I'm so lucky my kids don't eat snow. I'm not sure how I avoided this particular problem, but it seems to be an unbreakable habit with most other children, and I don't understand why they insist on doing it. I hear other parents reminding their kids over and over "Don't eat the snow! That's been on the street/under someone's shoes/on the playground, and it's yucky," and yet, so often the targets of these warnings stare blankly back and continue to lick the snow off their mittens and coat sleeves.
Don't get me wrong. My kids have other annoying habits, like Daniel's constant need to make noise all the time, as if there is something wrong with having a silent moment in a conversation, and Anya's tendency to grab on my waist for a snuggle and kiss just when I'm holding a cup of hot tea. And both of them clear their throats so often I have to start taking them to voice therapy. I'm not kidding about this one. The other day on the way to Daniel's piano lesson, there was a solid five minutes of "Ahem..ahem...ahem...ahem...ah, ah, ahem..." from the back seat. It just about makes me cross-eyed, though until we find out whether it's related to drainage from allergies or just an unfortunate habit, I have to be extremely patient. They both stutter on and off, too, so this is rather delicate territory.
But I digress. In any case, the other day I had on public radio in the car, and there was a veterinarian featured on a talk show explaining to a lady on the phone just why it is a bad idea to keep a raccoon as a pet. There are many, many reasons not to keep a raccoon as a pet (why would a person even want to??), not the least of which is that there are nematodes present in raccoon droppings that, when ingested, will crawl up into your brain, cause devastating neurological problems, and then make you die. I know that sounds dramatic, and who goes around eating raccoon feces anyway?
Well. Where do raccoons do their business? Anywhere they want, I would suppose, which would include open sandboxes (note to self: never leave the sandbox cover off at night) and presumably just about anywhere else they happen to wander at night, like yards and parks and other places children play, and yes, eat the snow.
So, I have a message for all children out there who think snow looks like a cool and tasty treat: yo, listen to your mothers and don't eat the snow. It might crawl into your brain and kill you.