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Short Reads

A Spoonful of Sugar

A toddler admitted for poor feeding sits cross-legged on the hospital bed, clutching a takeout soup container in their feet. My first thought is that the periorbital edema has significantly improved after diuresis, but my attention is soon drawn to the large stainless steel serving spoon clutched in their hand. I noted some fine motor delay in the grip and associated movements.

They were pleased, using the oversized utensil to feed themselves from the container while watching CoComelon on a smartphone propped against the railing. With each bite, their open mouth revealed numerous caries that would strongly benefit from the attention of a dentist. Still, the scene was cute, and I smiled. The patient’s mother (only one parent allowed in the room at a time in the COVID-19 era) noticed my attention.

“They love their sugar,” she beamed, gesturing to the explanation for the child’s poor dentition. Contained within the paper bowl was a pile of pure granulated sugar.