Stockholm Syndrome, infant version

I’m sick, the baby’s sick, the dog’s sick. It looks like the toddler’s en route to getting sick with what I’m trying to kick, which I have because she gave it to me months ago. But worst of all, the computer’s sick! The horror, the horror! ‘Til it’s well again, I’ve had to encamp at a lesser machine, which has greatly hampered the doctoring and online conveying of both prose and photgraphic images. Production will pick up once a dent has been made in any of the above maladies, especially the computer one. Production will also pick up when I can type with more than one hand.

Let me explain.

We only have two kids, so my survey sample size is a little skimpy. (Not that this should deter me: when has inadequate data ever stopped anyone from drawing sweeping conclusions about physiology, psychology, and the like?)  I’m now ready to say there are two kinds of infants: oral-obsessives, and oral couldn’t care less-ives.  In other words, the binkie-bound, and the rest of them.

Just a scant month into his life on the outside and we’re pretty sure that kid#2 is binkie-bound.  He’s fussy, he’s agitated, and then you give him the finger.  He sets his eyes off in the distance for a moment as he registers what it is, then he pulls it in with the vacuum force of a jet engine’s turbofan. And he’s off a-suckin’ to his heart’s content. Nothing will bother him: not the pokey fingers of the big sister; not the pelting down upon him of spit-up rags, slipping as they inexorably do from our shoulders onto his face; not the flinging of his head hither and thither, like a rear-view window bobble-head doll*, as we feebly try to haul him around through the day’s domestic necessities.

Kid#1 could take or leave the finger; mostly she left it. Not a milk-bearing teat? Not interested. But this guy: he’s clearly going to be a lollipop-sucker, a pencil-nibbler, a toothpick-shredder, and a (let’s hope only bubble-gum) cigar-chewer. Yep, it’s plain to see he’s orally fixated, like his ma. (The beloved has found, strictly based on anecdotal research, that most of her opera singer colleagues are orally fixated; maybe this bodes well for his musical future.)

At first, his pinkie-lovin’ was a thrill. The obvious upside of it is that there’s something related to my body which I can procure and apply, to ease his worried mind. I wasn’t able to provide anything of the sort for the lil’ monkey. Someday when I’ve really lost all sense of decorum I may regale you with the tale of what I did try to do, once — just once! — when I was desparate after an hour-long crying jag and no Mama in sight to calm her. It didn’t work, people. But I had to try. I feel a little awkward about it still, though it does provide a point of positive connection to menfolk who think that if only they could, they would, etc., and all would be well. O, but I’ve said too much already.

Back to Stockholm Syndrome, infant version. Of course the downside of his pinkie-lovin’ is that once the digit is inserted, it’s pretty much stuck there, ’til long after he’s drifted off to sleep. So long as the pinkie’s attached to my hand, and my hand’s attached to me, I’m hostage to him. And yet every pinkie-sucking minute is making me love him more. It’s a pernicious cycle and I don’t see myself doing anything about it anytime soon.

*[Want to shock and amaze your friends? Get them their own bobble-head doll of their kid as a gift! Can this really be possible? See for yourself.]

14 thoughts on “Stockholm Syndrome, infant version”

  1. I don’t even have a clever comment. I’ve read the post a couple times today, and it (and pix of course) just makes me smile. I have an online friend who just got a new kitten and between the two of you, the cute is killin’ me.

    And, welcome to the ranks of the orally fixated, kid#2. We’re a big-tent party.

  2. Noah was a committed finger-sucker, but he never developed an interest in the binky — no brand, no shape, no flavor could compare to a finger. After my index finger returned to work, along with the rest of my body, he used his own, 7 or 8 at once if highly agitated. Now that his fingers have grown more than his mouth, 3 or 4 usually meet the need, occasionally 5.

    I love the way you didn’t tell the “once and only once” story. Hope everyone, including the computer, feels better soon.

  3. Our oldest was and still is a very oral kid. EVERYTHING went in his mouth. I always wondered what kind of child actually sticks their tongue to a frozen pole and, now, I know it is not the dull child but the oral child. Interestingly, he is quite a singer so maybe there is something to that. Our second is not oral in the same way but she did love to suck and we gave her a pacifier. I know…there’s all sort of stuff out there about the evils of the paci but we did it anyway. She loved it. Of course, coming off the paci is hell.

  4. Yep, I spent about two month with my pinky in Little Man’s mouth. Then I sought liberation and opted for the binky, which he gave up (with some assistance) on his 3rd birthday. Another orally fixated boy here too.
    [t-shirt photo taken, soon to be sent]

  5. Thank you for the comiseration, my comrades-in-pinkies, Liza, Vikki, and FKM! So it looks like, from Liza’s experience, he may not take to Product. But if he does: what do you think, Vikki, FKM, and the rest of you: To Paci, or Not To Paci? That is my question. Will we be prying it out of his mouth with a crowbar one day? While he, a strapping lad of thirteen, flips and pins us with his fancy wrestling moves he’s learned in gym class?

  6. Oh, and Liza: thank you for the well-wishing. I’m off to see my beloved’s TCM Dr. again today, for some more narsty herbs to boil and drink (bleackh!). And I think it’s a memory issue on the computer (that would be the easiest to remedy). How fitting. A memory issue. When sleep deprivation has me forgetting to finish the simplest of

  7. We used the paci with both of our kids. My son (now almost 6)liked it but was not an addict. We ditched it around 9 months. My daughter (who turns 2 next Sunday) LOVED it. I swear…it was baby crack to her. We used it mostly for naps, car rides, bedtime and if she was particularly sad when sick. It worked great for her and presented no real issues for us. When she moved into the toddler classroom at daycare last summer, we stopped giving her the paci at naps. She adapted pretty well to that. Then, two weeks ago, we got rid of it altogether because she was starting to demand it all the time. She was very sad for several days and slept with us a bit more than usual during that time. She survived though and hasn’t really asked for it since then.

    For the record, I had mine until I was *cough* 5. I like to think I turned out fine – ha ha!

  8. *Cough* the beloved reports that she kicked the binkie at around the same age. Took up with the cigarettes probably at 13. Ooops. She did kick those things a few months after meeting me, once it was clear she had to choose between the nicotine or the Baba of her children. And I will not — no I will not! — make any untoward remarks about what, exactly, she substituted for the cigarettes.

  9. And I will not — no I will not! — make any untoward remarks about what, exactly, she substituted for the cigarettes.

    I think most of us here are quite fluent with subtext

  10. Great blog!

    So what do you call this one? I have an orally fixated little one, but neither binkie nor pinky will do. This one here is a teet man, milk or no milk, day or night!!

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