Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

April 6, 2010 at 4:55 am 5 comments

     When I was four or five, I used to bite people. I don’t really remember what my parents did about it, but I remember one person in particular I bit (sorry, Nancy) in the woods near her house. Later, in high school, my completely unqualified psychology teacher (he was really a math teacher, and may have taken a psych class as a first year college student, but I doubt it) told me I had an oral fixation because I chomped on my fingernails. At the time I found it interesting because it was probably the first time I ever encountered the “blame your mother” mentality; said psych teacher told me I had been weaned too early, so it was my Mom’s fault. Thanks a lot, Mom. 

     Enter C, many years later, and we come full circle. I thought we had escaped any oral fixation (with something more akin to an oral aversion), but I thought too soon. Just a few short weeks ago after lights out, Husband and I were startled by a scream from C’s bedroom. “I’M HURT! HELP! I’M HURT! I’M PROBABLY GOING TO DIE!!! AAAACCCCKKKK!!!!!” C had swallowed a glow-in-the-dark plastic marble and no amount of explaining how the digestive tract always puts out what it takes in calmed him down. Nearly an hour later and a phone call to Ga and Pa in which they relayed all the stories of things Brother and I swallowed as kids still hadn’t fully convinced him. “I’ll probably wake up dead in the morning,” he said mournfully as we turned the lights out once again.

     Two weeks later, after a lengthy discussion with C’s doctor as to whether the glow-in-the-dark marble would even show up on an x-ray given we hadn’t seen it come out the other end, C moved on to another level of oral exploration. He bit a playdate this weekend, and lest I thought it was an isolated incident, he tried to bite Husband this evening. C gets his great hair, dimples, and sunny personality from Husband; must only the bad things be passed on from me?

     It is with some distress that I find myself both celebrating and dreading what comes next. It’s not lost on me that this child with such enormous difficulties around food has all of a sudden started going through a stage we thought he had skipped. While C has gone through many developmental stages years late, this one is the latest by far, and it didn’t escape my notice that the nurse tried to hide her raised eyebrow as I showed her the twin to the marble C swallowed. Yes, he’s nine, we know most kids go through this at three, deal with it and get me the doctor, lady. “At least he’s putting things in his mouth now,” I said half-jokingly to his doctor when she stepped in the room. Now that I look back, I am noticing an alarming recent trend of putting all sorts of things in his mouth – rubber bands, balloons, erasers. What’s next, eating dog treats and sampling Windex?

     Oh dear, I think I need to go childproof my house now.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Opening Doors Goodnight, day

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cheryl D.  |  April 6, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Wow! Your blog blows me away. This does not sound like a fun phase though. I do have a friend, with a beautiful 7-year old daughter who is “typical” in every way who had swallowed a penny recently. Maybe kids just get curious sometimes. Now, if you can get C’s oral curiosity open to trying new foods, that would be great! Best of luck!

  • 2. therocchronicles  |  April 6, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I wondered if you would write about the marble! Maybe this will lead to some food explorations? hope so!

    And I totally doubt that he only gets the good things from Husband.

  • 3. pixiemama  |  April 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Have you considered getting C some chewies? I just got Foster a P & Q set from Amazon. Every time I see him about to put something in his mouth (that’s not food) I hand him one.

    BTW – It’s really not your fault. It never was your fault.


  • 4. robin  |  April 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Ack, the “phases” our kids go through and yes, better late than never (I guess??). B. has also had issues with biting, but for him it was mostly about wanting PRESSURE on his jaw. Chewies helped a lot. Most of the time, it is just another way of trying to deal with anxiety. Also, don’t forget that things are likely happening in that 9 yr old mouth – teeth will start falling out again soon, so it could be his mouth is extra sensitive just now.

  • 5. robinaltman  |  April 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Oh, dear. Am I a bad person for laughing? Or maybe I’m a bad person because at C’s age I wanted to see how many peas would fit up my brother’s nose. The ENT guy said 27.


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