10 Things My Toddler Would Rather Eat Than Food

I have a toddler who doesn’t eat anything I put in front of him. Mostly he waits until I turn around and then he throws it to the dog (who sits ready and willing to take these rejected offerings at a moment’s notice). He does eat things, it’s just that none of them are supposed to be eaten. I don’t know if this is a boy thing or what, because my two girls never put anything in their mouths that wasn’t food more than once. Unfortunately for me, my son has decided his tastes are wildly bizarre.

1. Sand

This one is distressing. Sand is fun! I have a giant sandbox in my backyard that is just heaven for tots, except instead of digging with a shovel and patting castles into existence, my son shovels fistfuls of sand into his mouth, chews and swallows, all before I can turn the hose on him. Have you ever cleaned up poop mixed with sand? Oh joy!

2. Crayons

The kid loves crayons. He eats them like they’re string cheese! (The actual string cheese I give him with his coloring book sits untouched while he devours his crayons—paper wrapping and all.) No matter how many times I take them out of his mouth saying “YUCK! NO!” he continues to do it! Crayons do not taste good. I tried one just to see if Crayola is adding flavors to make them tempting to toddlers, but they’re gross. They taste like wax and red dye 40. What is the attraction?

3. Rocks

Seriously. I found a whole pebble in the poop the other day. Who says being a mom isn’t glamorous? When was the last time you dug around in someone’s poop to find out what that thing that looks like a rock is…oh wait.

4. Chalk

I guess it’s good that the chalk is non-toxic, but is there any vitamin C in it? Maybe the makers of chalk could add some so my kid gets some nutrition? Just sayin’. The oranges I put out got stuffed into a plastic truck while my son nibbled on yellow chalk. I am clearly failing.

5. Public Drinking Fountains

Ok, so he didn’t eat one, but he did lick one when he was supposed to be licking ice cream. We took a family bike ride up to the local ice cream joint and bought our kids delicious ice cream. Instead of licking his, my toddler ran over to the metal public drinking fountain and licked it before I could stop him. He’s down with a fever today. Do you think it’s a coincidence?

6. Spiders

Sitting and enjoying my coffee on the porch yesterday, the trouble maker scooped up something and popped it into his mouth. As usual I jumped up and swiped my finger inside his mouth, only to be screaming moments later when a live spider came running out over my hand, sending me backwards onto my butt screeching like a mad woman. The child laughed.

7. Cotton Balls

My daughters love crafts. Someone (they won’t tell me who) left small colored cotton balls lying around within the toddler’s reach. I saw him rolling something around in his mouth, so I jumped up and forced him to spit whatever it was out. Cotton balls. Then he screamed for a good ten minutes like some kind of anorexic sorority girl for being denied his snack of low-calorie beauty supplies

8. Play-Doh

By this age, my daughters were playing happily with Play-Doh. Sitting in their high chairs, they would squish it and pat it and be totally absorbed in it while I got dinner ready or cleaned up. My son appears to have no idea that Play-Doh is a toy and he just wants to eat it. I’ve tried to show him that it’s fun to manipulate, but he doesn’t get it! He just wants it in his mouth. (And strangely enough, when I offer him an alternative to Play-Doh, like avocado or banana, he shrieks and acts like I offered him poison.)

9. Dog Hair

No joke. I can’t count the number of times I have pulled wads of dog hair out of his mouth that he put there on purpose. This is all I do all day—fish around in my son’s mouth for whatever inappropriate and disgusting things he put there, while at the same time begging him to eat just a teaspoon of protein. Pleeeeeease???

10. Boogers

Is there anything worse than digging around in your nose for a snack? I think I prefer the sand.

When does this phase end? Do they grow out of it, or is he going to end up on TLC’s “My Strange Addiction” eating pebbles or soap at fifteen?