DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of three -- ages 10, 9 and 6. My parents are both gone, so I can't ask them about a problem I am having with "Ashley," my 6-year-old. Since she learned to walk at about 10 months, Ashley has eaten just about anything she could get her hands on.
She prefers things like hairspray, makeup, cleaners, soaps, baby oil -- and has even tried bleach. I am scared that my child is going to do permanent damage to herself or even die. I watch her like a hawk; however, last night we were at a Daisy Girl Scout meeting, and Ashley went to the restroom and was caught spraying air freshener into her mouth.
I have called her pediatrician and left messages, but he has not returned my calls. I used to think she was just extremely curious; now I'm beginning to think she is obsessed and can't resist the urge.
Please advise me how I can save my beautiful little girl. -- ALARMED IN TOPEKA, KAN.
DEAR ALARMED: The first thing you should do is contact another pediatrician. Meanwhile, lock up the products that are a danger to her. Your daughter needs a medical evaluation, and you must ensure that she gets one as soon as possible. Her problem may be caused by some sort of nutritional deficiency, or she may have an emotional problem.