My son licks grates

Yes, you read that correctly. “Licks” not “likes”, and “grates” not “grapes”. (Any Seuss fans out there?)

While my daughter liked to eat rocks as a baby, my baby boy is a grate-licker. You know, the heating vent that you find on the floor in your house? Yes, that’s what he licks. Rocks I understand because they have texture and are a little salty. But grates…I really don’t get that. I’m not sure if this is indicative of a nutritional deficiency (iron perhaps?), if he’s just curious, or ….maybe they actually taste good???  I’ve never tried them myself.

This oral fixation is sometimes cute and funny, and other times I’m pretty sure he’s going to give himself a stomach bug by licking something really disgusting. For instance, this morning he decided he wanted to suck on the front of the dishwasher which conjured up images of sucker-fish-inside-aquarium. I’m all for using things creatively or differently than originally intended, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to draw the line at home-building accoutrement (how else would you classify a vent?), and appliances.

Here are some other things that I don’t mind my son goobering on, and I think they fall just inside the line between what’s acceptable and what’s not. Note, teething toys are much too obvious for my boy and his eclectic tastes:

  • Dumbells – mint condition
  • Diaper boxes – we’ll call it upcycling
  • Dining table – think Sunny from “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”
  • Wooden mixing spoons – old school, yeah! And, just a hint of something savoury from what we last cooked.
  • Diapers – they’re super absorbent so I don’t even need to put a bib on the kid!

 Any other ideas?


  1. My daughter does this too!!! It baffles my husband and I, and gets us pretty angry sometimes when we repeatedly tell her to stop 3 or more times a day. She just turned 2, so I’m chalking it up to the fact that the floor grate is cold, and her teeth are coming in. But that doesn’t make any sense… why would she use her tongue if she is teething? We’ve been giving her ice paks to chew on and it seems to be working. Strange!

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