Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tidal wave of saliva

In some ways, Sonny is less messy than he used to be. He's rapidly approaching the 11-month mark with us, and no longer needs as many diaper changes. He is usually fairly easy to feed, and chomps down mouthfuls of porridge and rice - ladled out by Mum or Pa - without spilling excessively.

Unfortunately, however, the little fella's tendency to drool uncontrollably has not been stemmed. Indeed, it has accelerated, and rare is the hour that goes by without a great overflow of saliva gushing forth to drench floor, clothes, sofa and any item that happens to come into contact with him. We've taken to keeping a bib permanently tied around his neck, but the deluge of goo cascades past that barrier with utter ease to spot our nice marble and stain our fabric.

Now, we've been told that the reason for this perpetual high tide is that he is teething. That's just hard to buy, however. If he had a tooth for every bucket of saliva he's unleashed, he would be some sort of gothic monster by now, with teeth cramming his mouth and dotting his nose, chin and lip. As it happens, however, Sonny only has three teeth showing. At that rate, long before he reaches his quota of milk teeth, a giant puddle of saliva would have had us swimming from hall to bedroom.

A second theory has it that the goo flows especially when he's hungry, so that it functions as some sort of useful pointer to a good appetite. Now, if this is true, Mother Nature sure over-engineered our Sonny: When he's hungry, we usually have no trouble discerning it, since he'll be pawing away at Mum and mewing unstoppably. Salivating needn't come into it. In any case, Sonny can't possibly be hungry all day, yet the overflow seems an all-day thing.

We're left, therefore, with a third theory, that babies simply 'go through this phase'. That leads us to pose this desperate question: When will it end? Just today, for instance, Sonny was tottering about our hall literally splashing gouts of saliva like some modernist painter filling his canvas. One nice new soft toy (with a massage function for Mum's use) is now drying in the hall. Like land mines, a few globules of spit still litter our floor, ready to trap the unwary. We'll get round to mopping them up... but that won't stop Sonny.

He'll just keep pumping the stuff out.