The Sleeve Chewer

For about a year now whenever Megs has long sleeves on you see it in her mouth being gnawed on  and chewed to pieces! She walks around with soggy, stretched out sleeves most days, looking a bit of a scrat and driving me absolutely mad as she (a) Smells a bit cheesy and (b) tries to talk around her chewing habit and half an arm when you speak to her.
In the summer it was under control, of course she was mainly in T- shirts, but, it is so much more noticeable at this time of year as her wardrobe is mainly long sleeved stuff and jumpers and now is a daily occurrence.
WP_20150827_10_53_04_ProLast autumn she was given (by Grandma) the most gorgeous red shiny raincoat – unfortunately she barely had it 2 months before it was shredded and damaged and looking like tat from our resident sleeve chewer. So now instead of keeping her warm and dry for another season, it instead features in her “quiet book” for church where she practices button fastening and reminiscing of a beautiful coat!
WP_20150930_08_43_26_ProI spend a lot of the day telling her to “stop chewing” or to take her sleeves out of her mouth, to which she laughs, looks a little awkwardly at me and then continues 5 minutes later. I sometimes wonder if she even realises she is doing it? and always wonder the reasoning for it. I know one of Nathan’s sisters did the same for a while and then like most kids quirks, she grew out of it. I have read around the topic, you tend to as a parent when your kid exhibits unwanted behaviours – but explanations involve anything from self soothing to sensory seeking to too fidgety and need to let it out?! I wondered if it was a nervous thing, but Megsie isn’t particularly a nervous child, but rather pretty boisterous and confident. Maybe it is the self soothe path and maybe instead of thumb sucking, hair curling or a fave toy she likes to chew her sleeves? Maybe taking her dummies away at 2.5 has ruined her? Perhaps she likes the taste of Persil? Or maybe like another source I read its sensorial and I need to give her more stimulation? (because apparently rock climbing, dance, park visits, forest walks, crafts, museums and everything else isn’t doing the job).
WP_20150828_12_29_26_ProWP_20150929_09_30_04_Pro…but what frustrates more now is that it isn’t just bound to her sleeves – oh no, she has branched out her gnawing habit to her hair, which becomes crusty, which then makes her scream when I try to brush it each morning. She chews the labels, hands, feet and ears of her soft toys and that is just rather disgusting, to be picking up toys soaking wet in drool and then other day when I picked her up from pre school, her collar was all stretched out down to her belly button as she pulled it into her mouth to salivate on
WP_20150927_10_50_12_ProThat’s the result now – Her clothes are all stretched out and stained (particularly on the cuffs) and some even are developing holes…she is beginning to look pretty scruffy with clothes like that and scraggly hair! I refuse to buy her new ones only to be devoured the 1st day of wearing.

I don’t know the reason behind it and its driving me a bit mad to see her doing it… do any of you know why? Do your kids do it? Do you know how we can help her stop chewing everything without damaging her for life? PLEASE HELP me and my sleeve / everything chewing child…its like having a puppy only she answers back!

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11 Comments

  1. September 30, 2015 / 9:24 am

    Hi. I feel your pain! Our little girl has just turned 3. Never had a dummy or sucked her thumb, but for the last 18 months or so has carried around one of those little teddies with the little snuggle blanket attached. Which she sucks. All day. To death!! It smells and looks disgusting (even though we actually have around 5 of them and have them on a permanent wash cycle). She recently started getting small sores in the corner of her mouth from sleeping with the soggy thing in her mouth. A few weeks ago I decided to take drastic action and tried a number of options. One of which was to cut the blanket off the teddy (I would not recommend this – she looked at my like I had cut off one of her limbs and sobbed for hours). In the end we spent the next morning explaining that teddy needs to go to bed each morning and stays in bed throughout the day (which at least gives it time to dry out and keeps it out of her mouth during the day?) It took a couple of days but she’s got it now and puts him to bed herself each morning. Sleeves are so much trickier though aren’t they? Good luck with it. I’m sure they’ll all just grow out if their little habits in their own time.

    PS – I love your “quiet book” idea with buttons and laces! Absolutely brilliant!

    Popping over via #bestandworst

    • September 30, 2015 / 10:36 am

      Uh oh, I bet you felt like bad mummy haha! I guess it is easier to eliminate the toys this way yes, but your right I can’t make her wear short sleeves in the winter haha I am glad I am not alone in this and there’s nothing weird about her lol

      I wish I could take credit for the book, but its not my handy work – Nope my skills are not quite at that level yet. It was a christmas gift from her Grandma last year and she loves it. It has zippers on the outsits and various toggles and buttons and laces throughout. x

      • September 30, 2015 / 10:38 am

        It’s brilliant! Very impressive and her grandma is very clever. X

  2. September 30, 2015 / 9:45 am

    Sounds…soggy. That’s a tough one. Have you seen the specially desgined jewelry for kids to chew on? Maybe redirecting her to chew something more appropraite might save her sleeves?
    Good luck with it. Let us know how it goes.

    #bestandworst

    • September 30, 2015 / 10:26 am

      OOOOO I didn’t know, but that is such a great suggestion – Ill have to get googling for them x THANK YOU

      • September 30, 2015 / 10:40 am

        You’re welcome x

  3. September 30, 2015 / 12:08 pm

    Oh Mary I haven’t a clue! Love the idea from the Mama above. I hope that could be a solution. It must be the most annoying thing as I bet you feel like you are nagging all day long and all the clothes are getting wrecked. Do let us know if the jewellery works…it must be just a habit that will pass! Good luck and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst. See you soon xx

  4. September 30, 2015 / 7:01 pm

    Oh gosh i wish I had some useful advice to give you but sadly I don’t. The idea from Mama previous reply sounds like a good place to start. I really hope you find a solution that works for you both soon hon.xx

  5. September 30, 2015 / 8:07 pm

    My son used to do it but only with his school jumpers. They were a horrid and frayed mess by the end of the school year. Infact I think his sleeves were about 2 inches shorter he had ate that much of them. Its probably a habit she has got into but some good advice above x

  6. October 7, 2015 / 3:00 am

    My 4 year old chews on everything as well. I bought a “chewy necklace” and a “chewy bracelet” that I redirect her to when I see it. She has always always been a lot more of a sensory child and has to touch and feel everything (she was even a biter for many years). I figured the chewing was an extension of that… I don’t know if that applies to your daughter, but regardless, finding chewing bracelets might help her.

    • October 7, 2015 / 10:07 am

      Thank you – its good to know im not alone with this and maybe the sensory thing is right, it makes a lot of sense as she is quite a snugly girl. I really need to get some of that jewellery x

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