Dear Stranger, It’s not ok to take my son’s fingers out of his mouth.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the end of 2016. Do you know what this means?
It means it’s a crazy, crazy world we live in at the moment, and one where you do not touch other people’s children!
So my son sucks his fingers. Not just any fingers, I’ll have you know. It’s the index and middle finger of his left hand. It’s always those, and yes, it’s not just one, but two!
What is it to you, exactly?
What makes you think that’s it’s ok to physically grab his fingers and take them out of his mouth?
And what makes you think that it’s ok to make funny comments and remarks about him, pretending that you’re talking to him, when, really, I know you’re talking to me.
It’s not ok to take my son’s fingers out of his mouth.
Yes, we did try and offer a dummy when he was little, but he wasn’t interested, and you know what? I’m kind of glad he wasn’t anyway.
And no, I didn’t show him how to do this. The Husband didn’t show him how to do this. And his brothers didn’t show him how to do this. Like we didn’t show him to grab and cuddle people’s hair (or his own) with his right hand.
It’s just how he is. This is him. This is how he’s made, and how he’s wired.
And no, there’s nothing wrong with his fingers or nails. They look fine. And so does his palate, thank you for your concern. We’ll keep this monitored if we have to.
It’s his comfort thing.
He does it when he’s tired or sleepy and wants to put himself to sleep. So yes, for a little one, this is often at the moment. He does it when he’s not sure, or surrounded by strangers or in new places. And maybe when he’s bored.
So, tell me, how would you feel if, when you’re feeling tired or unsure and uncomfortable, someone came along and snatched your comfort away from you? Would it feel nice? Would it be fair? Why would they do that anyway?
If I don’t do something now, he’ll carry on doing it forever, you say?
Somehow I strongly doubt that he’ll be 30 and sitting at his desk (or wherever his workplace will be) and still suck his fingers. But if he still feels like doing it at 30, I’m sure the years of practice will have showed him how a lot of people seem to have a problem with this, and sadly, that will have made him curb his behaviour a little. He will have learnt how to handle it, I’m sure. And that’s if my future 30-year old son still sucks his fingers, mind you.
Either or, it’s not your place to decide whether he should or shouldn’t do this. It’s not your place to decide whether it’s safe, healthy, acceptable or appropriate. It’s just not your decision to make.
And it’s not for you to touch him and interfere with any part of his body without his consent, or mine. It’s not right. If someone did this to you, you’d be on your way to the police right now.
So please, next time you see my son with his fingers in his mouth, think about these things before you make any comments. And most importantly, please don’t take his fingers out of his mouth.
Don’t take his comfort away from him.
He’s done nothing to you – he’s only a boy, and he doesn’t deserve it. We didn’t come out today so that you could come and upset him.
So, please don’t do this again.
It’s NOT OK to take his fingers out of his mouth.