May 18, 2011

"I'm 5 Years Old Now"

My little boy is so.....I don't even know what word to use.  He kills me!

All the way back to babyhood AJ has had this habit of sucking his thumb and playing with my hair.  Say what you want about thumb-sucking, but let me tell you, I have been so grateful he had a way to self-soothe after my daughter who didn't.  AJ has been much easier to put down to sleep and just didn't cry as much in general.  The hair thing started sometime while nursing and it just became his thing to suck his left thumb and touch my hair with his right hand while cuddling, tired or sad.

He has never been an incessant thumb-sucker, only did it when appropriate.  He never sucked his thumb in the middle of playing nor did he try to eat around it (yes, I've seen a kid do this).  Therefore, I've always been completely fine with it and knew that he would grow out of it and stop when he was ready.  Mark, on the other hand, has not been as OK with it as I have and has said things to AJ like, "you're getting too big to keep sucking your thumb", in spite of my insistence in my confidence that it wouldn't last forever.  But that's my husband for you, has to express his opinion no matter what!

Last night as I was sitting with AJ at bedtime he showed me what a big, smart and thoughtful boy he is.  He reached out for my hair but then stopped.  I thought maybe it was because I had it tied in a bun so I asked him if he wanted to play with my hair.  He said no and I asked if he was sure.  He said, "no, I have to try not to."  I said, "you do? why?"  He said, "because I'm 5 years old now".

I said, "oh sweetie, you're such a big boy!"

And then my heart broke a little.

I have loved my cuddly little boy who would sit in my lap, suck his thumb and play with my hair.  He's been the BEST cuddler!  He had already been doing the hair thing less with me since I cut mine short last spring.  He's been playing with his sister's hair a lot since then.  Not only did he not touch my hair last night, but he also didn't suck his thumb.  I knew he would grow out of it when he was ready and until then there was nothing wrong with something that helped him feel safe and secure.

I honestly don't know whether to be sad or proud.  I guess it's both.  Aah, what's a mommy to do?

Oh, when I came downstairs and told Mark about AJ's little epiphany, he said he feels bad for saying anything to him, that he didn't really know if he should be stopping.  I of course said I told ya so.  Don't argue with maternal instinct, man!

"In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores,
child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything.
You just need a lot of love and luck - and, of course, courage."
~Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, 1986

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