Because it’s not just about food. It’s about their desire to eat anything they come across all day long, regardless of whether it is a foodstuff or not. Today alone, I have caught Charlie trying to gnaw on the following: the laminated corner of our coffee table, a couch cushion, the buttons on his jacket, my knee, his new board book, the leg of his high chair, the corner of my ipad, my Inside Out magazine, a Lonely Planet guide, the handlebars of his pram and most disturbing of all… the kitchen step.
I keep catching the little monkey with his bum in the air, his pudgy hands on the edges of the step and his mouth fixed around the curved wood, munching away like it’s a big old chocolate bar. (His kitchen floor-licking escapades are a whole other post.)
It’s a step that we walk on 500 times a day. A step that is no doubt TEEMING with crap and dirt and germs, and my lovely angelic bubba’s mouth is trying to lick it and eat it whenever I’m not looking.
I’ve had to dial down my gross-out factor since having a kid because there’s no escaping this kind of ick. The floor licking. The step gnawing. The rubbing of food in his hair and licking the high chair with yoghurt all over his mouth. Rice ALL OVER his hair and face and stuck to his clothes. He also likes to rub his food – toast in particular – on the floor before popping it back in his mouth. He looks super cheerful doing this. (I on the other hand am trying not to throw up in my mouth.)
I’m not alone, my friend Nadine reminds me often. Our boys were born a day apart so one of our favourite pastimes is comparing their antics on Facebook messenger. And apparently, Nadine’s bubba doesn’t just push his food around the kitchen floor before eating it; he actually likes to eat out of the dog bowl, too. (Before you think we’re forcing our kids to eat off the floor – we’re not. They just refuse to eat 90 percent of the time when they’re in their high chair, so letting them drive the food ship and eat when they’re playing on the floor, or watching Sarah and Duck from the couch, means they get some nutrients.)
I suppose I should be grateful that Charlie loves food, and I am. While also looking forward to the day when he becomes obsessed with wet wipes and helping mummy ‘clean up’. It’s coming. I know it. Nobody burst my bubble.