If I had to pick one directive I used to death when my kids were toddlers, it would definitely be: "Spit that out right now!" Kids just love the heck out of chomping on inappropriate objects, which is why the video of a 3-year-old boy in Tennessee with a live cicada in his mouth doesn't surprise me.
What does surprise me is that no one behind the camera was screaming, "Spit that out right now!"
There are a billion and a half reasons why the weird things kids choose to put in their mouths usually need to be removed asap: Either it's a choking hazard (Lego pieces come to mind); poisonous (I know somebody who ate Ajax as a kid, though thankfully she lived to tell the tale); filthy (Daddy's dirty sneaker); or a plural peril (like the all-time classic filthy choking hazard, a quarter). I'll admit I don't know for sure if a cicada is poisonous and it might be the wrong size/shape to qualify as a choking hazard, but it's gotta be dirty as all get-out and for the love of God, it's a giant bug, wings a-flappin' and everything! That child in the video isn't even mine and I can barely watch him gum that insect without gagging. If it was my son or daughter, I'd be absolutely apoplectic. Watch this:
Am I missing something here? Really, I want to know, I'm not trying to be sarcastic. Maybe kids are supposed to be allowed to commune with nature in this fashion and I'm just uptight from spending so many years as an urbanite. I wouldn't put it past me. My kids could stand some more time spent in the great outdoors, something that crossed my mind last week when my 5-year-old son spotted an earthworm on the sidewalk and said, "Look, a baby snake!" (Whoops. Mental note to take kids on hike through the woods.) Still, I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with the idea of my kids using a cicada like it's a wad of chewing tobacco.
Does this cicada-eating kid gross you out?
Image via YouTube