Back in the day we were prepared for a very small child.? We were naive and thought our brand of child would be small and immobile.? We baby proofed our house, put on cabinet latches and plugged every light socket with a parent proof plastic plug.? Then we found out we would be “having” a toddler.? We kept the babyproofing measures in place because we were still in the “being judged” period of parenting.? Later we discovered that our social worker smoked a little too much pot and really didn’t care if we used the proper latches or tested our smoke alarms on a regular basis.? So we got lazy.? It also helped that we had the easiest kid in the world.? Nothing terribly out of the ordinary with this child.? A little sensitive to sound.? Aside from the food throwing the boy was a typical 2 year old.? Then he grew into a typical 4 year old.
A few months back I was talking with one of the preschool teachers.? I wanted an update on how Oleg was doing.? If she saw anything unusual or extraordinary about him.? Other than he had the answer for every question he was a normal kid.? I trust her on this one.? She happens to be the mother of a child with Sensory Processing Disorder.? I trust her.? I talked to her about the boy’s sensitivity to sound and that he had this habit of smelling everything he came in contact with.? It’s a little odd, but he’s quirky so I let it go.
She told me about one thing that, at the time, I put off doing the “it won’t happen to me” parenting.? She said that all children must go through an oral phase.? It doesn’t matter what age they do it in, but they must do it.? It is a developmental thing that all persons process through.? Her story about her son with SPD’s encounter with the oral phase is quite funny, but not my story to tell.? Most kids go through this stage within the first 18 months.? However, my child spent the first 22 months of his life in an institution and never had the opportunity to put things in his mouth.? Oral exploration was not something that was encouraged and in fact, it was highly frowned upon.? Odds are my child did not experience this stage within those first 18 months.
How do I know this?? Well… the boy has entered an oral stage.? Fortunately, for the moment, he isn’t chewing on anything. Right now it’s just licking.? The kid licks everything.? In the bath tub he licks the side*.? I came home from work this afternoon and said I wanted a hug.? He says, “not right now mommy, I need to wash my hands.”? He then proceeds to lick them clean.
Now imagine a woman placing her thumb against her forehead and saying, “damn” as she envisions her child licking the produce at the grocery.
*note to husband, clean bath tub mor often.