Eating Crap for a Healthy Immune System. Literally.
This afternoon, I took JC for his 9 month check-up. When his pediatrician asked if I had any concerns, with tongue-in-cheek I replied, “I think he has Pica. He keeps trying to eat things that aren’t food.”
I’ve always liked this doctor; in addition to being a wonderful physician, she has a great sense of humor. Meaning, she generally laughs with me…I think…or maybe at me…in retrospect, I can’t be certain.
But she responded with a smile, “You don’t think that has anything to do with him being 9 months old!?”
And while a real case of Pica is not something to joke about (contact your doctor immediately if you think your child has Pica – ingesting things like paint chips can sometimes cause permanent damage), some levity is required when you know what I know about what’s been in this child’s mouth.
Need I even remind you of last week’s recap, where I imparted the tale of the doggy dingleberry discovery? Let me sum it up by sharing the 2 questions that I had at the time:
- How does the “5 second rule” factor in when you fish a suspected doggy dingleberry out of the baby’s mouth? and,
- I know it’s generally frowned upon to give the baby alcohol, but does Listerine count?
And that brings to mind another question: do you ever wonder if your kid’s’ tendency, as a toddler, to fixate on a particular food somehow roots back to regrettable mistakes he made as a baby? Because that would totally make sense to me. I can just imagine the thought process.
“Yeeeeaaahhhhh….I vaguely remember the last time I tried eating something in the brown family. Didn’t work out so well. Think I’ll stick to only orange foods for the foreseeable future.” Something has to explain how a kid can go from willingly eating poop, or dirt, or bits of paper to unwillingly eating anything in a matter of only months.
So, today I took JC outside and set him free in the play area while AJ (3 year old) played in the sand table. I was never more than 4 feet away from either of them, but in the short time we were outside, JC managed to put the following things in his mouth – feel free to rate them on a scale from ‘Yuck” to ‘Eeeeeeeeewwwwwww!!!’:
- A dead leaf
- The dog’s tennis ball
- An old rubber band
- A bubble wand
- A foam mat
- Muddy fingers (his own)
- A shoe (his own – he’s flexible)
- A tail (the dog’s, not his own)
And yes, of course I was watching him!
The leaf blew over to him; the sand was distributed by his brother; the dog dropped the tennis ball on his head; his fingers got wet from his drool and the dog’s drool mingling on the tennis ball, leading to the inevitably muddy fingers; the bubble wand and rubber band were hidden under the mat, which he was on top of…who knew he’d lift the corner for a nibble and discover those treasures; his shoe was on his foot – he’s flexible for a baby in the 100th percentile for weight; and the dog’s tail…well that one I saw coming, but I figured it would resolve itself quickly enough.
So there’s no denying that the kid is resourceful. And I definitely don’t have to worry that he’s not getting enough exposure to build a healthy immune system.
But I think he’s used up his allotted pound of dirt.