October 15th, 2010

Bitter Thumbs Down

Kate Chretien

My kids are still in that naïve, blissful state of being where a visit to the Dentist means a date with Mr. Tooth Tickle Head, a sticker, and a treat from the toy treasure chest. They know not of novocaine harpoons, fat, numb lips, and bloody drool. Even though I occasionally dangle threats of The Drill in front of them to make them comply with tooth brushing, this really means nothing to them. They are impervious.  So, it is always kind of sad-amusing for me to hear their cheers of “Dentist! Dentist!” whenever 6 months rolls around. They have no idea. (I, on the other hand, had probably 10 cavities by age 6 and let’s just say that my relationship with the Dentist was a tad cool.)

Our most recent visit was much of the same. Luke and Elise were psyched.  Too psyched.

When the dentist came around to do the cavity search, I braced myself for the end of all things happy and jolly. It’s not that I’m a pessimist, just keeping it real, folks.

But, score! No cavities! Neither child! I was just about ready to pat myself on the back when the dentist brought over a piece of paper to me.

“Does Luke still suck his thumb?” she asked.

“Yes!” I said a little too enthusiastically. What? The boy has THE most adorable pose where he sucks the thumb of one hand while the other hand holds onto a tuft of hair on top of his head. Imagine a cute baby chimapanzee in a baby bonnet (before it grows up to be an insolent adolescent chimapanzee who throws banana cream pies at strangers’ faces). Anyway, Luke has done this since he was a baby and we have a family joke that it’s his signature pose.

“We want him to stop that by the time he’s 3,” Dentist says, noting the slight (read: imperceptible, not Bucky McDucky) protrusion of his upper front teeth. “This could help.” She thrusts the paper towards me which I now see is a description of a product which you put on your child’s thumb to make it taste bitter.

All I could think about was how cruel this all seemed. Really? Surely, he’d grow out of it soon, and bitter thumbs…well, it just seemed a bit much.

Driving home, every time I glanced in the rear view mirror at Luke, he was poised, thumb in mouth, other hand on top of head.  It was achingly sweet -a vestige of babydom.

At home, I shoved that piece of paper, that of bitter thumbs, in the bottom desk drawer (where papers and instruction manuals go to die) for safe-keeping.

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We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)