Sarah R. Callender

Tube Sock

In Parenting on August 24, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Every time I take the kids for their routine teeth-cleaning, the dentist asks me if Sweetie has a thumb-sucking habit. And every time I say, “Why, yes. She does.”

And then the dentist suggests we try a rewards chart as a means of ending this nasty habit. So I nod and smile, as I always do, knowing that with my kids, rewards charts go over about as well as an okra milkshake. “Oh, good idea!” I tell him. “We’ll try a rewards chart!”

And then he always adds, “Of course, you can also try duct taping a tube sock to her wrist so she won’t suck her thumb.” He demonstrates using mime gestures as if I don’t speak English, as if he hasn’t told me about this New Idea during every appointment since Sweetie turned three. “Just make a little duct tape bracelet around her wrist, like this, to keep the sock on.”

So I just keep smiling that bullshooty smile, all the while thinking (very loud in my head) there’s no way in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks I am DUCT TAPING anything to my daughter, partly because it sounds mean, partly because it sounds dangerous and of course partly because I am not interested in adding any additional fodder for future therapy sessions. Even if adding the word “bracelet” to the end of the term “duct tape” does make it seem slightly more feminine and pretty.

BUT today, on the way home from the visit with Dr. Bondage, Sweetie announced that she would like to try the “taping the sock to her hand” thing.

“Really?” I asked. “You’re sure? You really don’t have to unless YOU want to . . . you know that, don’t you?”

Sure, Sweetie nodded. But you know what? I’m not taking any chances. I am crafting an affidavit that I’ll have Sweetie sign with her backwards capital letters, an affidavit that will absolve me of all guilt.

Then I will produce this affidavit in triplicate, saving one for me and one for Sweetie and putting them both in the fire-proof safe where we keep all of our important documents.

The third copy I will seal in an envelope marked Sweetie’s Therapist.

And now, off I go to find some of husbandio’s old tube socks. And some duct tape. Sweetie has requested pink or purple.

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  1. I have a 3-year-old with a finger-sucking problem and I just might try The Tube-Sock Solution. I grew up in small-town, northern Wisconsin, so the whole duct-tape thing doesn’t carry the same scary connotations as it does for you.

  2. Um, Sarah, I sucked my thumb until I was 11. Yes, ELEVEN. (Blushes uncomfortably.) My parents tried a couple of tricks but I had to decide on my own. Hopefully Sweetie has decided to do that now. If not, it will be Some Day and she will be fine. Yes, I did need braces, but so did my non-thumb-sucking brothers. Anyway, best of luck with restrictive jewelry!

  3. Is it possible that pediatric health professionals have never observed real children in a real home environment? I took The Squish in for his first dental appointment at age 18 months (oops, my bad, Doc.), and was rewarded with balloon animals. Um…? As if some colorful, inflated rubber were to actually discourage Bruiser (his more appropriate nickname) from throwing a helluva fit when they shoved a toothbrush in his mouth.

  4. our kids must go to the same dr. bondage. i get word for word the same talk about “vigorous thumb sucker” gunnar. and every 6 months for 4 years now (just make a note in our chart already) i politely remind him that i’m the mom that even in middle school couldn’t go to sleep w/out sucking my thumb, and i’m not really into his “interventions”. we can deal with the consequences later (i myself never had ortho) b/c for now it’s the thing that has always made gunnar my best sleeper. he’ll stop when he’s ready. and all that “appliance” talk doesn’t scare me either!

  5. OMG, I have a thumb sucker. can’t wait to hear if it works!

  6. I have a friend who’s daughter sucked on her fingers for a long time! My friend tried everything on her daughter to get her to stop. During one of their routine trips to the dentist, her daughter overheard that she would have to have major surgery, etc. if she continued to suck on her fingers. That was it. It ended that very day!

  7. oh sarah, that makes me think of all the times that she and phanty were passed out in my backseat…thumb in mouth. miss you all so much.

  8. “And now, off I go to find some of husbandio’s old tube socks.”

    I’m thinking that if you want to mitigate any future therapy, you should go buy some new, clean socks.

  9. I LOVE how the links that automatically come up on your page are all for TUBE SOCK companies! How convenient!

  10. Just seeing the title of this post made me shudder because tube socks have a very, ah, unusual connotation for me. I will not inflict it upon your unsuspecting readers, but remind me the next time we talk because, I promise, it is beyond the pale. In other news, I saw a bumper sticker today that reminded me fondly of you: WTFWJD. 😉

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