It has come to this. DD5 must stop sucking her thumb. Our dentist informed me at the last appointment that her nasty habit has begun to change the shape of her mouth. As a result, her tongue protrudes from behind her teeth in a serpentine manner so that she can pronounce her words.
I have approached this problem from many different angles — positive reinforcement, reverse psychology, displays of disapproval for non-compliance, praise for compliance, empty threats, and bribery. All have failed, and I am discouraged as my options diminish. Nevertheless, I persist in my belief that there must be something to capture DD5’s heart and persuade her to give up her unbecoming ways.
Finding an answer to my quandary has been at the front of my mind for weeks. This morning is no different, and I consider the situation as I open my e-mail. Scrolling my inbox screen, I come across an unfamiliar address with an intriguing subject line.
The sender is a social media analyst. The note tells me that as a result of extensive research, I was selected to receive a sample box of one of Disney’s products to hit the store shelves — The Princess and the Frog band-aids. As I read further, I learn that my voracious appetite for Disney and my passion for incorporating the brand into everyday life impressed the band-aid marketers so much that I was deemed worthy to snag some of these first-aid necessities before public release.
“Tremendous!” I exclaim even though no one is listening. This may be the very thing I’ve been waiting to discover. I quickly respond to the generous band-aid givers, reaffirming that I am — indeed — worthy of the gift they wish to bestow and will put it to very practical use in my Disney-focused family. With that I devise a clever scheme to motivate my little one to forsake her infantile habit using nothing less than Disney magic.
A couple weeks later, a box arrives. Never ones to ignore the arrival of mysterious packages, my three young treasure-seekers gather around whilst I bring in the non-descript box. “What is it?” they all cry. “You’ll see,” I remark in a teasing voice.
I ceremoniously pull out the small box of Johnson and Johnson adhesives from the packing paper. “Oooh!” my girls admire. “Band-aids?” DS7 questions with disappointment. I reply, “These are not just any band-aids. These are The Princess and the Frog band-aids, and they are for DD5. DD5, let’s go sit on the couch and talk about them.”
Not only does DD5 follow me to our sitting area but my other kiddos do as well. They are not sure why DD5 has been blessed with these boo-boo busters, but they want to find out.
“DD5, you are such a big girl now. In fact, you are just about the age when girls become princesses,” I explain. DD5’s eyes light up. I continue, “However, there are some things you must know before you can become a princess.” “What is it?” DD5 asks in a whisper.
She is taken in by the mystique of the moment.
“The primary thing,” I state, “is that princesses do not suck their thumbs. Do you know why?” DD5 shakes her head. I suggest, “It is because it makes their teeth stick out, and it makes them talk funny. You don’t want that to happen to you, do you?” DD5 shakes her head again. “Well,” I continue, “that is why we have these magical band-aids. You see, this is Princess Tiana. She is . . .” “Disney’s newest princess,” DS7 interupts in a bored voice. I gather from his unenthusiastic tone that he is slightly irritated by the Disney website’s current emphasis on another princess as opposed to his favorites, Phineas and Ferb.
“Yes,” I agree while I try to maintain an excited atmosphere despite DS7’s cranky demeanor. “Tiana is a beautiful princess who makes a bad choice. She kisses a frog, and because of her bad choice she becomes an ugly frog for awhile.” “Actually Mom,” DD9 interjects, “Tiana is a hard-working girl who is trying to save up money to open a restaurant. She does kiss a frog, but it’s not because of a bad choice. She takes pity on the Prince Naveen, who was turned into a frog, and is trying to help him become human again even though kissing a frog is gross.”
DD9 is correct in her assessment. It is obvious that my NDKs are more up-to-date on Disney developments than I’d anticipated. Normally this would thrill any NDM, but on this occasion it is interfering with my clever scheme. I need to steer the conversation back into focus.
“That is right,” I retort. “But it is always a bad choice to kiss a frog. It simply isn’t sanitary, and there were consequences. After all, it turned Tiana into a frog! DD5, you don’t want to become like an ugly frog by making the bad choice to keep sucking your thumb. Do you?” DD5 considers my words of wisdom, but decides to express some of her own. “Well, Tiana is a pretty frog.” This isn’t turning out to be as simple as it was in my mind’s eye.
“She is a pretty frog,” I concede, “but she’s still a frog. She’s not a princess while she’s a frog. You want to be a princess, and Tiana wants you to be a princess. She sent me these magical band-aids to help you become one. Everyday we are going to put a magical band-aid on your thumb. This will keep your thumb out of your mouth. Then when you grow up your teeth won’t stick out, you won’t talk funny, and you’ll be very beautiful . . . just like a princess—not like a frog.”
“Mom,” DD9 condescends, “The Princess and the Frog isn’t about being beautiful. In fact, it is about the opposite. The point is that it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside than it is to be beautiful on the outside.” I sigh in frustration. Will I ever regain control of this scene? I always encourage my brood to seek out the moral value in Disney films and ponder its practical application in life, but this is the one time when a superficial theme would be of more assistance.
Exasperated, I exclaim, “Alright! But in the end she is still a beautiful princess! DD5, don’t you want to be a beautiful princess?” Enthusiastically DD5 nods her head in agreement. “OK,” I say with relief, “Tomorrow we will begin our magical princess training. When you wake up from your beauty sleep, we will put a magical Tiana band-aid on your thumb. This should do the trick. In a few weeks you won’t suck your thumb anymore. You’ll be a definite princess and avoid any future likeness to amphibian creatures.”
Satisfied with this arrangement, DD5 leaves my side with great anticipation of what the morning will bring. I am left alone on the sofa, reflecting on the difficulty I encountered in just introducing my Princess Plan. Hopefully, the institution of it will go more smoothly.
*Products supplied by Band-Aid® for review*