As a participant in the “Far From Normal” world, I needed a source of security. Since I had no special blanket and since Mother wasn’t known for providing a source of security, I was left to my own devices. Since I knew it had to be something that was always with me, I chose my thumb. It was something that I could turn to if Mother was on one of her rages, which meant most days. I especially loved my thumb when it was cold outside and I would lay by the heating vent, get it all warmed up and stick it in my mouth.
Mother made fun of me. No surprise there. She said my teeth would be crooked (on that count, she was right.) Our neighbor, who made the Rice Krispie Treats for her daughters, used hot pepper sauce on her daughter’s thumb. When that didn’t work, she tried tying a bedspring on her daughter’s thumb before bed. Eventually she convinced her daughter to stop sucking her thumb. Mother, on the other hand, used her most frequent weapons: verbal assault and demeaning comments.
I could have cared less. I could tune out the negativity and instead heard, “Blah, blah, blah, blah.”
I finally decided to quit, cold turkey. Kind of like smokers sometimes do. But the damage was done. My front teeth were as crooked as they could be. Off to the orthodontist I went and surprise, the dreaded braces for my birthday, after a series of painful pulling of permanent teeth. Mother said:
See. That’s what happens when you ignore me. If you’d only listen to me. Do you know how painful this is going to be? Your mouth will hurt and your gums will bleed. Well, that’s the price you pay for doing something stupid!
Again, let’s hear it for the support shown by a loving parent.
My teeth are now straight and I no longer need to suck my thumb. I’d much rather find security with my loving family and a big bag of chocolates any day.