cringe just thinking about it. I remember leaving feeling as if I had run a mile with my legs weak and wobbly, and my arms like rubber noodles from holding on to the dentist chair with every muscle fiercely flexed as if that would create a barrier between the pain and the fear that I felt. It is probably the closest I have ever been to needing to find a happy place. Ugh! To this day I still don't enjoy trips to the dentist. So, I'm hoping to get my kids started out on the right foot, and so far the dentist hasn't been too bad.

This time around they each took their turn in the big yellow chair including little Doop who up until now has only climbed into the chair when no one wearing scrubs was in the room. He would pretend that he was in a large space chair dreaming of a trip to the moon until one of the staff entered the room abruptly ending his fantasy. At that point there was no talking him into getting back in, and the chair no longer looked fun. That is until this trip. He was up first and didn't even hesitate to climb in to get his teeth cleaned. Of course he pulled his usual crazy faces as the hygienist tried talking to him while cleaning his teeth. I can always count on him to roll his eyes back in his head, or pretend to pass out when someone he doesn't know is talking to him. Let's hope it's just a phase!
Our trip to the dentist this time around was a success. No cavities! However, on this particular visit the dentist spent some extra time with Lou. We have two thumb suckers in the house. Lou and Doop both suck their thumbs. I'm not sure if this contributes to the mischief or not, but it is one more thing they have in common. Lou has been sucking her thumb since she was still hanging out in my belly. We have an ultrasound picture of her sucking her thumb, and shortly after she entered this world her thumb found it's home back in her mouth. She is now at the point that she is losing her baby teeth and the dentist had a discussion with her about the importance of quitting a habit she has known for quite some time now. He specifically asked me what we had done to try and get her to stop. I must confess that we really hadn't tried anything. There is a reason we hadn't tried anything. I too was a thumb sucker, and like Lou I have a pretty strong will. My parents tried several things to get me to stop. Their various methods were all approached with the same negative tone, and each time I was bound and determined to defy them in their efforts. They attempted to make me wear a glove on my hand, doused my thumb with the dreaded anti-thumb sucking gunk, and even tried hot sauce. Guess what? I outlasted them. Now, I'm not saying I'm proud of this. Well truth be told I was back then, but now I see that they were only looking out for my best interest. Needless to say my habit carried on until I was 12. Twelve! At that point I wanted to stop and tried my best to do it, but I would wake up in the morning with my thumb in my mouth and even worse my mother giving me that look as if I should have listened to her years earlier. Okay so I should have, but it made me angry enough that eventually I stopped. So when the dentist spent time talking to Lou he explained the consequences that sucking her thumb would have on her brand new teeth. He showed her the device that could be used to help her stop, and very kindly encouraged her to try her hardest on her own. He suggested that I make another appointment to have the device placed on her teeth and I pushed back letting him know I would rather let her try on her own first just as he had encouraged. And so we left the dentist office with a dilemma. Lou was torn between taking the easy route having the device placed permanently in her mouth until she stopped, or taking the challenge to quit on her own. She went back to school and took the day to think about it. When she arrived home we discussed the issue a little more and together we set a goal for her to stop on her own after she made the decision to do her best to stop. We set a timeframe and she chose two rewards for reaching her goal and we set out with a plan that she was excited about.

That was two weeks ago. For two weeks Lou has not sucked her thumb. She has not worn gloves, or had any kind of nasty tasting liquid draped over her thumb. She has simply chosen to stop. She made up her mind that this was something she wanted to do and she has done it. Has she had difficult times? You bet. Especially at night when her thumb is her soother, but she has not given in. I found her one morning with it in her mouth, and when she woke up and realized where it was she immediately started to cry. She was disappointed about a bump in her journey to reaching her goal. She felt that all her hard work was lost, but I explained to her that obviously she wasn't aware that it was there and she should continue on. She has done exactly that, and she has done so well. I am so proud of her. I know just how hard it is to stop a habit like this. I have also learned so much. I have learned more about Lou, and how to assist her in reaching her goals. She has responded so well to the positive feedback that we have consistently given each day about her excellent choice to do this on her own and the strength she has displayed in doing it. She soaks it up, and it adds to her resistant will to do what she has set her mind on doing. There is power in the positive and I have learned how to work with Lou rather than against her. I have also learned that if I'm going to expect big things of Lou then I need to expect big things of myself. I have a few habits of my own that could use some work and Lou has inspired me to work on them. I already know from my own experience that the mind is a powerful thing. Mind over matter is such a real statement. Our mind can play tricks on us, it can take us on pleasant and sometimes scary adventures while we are sleeping, and it can help us push through things we didn't think we could get through if we put the right thoughts into it. I know this from personal experience yet I have become lazy, and Lou has reminded me just how powerful the mind can be. There is also power in support, and I'm so happy to help fuel that for Lou. I love watching her be successful, and she is so good at it! I'm proud of her decision and the way she has worked toward her goal. I am proud of her example and her quiet determination. It hasn't been easy, but she has made it seem that way. She is a powerful girl that Lou, and she is my girl. Thumbs up lady. You did awesome!


Bobbidee said...[Reply to comment]

Way to go Lou! You will be happy your whole life about that choice! That is awesome. :) Cute pics too!

Shan said...[Reply to comment]

That's awesome Lou!! I am amazed she did it..she just set her mind to it..that is great!

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