we’ve known for a while that joel was going to be a thumb sucker. seems like ever since he first accidentally stuck his fist near his mouth, his main goal in life has been figuring out how to get it back and keep it there. like all babies, he clearly loves the boob, so much so that he doubled in size after two months of life, has five chins, and a lot of jiggly cellulite. we, and especially i, have known that all of our lives were going to get much easier after he figured out how to get his thumb in and keep it there. it’s been a long month and a half or so. i tried to offer pacifiers, but every time, he cringed like i was stuffing poison in his mouth, and pushed it back out with his tongue. “this is a baby thing, joel, i swear. babies do this,” i would try to convince him. but he never believed me and kept at the thumb wars, grunting and struggling to get his hand to his mouth, crying like a…well, a baby, when it would fly back out and disappear.
greg and i always give voices to our pets and kids that are non verbal and create a lot of inside jokes using them. it’s one of the ways we keep sanity in our house. a lot of laughter. ruth’s was cutting and quippy to go along with her almost constant scowl and stone-cold gaze she would level at everyone. joel’s started out being a bit like ruth’s but quickly changed to fit his more straight-forward, easy demeanor. we solidified it one day on our drive home from vacation. we had to pull over and feed him at one point and he latched on only to accidentally fall off after a few minutes, still thinking he had it, making humorous lip-smacking sounds. greg said, for joel, “i lotht my thuckthun,” in such a way that i actually peed my pants (damn loosened baby-pushing-out muscles) . since then, joel’s voice has been a lisp and mostly preoccupied with his “thuckthun” (suction).
i think it’s great. if he can suck on something other than my breast and be happy, then i’m happy. he even puts himself to sleep with it, something ruth never did. she always needed to be breast fed to sleep. so, i’m overjoyed.
i know that not everyone shares this joy. my grandmother, joel’s great grandmother, was holding him yesterday and actually pulled his thumb from his mouth. he instantly started crying and i had to resist the urge to jump up, exclaim, “what are you doing?? are you crazy?? give him his suction!!!!” and stick it back in there. i took a breath and remained calm, however. then i quickly had to take him from her because he “got fussy” (duh). would you believe that older generations actually think it is a bad thing for kids to suck their thumbs? i mean, i guess, if in ten years he’s still doing it, i might feel differently, but right now, it’s like gold to me. a precious, precious commodity.
what does freud have to say about all this? that joel will be forever stuck in the oral phase of his life, will quickly become addicted to over-eating and cigarettes and talking too much as an adult because he never leaped the hurdle of his oral stage? well, all i can say is…i don’t have anything intellectual to say. fuck off, freud. mind your own beeswax.
joel is captain suction. like i said, there’s always gastric bypass surgery, liposuction, and richard simons videos, nicotine patches and therapy for later in life. right now, it’s clear sailing on a boat called the s.s. thuckthun.