Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm one of THOSE moms...

I let my 13 month old pick things up and put them in his mouth. (gasp!) Obviously I don't let him pick up trash or dangerous items, but he's been known to chew on a stick. Or put a wood chip or two in his mouth.

And he's eaten dirt before. I did try to stop that, but it was too late.

I guess I should clarify a little. I don't let him continue chewing on things that aren't conducive to being masticated. I just don't hover over him taking every little thing he picks up out of his hands. And I don't freak out if he puts something in his mouth. Well unless it happened to be dog poop. Then I would totally freak out. And let's face it, I'm never surprised when he picks stuff up and puts it in his mouth. I'm actually surprised when he doesn't!

Last week I was at the playground with Blake and he was taking his usual stroll around the park, picking things up and holding them in his hand. Obviously at 13 months old Blake is not big enough to man the playground on his own, so I walk around with him. I am completely aware of what he is doing at all times, and that includes when he picks things up and tries to have a taste. Apparently another mother didn't think I was in control of the situation and said, "Oh my gosh, he is eating the stick, Mom!" I ignored her and just took the stick out of Blake's mouth.

I was annoyed. I guess she was just trying to let me know that my baby had a stick in his mouth. But I was right beside him! Looking at him! I've found the bigger reaction I make when Blake does something I don't want him to do, the more he does it. So I let him put some things in his mouth so he can see that they don't taste good. It probably sounds crazy, but our playground trips would consist of me carrying Blake around so he doesn't pick anything up off the ground. And that just isn't going to happen.

I would never let Blake put anything in his mouth that would make him sick (i.e. trash, medical waste, nuclear sludge), but is it so bad that I don't freak out when he licks a rock or tries to eat an acorn? I've been wondering lately if I did react in a big way if he would learn more quickly not to nibble on sticks and such. I'm guessing he'd still keep grazing.

I love that he likes to explore and is trying to experience the world around him. And I'm right there with him letting him experience it in a safe way. And sometimes that means he's gonna eat some dirt.


Lindsay said...

I'm convinced that a little dirt occasionally consumed will do nothing more than strengthen the immune system. It's also a childhood rite of passage, and you can't get in the way of something that important, now can you? :)

Losing Brownies said...

I'm with you. I let The Boy put things in his mouth too. How else will he learn?

Emily said...

Amen! Don't let they hyper helicopter moms of Brooklyn get you down!

Jun and Naomi said...

I liked your thinking.

Katie said...

Strong immune system! My kids love sucking on rocks!