Tue 24 Oct 2006
is human flesh an appropriate first food for babies? ’cause i think Oscar may be something of a cannibal.
O’s first teeth broke through a little over a month ago, and have matured into two teeny white razors poking up from his gummy smile. he’s entranced by them. he flicks his tongue along them all day long, rapt expression on his face – apparently teeth are the tactile equivalent of Saturday morning cartoons. he catches me watching him and shrieks with glee, gurgling “do you see these muthas, mama? i’m gonna bite me a whole world of wonderful with these suckas!” then he chomps on whatever’s nearest with gusto, just for emphasis.
but whatever’s nearest hasn’t apparently been very satisfying or wonderful, in Oscar’s opinion…nothing on the market, at least. teethers and pacifiers have been largely rejected by The Fang, and his books apparently taste unpleasantly of paper. baby oatmeal really only offers so much to the teeth. his own hands, while pudgy and warm and a favourite option for mouth-stuffing, have those inconvenient pain receptor thingies that keep him from gnawing his own fingers off to his heart’s content. so he’s turned, instead, to the hands of his caregivers.
i can see it from his perspective. he likes to chew on hands, and after all, biting himself hurts. whereas, magically, when he grabs one of the large, meaty, and conveniently nearby hand-thingies attached to mummy’s body and finagles it into his waiting mouth…no pain at all! neato! no flies on this boy. except, of course, the ones hovering near the open wounds suddenly festering on my fingers. an introduction to the word “no” has been a big part of Oscar’s week.
at first, the biting was charming, cute. parenthood itself is a masochistic enterprise in these early years, so i figured…what’s a little more pain? the two endearing little paws grabbing my own and latching on with such zest seemed worth a wee nipping, and he looked so adorably fierce. but then, he took some epidermis with him in the process. and liked it. i found that my bleeding lessened his cuteness factor significantly. and worse, he kept coming back for more. i think the cat taught him how to sharpen the damn teeth on the couch, like she does with her claws, when i wasn’t looking. god help me. i’m being hunted on two fronts, in my own home.
so i introduced The Fang to some new prey. yesterday, my mom came over to take O for a late afternoon walk in the stroller. she stayed through suppertime, as last night marked the debut of avocado puree on O’s menu, and what Nannie can resist helping her only grandchild burble up green mush for the first time?
somewhere in the middle of the avocado course, my dear mother must have paused, momentarily, whilst shoveling the puree into my eager, toothy gourmand of a son.
i know this because of the ear-splitting squeal that came emanating from the direction of the high chair. it wasn’t Oscar. it was Nannie. she’d fallen for the old “let me grab your hand in my cute, fat, little avocado-covered ones and devour it” trick. he’d managed to lodge the little incisors right in a paper cut she’d gotten earlier in the day. he looked delighted. apparently the taste of Nannie beats the heck out of avocado puree.
ah, my little Fang…but two small teeth with which to bite the whole world. perhaps for Hallowe’en we should get him a zombie costume.
and get me some gloves. :)