Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Battle of Wounded Thumb

We've been having some sleep issues Chez Bean. It began last Saturday when I was trying to clip Sophie's fingernails and I accidentally nicked her finger. If she would just stop squirming, I could trim those little daggers of hers, but, alas, she squirms like she's got ants in her pants. Frankly, I would let them go, but she scratches herself pretty badly when I let them get too long. Yesterday, while we were down in the TV room, I looked over at her and noticed she had blood all over her ear and the side of her head from a small scratch she had inflicted on herself. It's always a fun feeling to see your child covered in blood. Which brings me back to the other day. I nicked her finger and of course it started to bleed. And bleed. And then for good measure, it bled some more. I yelled for Neil and we began "Operation Get A Bandaid On Tiny Baby Finger." There is no explaining to an 11 month old of the necessity of our actions, so she cried, squirmed, screamed, wriggled and generally made our first aid attempt extremely difficult. Three mangled Band-Aids later, we finally got a bandage jerry-rigged on her finger with the help of about four pieces of tape and we figured the worst was over.

Au contraire, mon frere.

The finger I negligently nicked was her thumb. But not just any thumb, it was her sucking thumb. She managed to get the bandage off that first night, but she has been reluctant to suck on the wounded thumb ever since. Unfortunately, she requires the use of this thumb for sleeping. So, in the intervening days, napping has been troublesome, going to bed in the evening has been fraught with difficulty and there have been multiple nighttime wakings. All of this culminated in my darling daughter waking up this morning at the unholy hour of 3:30am. I spent about a half an hour trying to figure out what might be causing her trouble. Hungry? No. Wet Diaper? No. Too cold? No. I thought she might be teething, so I gave her a nip of Tylenol. We finally decided it was just time to let her cry it out. She is already hoarse from the other cry it out attempts we've tried in the past few days, though. After an hour of listening to her ragged cries in the next room, I couldn't take it anymore and I got up with her. So we've been hanging out for the last couple of hours watching the Backyardigans while I intermittently worked on this post because she won't let me type for more than a couple of sentences before demanding my attention.

Her thumb is mostly healed now but she still refuses to suck on it and nobody is sleeping and I don't know what to do.


  1. Oh that is such a quandary. I mean, it might be good if she gets over thumbsucking, but it will include this period of mourning which could likely kill you. Does she like blankets or loveys or anything that you could get her interested in? Maybe she will transfer her ritual to something else. But, again, the adjustment period could kill you. This is a tough one. Keep us posted.

  2. Cry and drink. Is that not normal?

  3. Awh...poor Sophie. Mady won't stay still for her manicures and pedicures either. Recently, I started leaving her clipper in the car. When she falls asleep in car, i clip them before I take her into the house. The key seems to be doing it while she sleeps. Since you're still nursing, perhaps you could try it if she falls asleep during nursing session? (That's what I used to do w/Mady)

  4. I have never had a thumb sucker. In fact, my kids weren't into any comfort item until Peanut came along (she's my Linus).

    sbwaire seems to have a good idea with keeping the clippers in the car.

    As for sleepless (and aggrivating) nights: welcome to parenthood :)

  5. Awww...poor baby and poor momma!! Hang in there.

  6. Merecat - I wouldn't be opposed to the end of the thumbsucking, but I was hoping it would be a little smoother. She won't have anything to do with other loveys. :(

    Kristi - Amen, sister.

    Sara - I keep her clippers on the table next to the rocker for that very purpose, but she doesn't really doze off anymore. She is pretty much always awake enough to know that I'm trying to pull one over on her.

    M&M - What have I gotten myself into? I only signed up for the cute times: dressing her up, showing her off to family and friends, etc.

    Heather - Thanks!

  7. Hope the thumb heals quickly so she gives you a break. Poor Sophie and poor you!

  8. Oh man, that's rough! I've done the finger cutting with the nail clippers on a baby too.

    Your thumb-sucking dilemma sounds like when we finally took away our son's pacifier. It definitely affected his sleep and I thought I missed the pacifier more than he did. But he eventually got used to it and the sleep patterns resumed.

    Hope you get some good, uninterrupted sleep soon!

  9. Oh no!!!!!! A fork in the road moment. UGH - those are always stress inducing! Especially when they involve sleep.

    I used to cut the boys nails when they were asleep too. I used to cut their hair then as well. LOL

    I have no advice for where to go from here because it would be different for everyone. I can only say this could be a blessing in disguise in the quest to stop thumbsucking...especially since it's self induced. Although you have to ask yourself if you want to encourage her to use it again (to let everyone sleep) and go through this exact same thing in months, years to come.

    Good luck in whatever you choose - neither option is wrong though, especially if it's what feels right for your family.

  10. I'm so sorry. Really. Caroline is a major thumbsucker and you've just given me a glimpse of what might happen if we were in this same situation.

    Oh, I'm REALLY, REALLY sorry.

  11. Oh I wish I had some advice but I can't think of any. Cutting those fingernails is so challenging. I about cried when I made Mekhi's finger bleed he was only 7 months or so. I was truly upset. Good luck, I hope she starts sleeping again.

  12. Aww I'm so sorry for both of you. I remember how frustrating it felt to be so helpless.

    On the positive side...she may give up the thumb all'll be a painful week for you both...but then it'll be sooo worth it. I speak as the Mom of a 15 year old who sucked her thumb until she was almost 13 years old and spent 6 years in braces.

  13. Oh no not the sucking thumb!! Pickle would be a mess if this happened and she wouldn't be able to sleep either. I hope it's all healed u soon and you can get back to normal.

  14. Poor thing. It must be especially hard because it's her sucking thumb. You might want to look into those liquid "bandages" by Band-Aid. After my son mangled several cute Winnie the Pooh Band-Aids, I gave up.... Just a thought.

  15. :( Poor Bean and poor Mommy & Daddy!!

    I hope sleep returns to your humble abode in the very near future!!

    Because of the "ants in the pants" syndrome, I always clipped my kids nails when they were sleeping.

  16. Well, I'm behind on the blog reading, so I know how this one turns out. Just thought I'd mention that you have done the Bean a service. I sucked my thumb until the 4th grade, and it was pretty embarrassing.


Give me some sugar, baby!