Friday, January 29, 2010

Binky vs. Thumb Sucking

I have been thinking about this debate for 2 years now: Binky vs. Thumb Sucking. Chloe was a binky girl and took a pacifer from day one and never looked back. She was obsessed with it and we tried "quitting" the binky multiple times after age one and finally quit it cold turkey at age two.

Mitch took a binky from the day he was born as well and was a great binky boy until about 3 or 4 months old, when he wouldn't keep it in anymore and didn't want it. He had other plans in mind and at 6 months old, he picked up thumb sucking and is just as obsessed with his thumb(s) as Chloe was with her binky.

When the twins were born I was very curious to see what they would be: binky babes or thumb sucking sisters?

Alexis took a binky like a pro from day one. Leah was whisked off to the NICU so quickly that we didn't really get to tell with her right away. They would try to give her binkies in the NICU, but she was so sedated and sleepy most of the time that she didn't really need one or have the energy to take one. When she got released from the hospital and home with us, I tried her on the binky with little success. She could only keep the binky in if it was held in by an adult, but she would take it. Almost 4 months later, that is still the same for her- she'll only keep it in with lots of forcing and if we hold it in for her (with much pretend choking and sometimes crying and protests). Alexis is still a champ with the binky and has such a powerful suck that she can keep it in all by herself.

But just in the last month or so, Alexis has also taken up another hobby- thumb sucking!

99% of the time it is her left thumb. Mitchell had no preference and sucked (sucks) both avidly.
Here is Lexi just a few days old, sucking her thumb. She popped it in all by herself (the left one, of course) and we thought it was cute and snapped a picture.

I really didn't think it would be a sign of things to come.

So now that I have had a binky girl, a thumb boy and now a girl that takes both, I have really been debating about which method is better. There are pro's and con's to both, really.

*On a lot of children, you can force the binky on them and make them become binky kids (notice I said some kids, not all)

*You can take them away at will whenever you don't want your kids to have them.

*You can often quiet down a fussy child in seconds by shoving it in their mouths.

*You can often put a baby to sleep in seconds by popping it in their mouth.

*Kids with binkies are happy kids, let's be honest- binkies are easy ways to pacify and calm them down.


*When children are little, you have to keep putting the binky back in for them every time it falls out

*They get lost easily

*You have to buy them! Not outrageously expensive, but when they get lost, broken or when it's time to buy the new size, it can add up quickly.

*If you forget one when you go out or go on vacation, life can be miserable!

*They can get dropped and dirty and broken

*Breaking a child of a binky habit can be a difficult, emotional and drawn out experience (child quits napping, quits sleeping at night, cranky, etc. Not pleasant).

*Binkies are not always so cute, especially on older children and especially when a child tries to talk with it in their mouth.


*You never have to remember to take it with you when you're out or on vacation- they always have it with them.

*Thumbs never get lost (or broken, really).

*The child can put the thumb in their mouth on their own at any age (especially useful in young babies and in the middle of the night).

*Thumbs are very soothing and pacifying to a child.

*Very cute when a child is young (especially tiny babies).


*You can't force a child to take a thumb, or even force a thumbsucker to put his thumb in his mouth.

*Thumb sucking is not so cute when a child is older... kind of gross past a certain age.

*The thumbs get wet, slimy and shriveled.

*The thumb can get dirty by touching yucky things at home and in public and you watch in horror as your child, after thoroughly touching every unsanitary thing in sight, pops that thumb in his mouth.

*When you want to "quit" the thumb, you can't take it away. Thumb sucking is a hard habit to break, I hear. Extreme measures have to be taken in order to convince the child to stop sucking it. No pretending it is lost, broken or going to the binky fairy... the child is the ultimate boss and either has to decide on his/her own to stop sucking or the child has to be old enough to (somehow) convince them to stop.

Lexi the binky girl

Mitchell a few months old- a good binky boy at the time

Mitch the avid thumbsucker, 8 months old in this shot

9 months old

11 months old- still in the grace period of thumb sucking being cute (or maybe it's cute because he's MY boy).

1 year old

2 years old

Lex and her HUGE binky, 1 week old

So with having had both kinds of kids and one who is doing both really well, I am still undecided on which method is best overall. With Alexis doing both, I find that I am pushing the binky on her without even realizing it. Maybe, subconsciously, I want her to be a binky girl because I can take that away when I want and we can be done with it when I choose- there is an end in sight with binkies! But as the above video show, she sure makes a cute thumb sucker!

