NOTE FROM CTJ: Since I am hammering away at my manuscript like a carpenter with OCD (Oh wait… I’m a writer who actually does have OCD! Almost forgot!), I have not had time to generate new content here. I have taken it upon myself then, to hire writer Amanda Lynch (@thebookprincess on Twitter) to tell a story that has become central to our dialogs, as we often exchange banter about writing.  I met Amanda on Twitter, and I believe she exists in real life as well. If she doesn’t, and some 80-year-old prison inmate is pretending to be the mother of the above child, all I have to say is “Good job. You sure fooled me.” Amanda is a talented writer who has been working on a few books for awhile now. I expect she will be in print sometime soon. If not, she (or in the case of the 80-year-0ld prison inmate, he) is at least in print here.  You can also read Amanda’s blogs at http://semiorganicmom.blogspot.com/. Amanda and her husband Jon reside in Centreville, Virginia with their son, Bug. Amanda’s husband prefers to refer to Bug by his nickname, which is “Nicholas.” Really puts a new twist on nickname, doesn’ it? “Nicholas” eats things like oven mitts and plastic spoons and empty tubes of toothpaste and bars of Dove soap. I say the kid has pica, but in a good way, as it’s the kind of pica that makes me laugh. Enjoy the read, and please visit Amanda’s site and say hello. If Bug does not have a remote control or a lampshade in his mouth, he might even say hello back to you.

CURSES! FOILED AGAIN!:

PRELUDE TO PICA

By Amanda Lynch, Mother of Bug (“Nicholas”)

You know it’s been a bad day when the last item on your Google search history is “What to do when your child eats foil.” I never thought this was the sort of thing I’d have to deal with.  But oh, how I was wrong.

Right around the time my son hit the three-month mark, everything suddenly went in his mouth. My hand. My hair. His hands. His feet. At first, it was really cute, and when people would ask me how he was doing, I would proudly say, “Oh, Bug discovered his feet yesterday!”

This practice became much more worrisome as he got older (and faster!) and started to grab things that I had no idea he could even reach. I would walk downstairs and mildly ask my husband how exactly our child got his hands on the Wii remote.  He wouldn’t have an answer for me, and a vicious tug-of-war over the Wii remote would ensue (after all, to Bug, everything in the world is a game).

And it was really sort of cute how he would share things. Once he realized the intense joy of shoving a toy in his mouth, he would immediately try and shove it into mine. About three seconds after I would get socks on his wriggly little feet, he would promptly (and proudly) rip them off and stick one in his mouth and offer the other to me, in the hopes that I wouldn’t force him to put spit-soaked socks back on his feet. One night, he decided that under no circumstances would he be able to sleep in his crib, and so I (very exhausted and tired of making the trek between our room and his) finally stuck a pacifier in his mouth, tucked him under my arm, and brought him into bed with me and his dad around 1 a.m.  About two hours later, I awakened to find my beautiful child on all fours, grinning ear to ear, laughing manically as he desperately tried to shove his pacifier into my mouth. If nothing else, I taught the boy how to share.

So, I reminded myself that he was too young to have an oral fixation, and diligently babyproofed everything that I thought was logical. I started sweeping the floor daily (sometimes multiple times) in order to keep any potential choking hazards out of the curious claws of my infant. I offered him appropriate things to chew on (which didn’t stop him from wanting to eat my cell phone, but I figured we were making progress).

What I didn’t bank on, alas, was going to another person’s house.

Bug and I attend a Mommy group, and all of the children are around his age, some of them younger. We went on a playdate with some other moms at a friend’s house. Since her son is two months younger than mine, I figured we would be good in terms of what he would find on the floor and shove into the mouth.

I simply didn’t think it would be foil.  Oh yes, my son ate foil.

Somehow, in the thirty seconds that I didn’t have my eyes on him, Bug managed to find a piece of aluminum foil, swallow it, and then immediately start crying because it didn’t settle well with the old digestive tract. I asked him what was wrong, and I got a fairly long spiel involving lots of “Mamas,” “agoohahas,” and “Nn-nn-nns!”, which I took to mean, “Why do you keep asking me questions when you know I can’t talk yet, woman?” So I took him to change his diaper, and that was when…

…he began to spit up.

Now, my son has always been a spitter. From Day One.  He inherited it from his father.  So the first couple spit ups didn’t bother me. I simply wiped his sweet little face, which was turning redder and redder. But then he started to vomit. And vomit. And I watched in horror as it cascaded down his overalls and onto the floor, as my son continued his Linda Blair imitation. And finally, the source of all of his ails emerged: the tiny piece of tinfoil, which couldn’t have been bigger than half of a dime, showed up in the mess.

Needless to say, I was horrified, and I changed his outfit (unfortunately I didn’t have a spare one for me) and we were out of there.

At least, I thought to myself, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen at our house. I’ve babyproofed enough that he couldn’t possibly repeat this horrible fiasco.

Well, I was also wrong on that count, and it was even worse.

Bug has always been obsessed with the doorstoppers.  You know, the ones that are attached to the wall to keep the doors from destroying your walls?  Well, I figured he just liked the noise, and I was folding laundry in his bedroom one day while he was playing with it. I looked over just in time to see him yank the white plastic cover off of the stopper and shove it in his mouth.

Panicked, I immediately seized my child and fished it out of his mouth, which made him very angry. His face turned red and he shook his fist at me and screamed the words, “NEIN NEIN NEIN!” at me.  This is how my ten month old expresses his displeasure.  He screams in German. I tried to explain to him that it was for his own good, and that I loved him and didn’t want him to choke to death on a stupid plastic stopper. In response the “NEIN’s” got louder and he very angrily yanked the wire portion of the doorstopper out of the wall.

I sat there, dumbfounded for a minute, unable to believe that my 25 pound child had done this, and briefly wondered if I should let him pull out all of the doorstoppers to eliminate them as choking hazards.

Then I went to the bathroom to admire my newly acquired gray hairs.  Ah, parenthood.