Henry, stop biting the trash can

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The Adventures of Fatherman

Henry, my son, aka Hunka Hunka Burning Love (that’s what the ladies will call him one day, you wait), is nine months old. His first tooth erupted through his gum line at the end of three months, and he’s been grabbing and gnawing on anything and everything since. If you’re not careful around him, you’ll lose a finger. Ask my friend Andy, who came up to Charlottesville for the Virginia Tech vs. Virginia basketball game, and left with not only an L and his tail between his legs (okay, not really. While a Tech grad, he had no skin in the game) but also minus one opposable thumb to thumbs down his alma mater. To demonstrate my point, ie sacrificing a digit via infantile cannibalistic tendencies, I have put together the following list of ten non-food items Henry constantly tries to eat:

  1. My face
  2. My wife’s face (No, he is not on bath salts)
  3. The trash can
  4. The tub
  5. The shower curtain
  6. Shoes at the door
  7. Shoes on your feet
  8. His sister’s potty
  9. Anything with an electrical current running through it
  10. The dog bowl

Followed by my three step-strategy to distract Henry when he starts gnawing on random things around the house, which as you can guess by my steerage strategy, is mostly futile as I am very limited in what I can do, and being that Henry doesn’t understand English yet, he is not the best listener.

  1. Hey look, Henry, a ball
  2. I’ve got Cheerios
  3. Hey Henry, look, another ball

It’s a natural development stage, of course:

Babies putting things in their mouths, otherwise known as mouthing, is not only normal, but also signals a growing interest in the world around them . . . So when a baby grasps what he desires and wants to investigate further (“Is it soft or hard? Can I eat it? Does it make a sound?”), this often means putting it in his mouth (Claire, “When Your Baby Puts Everything in His Mouth”).1

It is also great cardio for mom and dad since we spend, it seems, quite a bit of time chasing after him, us on two legs, him on all fours, attempting to steer his tiny hands from inserting foreign objects into his mouth, drool pouring from the sides as new teeth bust through on a weekly basis, or so we have deduced. Our daughter, when she went through this stage, gnawed on just about everything as well; but Henry, that boy takes it to a whole new level.

But it’s nothing to freak out over like this lady, meekieboo, did some six years ago (note the additional details, eg chew toys, and try not to pain yourself as I did over bad punctuation use):

So here are the details,

My house is as baby proofed as possible…however my nine month old finds a way to put something…anything…everything…in his mouth. I expected some of this with teething and exploring as he is my fourth child. However it is to an extreme. My son has eight teeth and does not appear to be pushing up any at the time.

He licks and mouths everything. Paper,the floor,(his dad picks him up and he tries to lick his bald head) people, his fathers weights,the leather couches,clothes,etc……..I have tried applying lemon juice to some of these things to discourage him to no avail. Again I expect some of this from him as he is a baby. But when will this stop and should I be concerned?????

Additional Details
oh I forgot…we bought plenty of chew toys for him, and telling him no or stop in a firm voice only causes him to laugh. When he sees that we are headed towards him to stop his action….he crawls away quickly (often laughing)!!! Then comes right back to it once the threat level subsides :)2

The good news is, between Henry and the dog, our floors are really clean. No Goldfish, Cheerios, or lint balls are anywhere to be found.

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Notes:

  1. Lerner, Claire. “When Your Baby Puts Everything in His Mouth.” Parents Magazine. Web. 15 February 2014.
  2. meekieboo. “9 month old putting everything in his mouth!!!!!?” Yahoo! Answers. Web. 16 February 2014.

The Author

Jeffrey Pillow is a wannabe novelist of social satire and literary fiction. While changing poopy diapers and trying to convince his two year old daughter to brush her back teeth, he often ponders the three act structure and the construction of the perfect inciting incident. His nonfiction has appeared on the cover of URGE magazine, 16 Blocks, SI.com, The Nervous Breakdown, USA Today, Yahoo! Sports, and TheBody.com et al. Read the full bio...

6 Comments

    • Ha. No. That’s someone who got bitten by a shark. I just like to find a way to incorporate Andy into my stories. Andy still has all his fingers. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Henry take a chunk out of someone. He’s had seven or eight teeth since he was four months old. He’s got a few more coming in now. Annabelle was the same way.

  1. I laughed reading your excerpt from meekieboo, she could have easily been talking about her dog. I am pretty sure we did those things to stop our dog from chewing on the furniture. Every picture of our daughter, from 4 to 12 months, she has something in her mouth. It is amazing how inventive they can be. This is a great post I really enjoyed reading it.

    • There were so many good ones to choose from on Yahoo Answers, I didn’t know where to start. I felt meekieboo was the pick of the litter though.

      Thanks for reading. I see you are a children’s book illustrator and local to Virginia. Best of luck with your book. If you are ever looking for authors, let me know. I have written a number of children’s stories. Unfortunately, the illustrator who was on board — a wonderful artist who fit the work so well — dropped off.

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