As previously mentioned Eli had a bad a habit of sucking his fingers.
I decided he was just too old and that he needed to stop. I would talk to him about it and tell him that he needed to stop. Well, about 2 months before he turned four he told me he would stop sucking them when he turned four. I decided to let it go, and see if he really would. Well, his fourth birthday came and went and he continued to suck. I decided I better get serious and do some serious bribing.
We told him he could earn toys, money, dates with mom and dad, a trip to Chuckee E Cheese, and I even told him we could go to Florida (we were already planning on going) if he would stop sucking for a week. NOTHING worked. None of it seemed worth giving up his habit.
A few weeks ago we were cleaning his room and he was putting a bear on his bed that my parents made for him at the Vermont Bear factory (it's like Build-a-Bear) I told him that Grandma and Grandpa made it for him. He of course asked, "how?" (I have never taken him to a Build-a-Bear, I figured that was a store we would stay away from as long as possible). I explained to him that there are stores that you can make bears. He seemed totally intrigued.
Then I had a brilliant idea!!
I asked Eli if he wanted to go to one of those stores and make his own bear. He said, "yes." I said, "If you don't suck your fingers for a week we will go pick out any bear you want." He didn't really say he would stop, but he seemed to be thinking about it.
The next day we just happen to be at the mall. We were walking past Build-a-Bear and so I took him in to show him what it was all about.
He was totally FASCINATED!! He loved the machine that put the stuffing in. We sat and watched 3 bears be filled. I then showed him the outfits and showed him the bins with the limp animals.
That night he stopped sucking! It was a miracle. He literally stopped sucking that day! Occasionally I would catch him in the middle of the night sucking them in his sleep, but when he was awake he rarely sucked them. And usually if he would start to suck, he would take them out himself and say, "mom, I was going to suck my fingers, but I stopped because I want a Build-a-Bear."
Sure enough he went a whole week with pretty much no sucking. (It was actually a week and a half, because we couldn't get there until then. Good thing he doesn't know the difference between 7 days and 10 days).
So of course I kept my end of the bargain and we had a fun little outing to Build-a-Bear. I realized how much like me he is in his decision making skills. He had the hardest time picking out a bear. For days before we went he told me that he wanted the Koala Bear. But once we got there he picked up the Koala started walking toward the machine, then put it back, grabbed the monkey, started walking toward the machine, then changed his mind, went back for the Koala, then changed his mind again. We did this about 4 times. Finally, he made the big decision and stuck with it. The Koala won! ( I was glad because it was actually one of the cheapest ones).
He was in heaven. Although in the pictures he looks so serious he really was so excited. (He's also like me in this regard, as we don't get outwardly excited even though we could be having the times of our lives).
He named him Zupter (don't know where that came from) and picked out some shorts and a camo tent.
When we were done I told him that because he had accomplished such a big task(breaking his habit, not building a bear) he could also pick out where we could eat for dinner. He chose Cafe Rio. Now that is my kind of kid. I was nervous he was going to say he just wanted Frosted Flakes (what he chose for his Birthday dinner).
He now doesn't even suck his fingers in his sleep. I am so excited. It was almost too easy.
Who knew a little stuffed Koala would cure a 4 year old from sucking his fingers?