This morning, my maid made me steaming mad again. Baby had woken up early today. Just as I was about to leave the house to jog, she woke up. This time, I didn’t want to bring her along to jog as I wanted to buy some chicken meat at a nearby stall, so I left her in the playpen in the living room to watch TV with her 2 sisters. Baby would be happy if she sees her 2 sisters around her.
When I came back from my jog, I saw Baby licking on something white. I went closer and had a shock of my life. She had a pencil in her mouth… with the pencil lead part inside her mouth. I was absolutely horrified and quickly snatched the pencil from her. I was even more horror-struck when I noticed that the pencil lead was missing!! Baby had eaten the pencil lead. The word LEAD and cancer, mental retardation, poisoning, kidney and liver failure and all disorders kept flooding my head that was boiling and about to erupt steam and lava on my maid. As usual, my maid kept giving me a pack of lies – that the pencil had no lead, that she had just given Baby the pencil, etc. etc…. lies that made me even more furious. I checked the piece of paper that my maid had given Baby and my suspicion was confirmed – there were pencil scribbles on the paper but my maid further denied that the pencil had NO lead… and she further agitated us by saying “saya cuma bagi their main-main saja, bukan makan” (I only let her play with the pencil, not to eat). What a ridiculous answer!
I quickly opened Baby’s mouth and checked her tongue and teeth. My suspicion was further confirmed. Baby’s teeth had black pencil marks on them but that id*ot kept defending herself….aargh. Hubby and I really wanted to slap that lady. I quickly wiped Baby’s mouth, tongue and teeth. I quickly checked her playpen and was hoping to find the pencil lead there but no, the pencil lead was no where to be found. I think it’s inside Baby’s stomach! I quickly SMSed Baby’s surgeon and asked for advice. I also quickly did a Google search on ‘toddler ate pencil lead what to do’. And this is what I found, which was quite comforting:
During the first two or three years of life, your child is bound to go through a phase of putting things other than food into his mouth. He’ll chew on his toys, taste the sand in the playground, and sample the cat’s food if given the opportunity. As annoying as this can be for you, few of these things will cause him any serious harm, as long as you keep poisons and sharp objects out of his reach. Lead is one dangerous substance; however, that your child can consume without your knowledge.
Contrary to popular belief, lead poisoning is not caused by chewing on a pencil or being stabbed with its point. The so-called “lead” in a pencil actually is harmless graphite, and there is no lead in the paint coating the outside. Lead poisoning is most often caused by eating lead contained in bits of old paint or in dirt that has been contaminated by lead, by breathing lead in the air, or by drinking water from pipes lined or soldered with lead.
My surgeon replied my SMS and gave me a similar answer. I was much more relieved but still not totally at ease. I really don’t like the fact that my baby ate some kind of chemical. Graphite is carbon and having my baby who had recently gone through 2 surgeries ingesting carbon really ain’t a pleasant thing.
I was at fault too today. I should not have left Baby with my maid, though the hubs was asleep in the bedroom. Knowing how careless, stubborn and ignorant she is, I should not have relied on her. Stupid me. I ought to have my head banged on the wall! I have been telling her every day on end to never ever give Baby a pen or a pencil to play with, without any adult supervision. I have also been drumming into her head as well as Aly and Sher’s that pencil lead is toxic and poisonous but my maid is just one stubborn lady. Today’s incident had taught me a lesson. Never ever leave Baby with my maid alone again.