Last night we had a roast chicken for dinner. It is not the first time. In fact, Scallywag coined the term "chicken on a bone" and generally eats it really well. He has seen Plantboy carve up the whole bird before also. Scallywag (remember, he is 6 1/2) looked at the meat curiously as I put it on his plate. "So where does the chicken come from?" This is not the first time I've answered this question.
"A chicken at a farm."
"A chicken?" His little face crumpled and I saw something come over him that never has before when I've answered this question.
"You mean a real live animal chicken?" He began to get quite hysterical. "That's just rude and mean, we don't kill animals to eat them!" He jumped up from the table, "I'm not eating." I found him a few minutes later in his bed buried under the covers. We had a long talk.
After which, my own meat didn't look as appetizing.
Patchy Pirate has earned his own place on the blog this week, however. He loves to jump on my bed and throw my pillows, hoping, no doubt, that some obliging soul will throw them back. Monday, while I was tutoring, Patchy was up to his usual raucous jumping while Plantboy entertained the baby in another room. Some minutes later Patchy came down the hall shouting, "Daddy! I found something for you!"
Patchy proudly held out a silver foil-wrapped condom.
Plantboy said, "Thanks, buddy," and quickly put the something in his pocket. I can't help but be reminded of raccoons who will pick up anything shiny and small.
So, at my house this week we've tackled the big issues--animal rights and sex ed. What are you up to?
Actually, I do need some advice about an actual three year-old issue. (Though when you read the situation, you'll probably maintain it should have been a two-year old issue.) Patchy has a blanket that he loves. No big deal, I took a tattered wubby to college. The problem is that Patchy sucks his thumb when he has the blanket. Not just sometimes, every time. (His blognym could just as easily be Pavlov.) He doesn't suck his thumb at other times. It has been this way for over a year. He also only gets his blanket at bedtime, or the occasional naptime. So it isn't like he is dragging blue-friend and thumb to Sunbeams or anything.
Still, I always said that when the potty training was done, I'd take the blanket so that we could break the thumb habit.
The reality, however, is that I'm finding the follow through very difficult. Why? We had to take a binky away from Scallywag and it was fairly traumatic. With the binky, however, he didn't really LOVE it. It was more of a sleep tool for a child that was (and still is) very oral. He gave up napping almost entirely as we adjusted to a binky-free life. This was actually a big sacrifice for his very pregnant and then post-partum mother. With Patchy, however, he really actually sees this blanket as an essential member of our family. It is such a part of our daily routine for wake up and bedtime that it is a part of us. He is my snuggler and I think the cuddliness of the blanket is as joyful to him as the thumb. (Watch this clip from 3:45 to 4:30) Besides, for this second boy who has had almost every single thing second hand, the blanket is undeniably HIS. No other person in the family is allowed to touch it without his permission.
I've talked to lots of different people about this and heard many different opinions ranging from "He'll quit when his ready! Junior sucked his thumb until he was 13!" (Loud chuckle) to "I hate thumb sucking. I think it is completely gross." I can see the long term implications--Patchy has slightly buck teeth already--and his sleeping is tied to the thumb. However, the blanket-thumb combination hasn't affected his speech (development or enunciation) at all and he is learning self-monitoring about the times of day it is okay to have his blanket.
I allowed this dear little soul to be a thumb-baby because we'd just come through months of binky/sleep issues with the first and he didn't seem to like it anyway. (My only ultrasound shot of Patchy shows him with his left thumb--the only one he likes--in his mouth.) The day he found his thumb with regularity was the day we all began sleeping well again.
Our new baby is also a thumb-baby. I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing there by allowing it to start.
So advice from you mothers of children who sucked thumbs and/or fingers? What did you do, if anything, to stop the habit? Or advice about asking a child to give up a beloved and non-offending blanket or toy?