Chew On This


     Trying to get my son to keep his hands or his clothing out of his mouth is like trying to keep a man from touching his johnson.  It’s a constant uphill battle that I don’t seem to be winning.  I’ve preached to him about a gazillion times about the risk of germs and getting sick, but, as the usual pattern goes around my house, my sermons always seem to fall on deaf ears.  I’m starting to feel like the Charlie Brown teacher.

     One of my biggest pet peeves with my kids is when they chew on their clothes, and my son is the absolute worst about this.  I swear, every time I look at the kid, he’s chewing on his shirt sleeves, his collar, his hat or his gloves.  I can’t even tell you how many of his shirts now have holes around the wrists from all of his nibbling, not to mention all of the ragged collars on his jackets.  It drives me flipping C-R-A-Z-Y!!!  He used to chew the flaps so much on his old hat that the damn thing had to be washed every other day to get the stank of old saliva out of it.  And now that he’s taking ice skating lessons, he’s discovered that he likes to gnaw on his gloves after he falls down to get the ice chunks off them.  He doesn’t seem to understand that the ice at the rink is not meant to be eaten.  I guess he thinks of it as his own personal slushy buffet.  

     Unfortunately, he doesn’t just stop at clothing either.  He also likes to put his fingers in his mouth too, even though he’s not really even chewing his nails or the surrounding skin.  Surprisingly, the boy’s got to-die-for nails that constantly have to be trimmed.  I cringe at the thought of what new virus he’s shoving in there with his hands.  I about died when my husband showed me the video he took of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap over this past weekend.  My son’s hand was thrust into his mouth throughout the whole two minute conversation with the man in red.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a bigger breeding ground for germs than old St. Nick’s lap.  Just think of all the boogers that have been wiped on those fuzzy pants and all the sneeze showers that have been sprayed on that jacket.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the very conception point for the whole H1N1 phenomenon.

     This oral fixation has been such a concern of mine that my husband and I even talked to my son’s teacher about it at parent/teacher conferences last month.  She said it’s a very normal, very natural phase that a lot of kids, particularly boys, tend to go through.  She suggested allowing my son to chew gum at school to avoid the urge to put his hands or his clothing into his mouth.  My husband practically fell out of his little tiny first grade chair at the mere mention of this solution, since he was actually paddled for chewing gum in school back in the day.  The teacher assured us that our son will most certainly outgrow this phase in due time.  We’re hoping that time’s much sooner rather than later.

     Meanwhile, I have to just continue to play my broken record over and over again to remind him about the dangers of germs while he continues to ignore every freaking word that comes out of my mouth. It’s yet another one of my many daily tests in patience and sanity that I’m on the verge of failing miserably.  Isn’t parenting fun?!


7 Responses

  1. this is so funny because we had the same exact problem with one of my little cousins growing up.. his shirt sleeves were always a mess and my aunt would actually buy this bitter apple stuff that you’re supposed to spray on furniture to stop dogs from chewing it that basically had a very sour, unpleasant taste. wasn’t harmful – it just tasted like shit. well she’d spray that on his favorite gnaw spots & it worked… until he went from doing that to constantly wiping his little kid, chocolate and goo covered lips across his shoulder instead of using a napkin. it has turned into quite the endless battle with the boy’s shirt sleeves lol.

  2. Try having a 6 year old with Tourette’s Syndrome… one of his tics is chewing on things. I have the same problem with shirt collars, sleeves, Jacket collars… I resell clothing for a living and he has made it impossible for me to sell his clothing with his chewing tic! I never thought of Gum… but maybe I’ll see if that will help…Sugar free obviously.

  3. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog over the past few weeks! I’m an editor at Family Circle and we just started a social networking site for moms of tweens and teens, Would love you to check it out. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to learn more Hope to see you around the site!

  4. I thought we were the oly ones that seemed to be raising puppies instead of children! My 2.5 yr old has a stuffed bunny she has carried with her since birth. She chews on the ears. It’s her safety item and she takes it with her everywhere. It is so gross now. The ears and top of the head are now a permanent brownish color. We wash it every night and it’s still gross. I have no idea how we are going to ever get it away from her!! Great post!

  5. One of my boys is a chewer. Currently two and he is still working on getting his second set of molars. He chews more when he is teething, but his instinct on checking out a new item has always been to put it in his mouth.

    He gets this from me. I remember chewing on things as a kid. My finger, pencils, I chewed Popsicle sticks to splinters. I also chewed my pens and pencils. As I got older I gradually stopped chewing things. I still love crunchy food. I used to eat most of my veggies raw. I eat more cooked now, but they have to be al dente, unlike the overcooked mush my dad liked. I don’t remember chewing my clothes…No wait I do. I remember a scarf getting chewed. It was covering my face and then got frosty from my breath and the cold. I chewed the frosty part which just made it icier and made me chew it more. I think I chewed a hole in it! lol I think I was about 6 or 7.

  6. My son is almost 4 and I work one day a week at his preschool co-op. At story time one day before lunch, a new boy sat in my lap. He snuggled in, and grabbed my arm around him. We sat listening quietly until the kid pulled my arm up and bit me. Not hard. But enough to get “Ow. We don’t bite. It hurts.” He looked embarrassed and picked a new lap. I told the teacher later, explaining that it didn’t seem like an angry bite. The kid turned around just then and we saw two huge wet spots on his shirt near the neckline…clearly he’s a shirt-chewer, too. this time I got in the way, though.
    My kid is way oral, but doesn’t chew clothes. Yet. Just everything in his hands. Drives me nuts. But I am ready to give up because I just can’t be the “out of your mouth” nag anymore.

  7. Hello! I just wanted to mention that I really enjoy your post.

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