Glowing up

Halloween. My kids, who have never enjoyed a really great All Hallow’s Eve because we live in the lamest neighborhood in the universe, full of snow birds, snobs and seniors, are finally experiencing the holiday as it’s meant to be. They’re racing through my best friend’s neighborhood, lit only by the neon glow sticks she gave them when we left her house. Hundreds of costumed kids line the streets. There are parties, haunted houses, and mounds of candy everywhere. They’re having a ball.

Around 8pm I look over at my 9-year-old son, Levi, and notice something odd on his costume. There are little glowing spots of light running down the front of his clown suit. I’m slightly mesmerized by them, wondering what they could be. Suddenly, I look up and see that he’s like frothing at the mouth and more glowing liquid is dripping from his lips. “Oh my God,” I scream. “What’s wrong with you?” I grab him and pull him towards me. All he can say is “Something tastes bad,” and he continues to spit the incandescent fluid out of his mouth. I scream for my husband, the pediatrician. “Something’s wrong with Levi,” I cry. “Do something!”

Mark runs over to our son, grabs him, and tries to make sense out of the situation. He’s not getting very far when my friend’s husband says, “He was chewing on that glow stick,   you know.” Suddenly, it all makes sense. My child is ingesting some kind of radioactive phenol and I’m certain he’s not long for this world. I begin to hyperventilate (OK, I’m not really good in a crisis). Levi’s still spitting and Mark is efficiently rinsing out his mouth with a bottle of Aquafina.


Halloween pre glow stick ingestion



After a few minutes, it appears that Levi hasn’t actually swallowed any of the poisonous substance. I begin to breathe again. There’s no point in telling him not to ever chew on anything, ever again. I’ve been saying that since he was 2 years old. I guess maybe the scare from my terror-filled reaction might dissuade his next potential chewing disaster. But, you never really know. I also thought that throwing away his ipod shuffle might teach him to be more responsible with his toys. So far that hasn’t worked either.


My 8 year-old has started mouthing everything again. This behavior had all but vanished until about six months ago when it mysteriously reasserted itself. If it’s not nailed down, it’ll eventually end up in his mouth. The “talking doctor” insists it’s an involuntary motor tic and that there’s nothing to be done. Dr. Goofy, my pediatrician hubbie, assures me that he’s never seen a groom walking down the aisle at his wedding chewing on his tuxedo shirt. (And to think, people actually pay him for his opinion on child rearing.)

I’ve tried everything over the years. We’ve done PT and OT and even “chew therapy.” I really did pay someone to come to my house and chew with him because her diagnosis was that he actually needed to chew more in order to stop chewing. (It didn’t make sense to me then, and still doesn’t now.)

So when the chewing inexplicably disappeared a while back, I was elated. I actually thought this was behind us. But of course, just as I’m lulled into a false sense of security, the chewing comes back with a vengeance.

I suggested gum. It gives him a headache. Different OT sites offer various chew toys he could keep in his pocket. Too babyish. I even thought about chewelry, the plastic sensory bracelets and necklaces that come in bright neon colors. He said (and this is utterly ironic) that he wouldn’t be caught dead in that stuff. Too embarrassing. In the meantime, he’s completely outcast from his peers (and some of his teachers). I’m not sure the computer teacher has forgiven him for inadvertently chewing off the ends of two expensive microphones that hook up to individual computers.

Finally, I found these totally cool necklaces at They come in awesome colors and are actually designed for adults as teething rings for babies. You know how babies like to play with jewelry. Well, this is baby-appropriate teething jewelry. I showed it to my son and he out and out refused to even try it on. (When I showed it to his dad, he concurred with my son and said it would be worse to be wearing a necklace than slobbering over pencils and pens and other school supplies.)

What can I do? I cannot be the only mother who’s had to deal with this. Please tell me something that might work! I’m desperate.bluecamodonut