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:
- My face
- My wife’s face (No, he is not on bath salts)
- The trash can
- The tub
- The shower curtain
- Shoes at the door
- Shoes on your feet
- His sister’s potty
- Anything with an electrical current running through it
- 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.
- Hey look, Henry, a ball
- I’ve got Cheerios
- 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?????
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.