Tonight I got a call asking us not to bring Milly back.
Milly has been chewing things since November of last year. It started when my mother noticed her licking the grout on their fireplace. Then we started noticing bite marks here and there on the corners of the walls. Milly has dug holes in the drywall large enough to fit a softball. In two weeks of moving into the new house she's marked nearly every single corner. She goes and hides to chew sometimes and sometimes it seems almost absent-minded. She always stops when we tell her but will go back to it minutes later as if it were a compulsion.
The wooden furniture is chewed. We have to buy only plastic toys with no stickers or paint. We can't paint the walls. I have to watch her like a hawk in public or at other people's houses.
We've spoken to her pediatrician who ordered blood tests. Her lead levels were normal and her iron was low. We've been giving her iron supplements daily. ECI was told and agreed that it was probably a habit now and might be related to anxiety. (There has been a lot of upheaval in the last 6 months.)
The selfish part of me is angry. This is humiliating. I've had so many people (MDO, Sunday church workers, other moms) ask me if I know that she's chewing things. They all try to say it so gently. This is after I've tried to tell them about it when I drop her off and show them the special blanket covered in tags that she chews on. This is not news to me. I am well aware of this issue.
I think that's what insults me the most. It's the feeling that people are looking at me and my child and wondering why I'm not putting a stop to this behavior. Don't I understand how destructive and potentially harmful this is?
Yes. I understand that eating paint is not recommended for children under 5.
I have noticed the behavior. I'm not sitting back with my fingers crossed hoping that it goes away. I'm working my butt off trying to change her behavior. Im researching methods and consulting therapists and doctors. Unfortunately, 2-year olds are not known for their cooperative attitudes.
So now, we'll just not take Milly to MDO. It's OK. I'll take that extra time with just her and we'll work even harder. Maybe even tackle the potty.
I refuse to give up on my kid.