And just maybe she will be a binky girl and when I decide to put an end to that she will automatically pick up thumb sucking and ruin my genius plan...

But 3 cheers to babies who will take a binky or thumb and soothe themselves. (And 3 BIG cheers to the parents who have to deal with the consequences to either!)

Friday, January 15, 2010


With all of his new found words, Mitch has yet to say his name, until just last week. When asked what his name was he would reply, "Boy." We have been working with him on "Mitchell" and the end result is "Mickel." Quite funny. I finally got some of his cute words on video. He is not at his best- he was kind of grouchy and the only way I could even get him motivated to do it was by bribing him with a treat, which he asks for in the first video ("I want treat... gum!")

At the end of the first video, I ask him who hits him, to which he immediately responds with "Chloe hit me." Now all of you can witness just how he says this phrase multiple times each day.

We love to play a game with him where we say, "I" and Mitch says "I" then we say "love" and Mitch fills in the blank with anything from "Mommy," "Daddy," "basketball" "football" or someone else's name. In the video it is "Mickel" that he loves.

In the second video he grumpily tells me the silly nicknames we use with the babies. Leah is "LJ" (I know, not very feminine, but I started using it weeks ago and it has stuck) and Alexis, besides being Lexi, Lex, and Lexis is "Lexi doodle" or "Lexi Pop."

I'll have to get more video when "Mickel" is more cooperative.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Chloe Hit Me"

As most of you know, Mitch has been in speech therapy now for 7 months. 7 months ago, we were struggling to get him to sign "more" and "please" and do anything but grunt and point. He progressed all summer in both signing and speech and this Fall he was really starting to take off. Now in just in the last month or two, his speech has exploded and he's talking in 3, 4 and even 5 word sentences like it's never been a problem.

Of course, Ben and I are thrilled with this. I know all parents always think in situations like this, "Man, I don't know why we ever wanted him to start talking- now we can't get him to be quiet!" For the most part, that is NOT true for us- we love that he can finally tell us what he wants and needs, tell us what he's thinking and feels and can say the funniest one liners that keep us laughing.

But..... there is always at least one exception to the rule. The exception in our case is that Mitchell has a favorite phrase: "Chloe hit me." Mitchell says this probably between 15-20 times a day, give or take. And those of you who know Chloe know that she doesn't really hit- if she's going to pick on you, it's going to be by screaming, yelling or bossing you around. The first few days that he started saying this all the time, it was kind of cute and funny. We were thrilled that he had come up with a new sentence and the way he said it and his body language indicated that he fully expected that Chloe would get in trouble, like he does when HE hits or misbehaves. Not good, but funny just the same.

After a few days, "Chloe hit me" was not funny anymore, not cute, but annoying. Chloe wouldn't even be in the room and he'd run up to tell me "Chloe hit me." And after a week or so of crying wolf with this exhausted phrase, it started to change into "Leah hit me," and "Papa hit me."

Even though it is getting annoying, he has cooled off saying it a bit, and it really wasn't that big of a deal- we started ignoring him when he said it and it wasn't really hurting anyone.

Well, that changed this week. Mitchell goes to a therapy playgroup twice a week with a good friend. The friend's mom comes and picks Mitchell up and takes them both to playgroup. After dropping off Mitchell yesterday after playgroup, my friend tells me, "Mitchell keeps going up to the teacher and says something like 'Mom hit me' and 'Dad hit me.' We're pretty sure he's saying 'Mom HELP me', but it kind of sounds like hit. But it's Help, right?" I was already shaking my head when she first started the story and sadly had to tell her that no, he wasn't saying Help, but that unfortunately he really was saying "Hit" like they thought it sounded most like.

The annoying little phrase heard around our house has now spread to Mitchell telling his teachers that Ben and I hit him. Awesome. So if we get a visit from CPS soon and they take Mitchell away from us, this is my version of the story. You heard it here first. I want to blame this on speech therapy, but if he hadn't learned to say it, he probably would have learned to grunt it or sign it all on his own instead. And if the judge asks us for our side of the story, I think I'm just going to look at him sadly and say, "Chloe hit me."