Remember that kid in your kindergarten class who ate things they weren’t supposed to? You know, the one who smeared glue on her hands and licked it off, and chewed on those fruit-scented markers? I was that kid. At the time, it seemed like the natural thing to do.
My reading skills weren’t quite developed at the age of four, so seeing a bottle filled with a white, creamy liquid and the picture of a cow on the front meant that it must have been milk. I remember it tasting very different than the milk I had at home, but I liked the strange aftertaste it left in my mouth.
Looking back at all the crazy things that I ate as a child, I decided to do some research. I had this notion that my “food” choices negatively affected my health as an adult. I was convinced that there was some sort of correlation and, as it turned out, my theory was correct. As a child, I had a non-severe case of pica, which is an uncontrollable urge to eat non-food items (e.g. sand, art supplies, etc.).
I wasn’t officially diagnosed because my educators and my parents didn’t see any issues with me putting art supplies in my mouth. They thought it was normal behaviour for kids to be curious and to eat everything within their reach. And although I liked to experiment, I wasn’t downing bottles of glue every day, so that probably eased their minds. Once I reached the first grade and my ability to read developed, I stopped eating art supplies for fun, much to my teachers’ and parents’ delight. But the damage was done, and so my non-severe case of pica eventually became iron-deficiency anemia, an irritating but relatively easy-to-manage disorder.
We’ve all done crazy things as children, like putting our siblings in the dryer, using swear words we don’t understand, and prank-calling random houses in the phone book. As we grow, we develop an understanding of social cues and taboos, and how to differentiate between right and wrong. Most of our cherished life lessons arise from childhood occurrences, so we come to accept our mistakes and our blunders as beneficial stepping-stones. Some days I look back obsessively at my early years and beat myself up over the mistakes I've made. However, I always smile and think to myself: at least the glue was non-toxic.
Hoda is a 21-year-old student currently in her second year at Algonquin College for Professional Writing. With an unintentional penchant for awkward situations, she can be found roaming the streets of Ottawa, falling over her own feet, facing everyone when riding an elevator and responding inappropriately to compliments. She spends most of her time with her family, friends, MacBook Pro and books. She is an introvert at heart, and sarcasm is her mother tongue.
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