Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Little Pica

So, for as long as she's been able to feed herself, Rowan has penchant for eating. Unfortuantely her cravings are not for food. While I can sit at the dinner table practically begging her to eat something other than cheese or yogurt to no avail, she has no problem picking up random flowers, bugs, pieces of dirt and popping them right into her mouth, a special little snack. Her most recent craving, however, has been wood and paint chips from her window sill. Every morning when I hear her start to wake up, I head into her room and she is standing at the window. I give her a look and she says "Mommy, I was just looking out at the little girl." I look out the window. No little girl. "I was just looking at the trees, Mommy." But, the chunks missing from the window sill tell another story. And the paint chips on her tongue kind of blow her cover.

At first I thought it was pretty funny. But it is now getting to the point that I'm thinking she really might have pica. When I was telling stories about Rowan to some friends, an OB friend of mine said "You should really have her hemoglobin checked." So, we may just have to do it. Here's what has to say about pica: "Many young kits put nonfood items in their mouths at one time or another. They're naturally curious about their environment and might, for instance, eat some dirt out of the sandbox. Kids with pica, however, go beyond this innocent exploration of their surroundings. As many as 25% to 30% of kids (and 20% of those seen in mental health clinics) have the eating disorder pica, which is characterized by persistent and compulsive cravings (lasting 1 month or longer) to eat nonfood items. People with pica frequently crave and consume nonfood items such as:

paint chips
laundry starch
baking soda
coffee grounds
cigarette ashes
burnt match heads
cigarette butts

Look for these warning signs that your child may have pica:

*repetitive consumption of nonfood items, despite efforts to restrict it, for a period of at least 1 month or longer
*the behavior is considered inappropriate for your child's age or developmental stage (older than 18 to 24 months)
*the behavior is not part of a cultural, ethnic, or religious practice"

So, on the list, she has consumed (and seems to enjoy consuming)all of these items with the exception of cigarette/match related items and the laundry starch, which she has never come into contact with.

Tate, on the other hand, is now eating baby food and loves everything we give him, though oatmeal is probably his least favorite. He gets all excited when he sees me coming with a bowl or a baby food container and is clearly upset when it's all done. Kind of like the Baby Bjorn, which I think he would hang out in all day, but he is really getting too big. He's so happy and smiley, especially early in the morning. I'll do my best to keep him away from paint chips--at least for a while.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Ahh, G. Rowe. Of course Rowan probably has pica - she is your girl! Just think of all the unusual ailments you might be able to research over the next 20 years or so!