Thursday, July 21, 2011


Our older son is pretending to draw with colored pencils, but I'm not falling for it. I know what he's up to: when he thinks that I am not looking, he bites off the end of one. He's not fooling me. I hear him crunching away. Yet when I turn around, he looks at that pencil as if to say, "Huh! That tip is broken AGAIN! I simply must sharpen." Out comes the manual sharpener, and the ruse starts all over again.

In case anyone wonders, I do, in fact, know that is not an ideal or even acceptable practice. But the pencils are the lesser of three evils. You should see what the boy does with chalk and crayons.

What is it about these things?! Perhaps it is the sensory experience of feeling them, but, truly, MUST he feel them with his teeth?

If he grabs hold of a piece of chalk, be warned: he WILL eat it. He chews it like it is candy and swallows without hesitation.

I was watching a television show the other day called "My Strange Addiction", and it made me think of my son. The person on this particular show was addicted to eating pottery. She took flower pots, crushed them into chunks, placed them in baggies and carried them in her purse. All day, she chomped on the pieces.

Our son would chomp on chalk in this manner. I also think he'd do the same with crayons and pencils, but the chalk is his favorite.

People with neurological disorders can have a condition call PICA (pronounced pie-ka) where they will mouth non-food items. In the past, our son has had PICA. He may still exhibit symptoms of this. However, I don't think that his desire for chalk, crayons and pencils falls under the PICA umbrella. For, his desire for these objects is constant. Even when he is not mouthing any other object, he will run me down to get to a piece of chalk he sees sitting on a counter.

My son has a strange addiction.

Perhaps it is also a vitamin deficiency. Often you hear of pregnant women short on iron who start to crave dirt or soap. Our son takes vitamins, but it is true that his body might not be absorbing them properly. His digestive system is a constant work in progress for me. Yes, it could very well be a vitamin deficiency.

Whatever the cause, it leads to a strange addiction.

In school, he needs two people with him in the hallway so that he does not bolt into other classrooms to grab their chalk, crayons and pencils. And, you'd better be on guard if you are taking him past the arts and crafts section of any retail store.

The way I look at it, the boy knows passion. How wonderful to know that he won't have to go through life without ever experiencing the true meaning of passion.

Hey, it's a crazy life. Sometimes you just have to surrender to it.

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