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January 5, 2011


Yesterday may have been the happiest day in my little boy’s life—and the proudest moment in my life as a parent.

After three months and two weeks, the boy found his thumb.

Since the first days of his young life, he’s been trying to get some part of his hand in his mouth.  Often he succeeds in getting the whole hand in there, but that’s rather messy and, it seems, not entirely satisfying.

Side note:  It’s amazing how much of a baby’s hand can fit in a baby’s mouth.  The proportions must change over time, because he has prompted John, me, and more of our friends and family than we may like to admit to try the same thing.  And it ain’t easy.

But the little one has prevailed.  And victory is sweet.

The thumb is such a novelty that yesterday he took four naps, each time falling asleep of his own accord, in his crib, faithful monkey-head-on-a-blanket guy in hand.  He even distracted himself from eating—which, if you’ve seen the size of him these days, is quite a feat.  Perhaps the advent of the thumb means the big man is on the verge of slimming down.

In the parenting world, there’s great controversy as to whether it’s okay for babies to suck their thumbs.  Each camp has its justifications: You can take a pacifier away when it’s time (when is that?). . . . A thumb is always there for self-soothing. . . . Thumb-sucking is bad for his teeth. . . . It goes on and on.

It could be the naiveté of a new mother (and one who didn’t suck a thumb herself), but the way I see it, the boy’s either going to do it or he’s not.  He’s been looking to get his hands in his mouth for literally his whole life, and at this point, it’s not something I have control over.  Sometimes you just need to let the kid be himself.

I may be over-extending the comparison, but in a world that asks kids to grow up much too quickly, I can’t see the harm in letting a three-month-old baby suck his thumb.  When it gets embarrassing or truly dangerous for him, we’ll do what we can to help him stop, or maybe he’ll simply stop on his own.  As for now, I believe sucking a thumb is just part of being a baby. And a mighty good part, if you ask Jacob.

For weeks, we’ve been cheering the little guy on to get just his thumb into his mouth.  And now he’s finally done it.  While this is our proudest moment as parents thus far, it thrills me to think of what’s to come.

Victory, victory, that’s our cry!
Jacob, Jacob, are you here?
Jacob, Jacob, do our cheer!

  1. Baby Pickel says:

    Too precious!! Oh my!!

    Hugs, Camille

  2. […] wrote a few weeks ago about the magnificent moment when Jacob figured out how to put his thumb—just his thumb, not his whole fist—into his mouth.  Since then, we’ve learned that not only […]

  3. […] him suck his thumb.  It still feels like a giant victory to me when he gets just his thumb in his mouth.  It’s like a glimpse into the future, too—I […]

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