For those of you familiar with the hit movie “Up,” you know that the dog in the movie, named Dug, had to wear the “cone of shame.” I know I always feel bad for dogs when I see them wearing one of these devices, but I also know it’s for the dog’s own good to keep it from biting or scratching or doing something else it just can’t help. I need a device like this for my 16 month old daughter.
When Cecilia began crawling around, we went through the house and re-baby proofed everything again, but my sweet darling third born still manages to create danger where I never imaged it might lie. For starters, she eats just about anything she can put in her mouth: pebbles, grass, dirt, fuzz, mulch, crayons, old dried up cheerios, petrified goldfish crackers, and anything else that she might find lying carelessly around. My Dyson vacuum has been used daily since she became mobile, and I swear she hates the thing more than I do.
If my infant daughter had an arch enemy, it would be the Dyson. Once, after a catastrophic mess the boys made at lunch, I move their chairs and opted for the vacuum rather than wasting time with a broom, and as soon as my daughter saw the Dyson come out she began wailing and throwing a fit. Her little fingers reached hopelessly through the baby gate as I sucked up the bread crumbs and graham cracker remnants from the linoleum floor. I turned around once and swear she had her tiny arms stretched up to the heavens and her tear stained face seemed to be praying for divine intervention…”please, God! Stop my Mother! I didn’t even get a chance to eat that stuff!”
Of course eating food off the floor, under a couch, or even under a cushion is gross, but not nearly as bad as my daughter deliberately looking for anything that might have been drug in the house from outside on the front and back door mats is just disgusting. She looks like she’s combing for treasure as she delicately picks through the door mats for grass, dirt, or mulch. She’s actually worse about eating those things inside than she is when playing outside. Typically, while outdoors, my daughter is busy eating clovers or dandelions or attempting to dump all of the sand out of the sandbox.
My daughter has begun to expand her diet a bit and will now even eat many of the table foods she hated the first few times I offered them to her. One morning, while making pancakes at the beach, Cecilia teetered over to one of my Mom’s house plants and happily ate a fistful of soil. After wiping out her mouth, giving her some milk and putting her in her seat, she was offered pancakes for the first time. She chewed the pancakes, spit them out, and shuttered when I tried to offer her a second bite. WTF, kid? The soil tastes good but the pancake is putrid?
Most recently, with my constant vacuuming and always watching her (lest she choke), my daughter has taken to picking apart my wicker baskets that make up the four drawers on my entertainment center. I’m terrified she’ll ingest one of the broken, splintered pieces she has picked off and swallow it and damage her digestive tract. Seriously, this kid is making me gray(er).
There is actually a disorder too called Pica where people want to eat things like clay, potting soil and chalk, etc. It is seen in people of all ages and some pregnant women, but is generally not “Pica’ unless it is past an age where it would be considered developmentally inappropriate. Regardless, eating mulch and rejecting pancakes is beyond me. I’m afraid to leave the room for a minute, so I’m seeking ideas on how to keep her from eating “yucks” as I call them. Hence the cone of shame. Wearing a “cone collar” my daughter wouldn’t be able to eat all the bad things she tries to find on the floor. She’ll be powerless to eat dirt, and unless she develops a hook shot, won’t stand a chance against the cone of shame.
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