Christopher spotted something on the floor. He crawled to it, picked it up, and popped it in his mouth. It left something sticky on his fingers, but he didn’t mind.
He explored it with his mouth. It tasted salty and slightly of metal. It was heavy but soft, sort of like his teething toys. It had a smooth texture, smooth but not slick. Christopher liked it.
He bit it, his four tiny teeth doing nothing to mar the object’s surface. It gave a little between his jaws but didn’t come apart.
He moved it around in his mouth and noticed it was making its own wetness, in addition to his saliva. He swallowed the wetness. He wasn’t sure he liked it. But his teeth found things to grab onto around where the wet parts of the thing were: tiny bits that were smaller and softer than other parts of the thing.
Christopher chewed. The texture where the tiny bits were was varied: hard, soft, spiky, smooth, springy, wet. He chewed and licked and chewed some more, deciding he liked the thing. It felt nice, even if the taste was a bit funny.
“Christopher, no!” Mama had spotted him chewing. “No, take that out of your mouth. What is that?”
Papa reach down and scooped Christopher up. “Whatcha got, little man? Spit it out. It’s not food.”
Christopher didn’t want to spit the thing out, but Papa pinched his cheeks and fished it out himself.
“Darling, he got the finger. Do something with it, would you? And don’t leave any more bits on the floor. You know how this kid gets into everything.”
“Oh, Christopher, really. What are we going to do with you?” Mama kissed Christopher on the cheek. “Clean him up, will you, love? He’s got blood on his chin.”
Papa wiped the smear from Christopher’s chin as the wail emanated from the basement. Christopher didn’t like the noise, but he liked Papa’s shirt. He burrowed his head into Papa’s chest.
“That’s my good little man. One day you’ll be able to have the fingers, but only after we’ve cooked them. But for now you’re going to have to be content with strained peas, I’m sorry.”
Papa made the spoon fly like an airplane to Christopher’s mouth. The peas weren’t as nice to feel as the finger, but they did taste better.