Don’t Drink the Water
You might hear it if you’re going on vacation. “Just make sure everything you drink comes in a bottle.”
Or you might hear it when there’s a problem with your local water supply. “Officials are advising all residents to boil water.”
We’ve got a new rule in my house today — “Please don’t pick up bottles of water off the ground and drink them. Stick with tap water.”
Andrew, my five-year-old, has been going to day camp all summer. He loves it. He hates Saturdays and Sundays now, because he doesn’t get to go to camp.
Yesterday, while we were in the car on the way home from camp, he proudly told me a story about how he got some “extra” water. Apparently, he found a discarded bottle of water on the ground at camp. (His camp is at a local municipal park.) When he had it in his hand, one of the counselors asked where he got it. “I brought it from home,” he lied.
I couldn’t believe how proud he was of this story. He knows lying is a major no-no in our house. We’ve tried to make it clear that things always get worse if you lie.
But drinking a water bottle you found on the ground in a park? Really?
Actually, I’m not completely shocked. “Found” food has been an issue for Andrew ever since we met him. At his preschool, he’s been caught eating candy and rotten apples that he found in the dirt. At home, he’ll eat anything on the floor. If there’s a potato chip crumb under the table that the dog has somehow managed to miss, I can count on Andrew to find it and eat it.
I’ve tried to drive home the importance of never picking up food you find on the ground, but the message just doesn’t seem to stick. I know that food was an issue in his birth family, and that he learned to grab food whenever he could, but he has been fed with absolute certainty for a pretty long time now. How do I get him to stop eating stuff he finds on the ground?