I thought it would stop when he turned three, but no: on an almost daily basis I find myself fishing buttons, chess pieces, pencils, fuzzy Mystery Candy, Fisher Price Little People, and – shudder – his sister’s shoes out of his mouth. Nothing is sacred.
This of course means that any amount of snowfall our fair city immediately turns into the Epic War of Mom vs. Jeffrey’s Snow-Laden Mouth.
Oooorgh, he’s always stuffing it in there, sometimes without really realizing that he’s doing it. And we’ve just been graced with a whopper of a snowstorm: four inches of snow followed by a thick layer of freezing rain, then topped off with four more inches of snow. It’s the tiramisu of blizzards – how can any preschooler resist digging in, much less my ridiculously orally-fixated kid?
The only strategy that has managed to penetrate his consciousness so far has been the constant warning that snow is filled with dirt.
“Jeffrey, that snow is filled with germs and dirt,” I say, to which he responds in amazement:
“What? Dirt is bad?”
And so I am frequently quizzed on the Impenetrable Mysteries of the Nature of Dirt. It’s as if he’s checking up so often just to make sure that there won’t be some wonderful chance in the future in which dirt will suddenly be okay to eat.
“Mom? Does dirt still make you sick if you eat it?”
“It sure does, honey. Very sick.” [internal monologue: Hurrah! It’s finally sinking in!!!]
“Sick? And then it will turn your body inside out and you’ll turn into an alien?”
“ . . . [pause] . . . I don’t know about that. Who told you that dirt will do that to you?”
“Pfft! Why, you did, Mommy! You’re so silly!”
Huh. So is this what I get for reading Mooncake aloud so often?