chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

thumb…

jik in mittsThere was a well-worn copy of Dr. Spock in our bookcase, but whether my mother subscribed to his advice on other issues I don’t know. On the subject of thumb sucking, she followed her own rules.

If Dorothy’s instincts for motherhood were lacking, she nonetheless had a strong sense of right and wrong where I was concerned. Wrong was sucking my thumb; before I was a year old, my fat little hands were sheathed in mitts to prevent it.

I don’t know how long I wore them, but they didn’t work. When the mitts were removed, I sucked my thumb. Perhaps — who knows? — because of the mitts, I continued to do so for too long, until I was 7, when the bitter-tasting stuff that was swabbed onto my thumb forced me out of the habit.

By then, crooked teeth were no longer a threat but a reality and another way in which I’d failed her. She would remind me of this periodically until the braces came off my teeth when I was 14.

I sometimes wonder if Dorothy was simply following the script written by her own mother. She was deeply wounded in many ways.

Still, I can’t look at this photo without a complicated mix of anger and sorrow and compassion and nausea and tears.

2 responses to “thumb…

  1. Marsha December 18, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I sure do empathize, Judy. My baby/toddler torture was having to wear a pair of shoes with a metal brace between them every night.

  2. jik December 19, 2011 at 7:03 am

    ooooo….that sounds awful….perhaps you should write about it….;-)

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