Friday, September 17, 2010

Dirt Eater

The Little Buddy eats dirt. Excessively.

It's becoming a problem. It started with a little sand at the beach. Now it's fistfuls of dirt, sand, mud, anything he can get his hands on. Sometimes it's attached to grass. It makes for several awesome diapers a day that smell like a decaying carcass. We can't get him to stop. He's like a moth to a flame, a dog to a bone, Lennon to Yoko.

Today I asked him what was in his mouth. He promptly spat mud onto his shirt. I told him, again, that we do not eat dirt. I swabbed his mouth, wiped it out, washed it. He cried. So what did he do when we finished that high time? He walked down the stairs, turned the corner, went out the open back door and promptly thrust another fistful right in.

I called the pediatrician. Well, first I tried to call my mom but she's on vacation and didn't answer. Then I looked it up online. I'd heard of something called Pica. Naturally, I googled it. Then I called the pediatrician. I promised the nurse that I'm not crazy. I told her I had another son--an older son--and I'd never called and asked if the amount of dirt he was eating was excessive and no longer an age appropriate behavior. After talking to the nurse it was confirmed that, at this point, Matthew has a mild form of Pica.

But, apparently, they don't worry about it until it's been going on for over a month. The Little Buddy has only been obsessed with consuming dirt for about a week. I'm supposed to encourage positive eating habits. "Yeah, Little Buddy! You ate a banana! Good for you!" And I'm supposed to discourage the dirt eating. "Boo, Little Buddy. You ate dirt. Not cool!" (Which I've been doing and it's been zero percent effective. He just looks at me like I have no idea what I'm missing.) Obviously we're not supposed to let him eat the dirt. If this is still going on in a few weeks we'll have to have a blood panel done to make sure he's not missing some important mineral. That sounds like fun. Matthew wails like a nearly dead wildebeest amidst a pack of lions when he gets an injection. I'm sure that holding him on my lap while he has a blood drawn would be a regular picnic.

The silver lining of all this is that he's eating dirt. Some people with Pica eat feces.


  1. i'm a little freaked out here because samuel does the exact same thing. he's been doing it for months and i'm at my wits end. he will literally lay face down in the sand at the park and start lapping it up into his mouth before i can grab him. he continually grabs handfulls of dirt out of my planters in the backyard and ingests it all, swallowing quickly before we can run and scoop it out of his mouth. so i feel for you, but now i'm thinking seriously about talking to a pediatrician myself.

  2. Just remember, I ate sand as a child, and I turned out...fine? When we lived in Santee, I'd eat it out of our sandbox. When mom and dad asked me what I was eating, I'd tell them "crunchy cereal." I don't think they bought it.

  3. If he has to get blood drawn I have a good trick that I used on Madi when she was 2 yrs. Unfortunately it only works the first time. Let me know and I will pass it on to you.