the mouth

Cute, right? I mean, there’s no doubt—The Button is a frakkin’ adorable kid. The crazy little dances she does, the funny things that come out of her mouth, and the expressions she makes on that face, which that same mouth twisted into a maniacal cackle or a toothy roar or a hysterical grin or a lovey-dovey kiss…

But it’s the mouth that’s the problem. Or rather, what goes into it. Or rather, again, that she continues, at only a couple months shy of three years of age, to stick anything and everything that should not be put into her mouth, into her mouth. And it’s getting tiresome. [Again, scratch that—it’s been tiresome.]

I really don’t know what to do. I can’t remember The Pumpkin doing this at the same age (and yeah yeah, I know, every kid is different, don’t compare them, yada yada). [And full disclosure, yes, she uses a pacifier for sleeping, but The Pumpkin was using hers still at this age too.] And I know, I know, kids go through stages, she’ll outgrow it, etc., etc. Well, when exactly will this growing out of it be occurring?

And she knows, too. She knows. I’ll say “No mouth,” and she’ll throw the object in question down before I’m even done saying it. Even better, she’ll say “No mouth,” sometimes without me even having to say anything, sometimes before she’s even put the object in her mouth—and usually right before she puts it right back in, looking straight at me. “No. Mouth!” If I could transliterate the growl there at the end, I would.

It’s not like she’s a dog and I can spray my entire house and every single Button-level-or-lower (or reachable-by-climbing) object with Tabasco or something.

She’s bitten the erasers off her sister’s pencils. She’s chewed on ponytail rubber bands like gum. Toys, books, crayons, markers, sticks, clothing, tupperware lids… Paper, plastic, rubber, fabric, wood… I have to keep her away from Fluffy’s toys as much as I have to keep him away from hers.

Today, she was playing by herself really well while her sister read and I cooked. She came out from the bedroom with a tutu around her waist, her sister’s nightgown around her torso through the neck hole, and her sister’s pajama pants dangling from her head, covering her face. When you love to play dress-up and you can only reach so high, you do what you can. And she is most definitely in the “I. Do. It. My. Self!” stage.

But anyway, I thought she was fine. And then, while stuff was simmering, I went to find her at the desk, where she was standing on my desk chair and, I thought, just looking at the computer screen. But no, she’d found a container of Crayola Twistables and pulled the skinny crayon parts out of three of them and was eating them. Okay, not eating them. But close enough. And when I saw what she’d done and took away the crayons and put her on the floor and said, maybe a little too exasperatedly, “No mouth!” she pitched a crying fit.

She’s almost three and I’m tired of saying “No mouth” to everything. When, exactly, will she outgrow this? What else am I supposed to be doing? Anybody? She knows we don’t want her to do it, she understands. I’m not going to be slapping hands or washing mouths out with soap (unless, of course, it’s needed for hygienic reasons). So if anybody’s got a way to get this little cutie to stop putting everything in her mouth, I’m open to suggestions. Thanks, y’all.



About Jason Sperber

Jason Sperber is a stay-at-home-dad of 2 daughters and a writer in Bakersfield, California. He blogs (very infrequently) at daddy in a strange land and co-founded Rice Daddies, the group blog by Asian American dads, and is the resident hapa Trekkie at The Nerds Of Color. Follow him on Twitter at @dad_strangeland.
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2 Responses to the mouth

  1. superha says:

    Beef jerky? 😦 The good news is yes, she is frakkin’ adorable.

  2. honglien123 says:

    Insanely adorable, but I totally feel you. My boy still sucks his fingers and occasionally his shirt. It’s still his favorite way to deal with any discomfort or anxiety. He’s getting better at it and slowly “outgrowing” this phase, but he’s and a half already. :sigh: We do notice that he tends to suck on his fingers less when he’s busy and comfortable. Maybe, instead of saying no mouth all the time, always have a few things on hand that she would be allowed to put in her mouth but explain that those are the only items and slowly diminish the number or length of time she has those available? Again, I totally get what you’re up against.

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