Monday, November 20, 2006

Biting

Last Friday I dropped Miss A off at her babysitter as usual. I had to write the sitter a cheque so I just put A down and she toddled off to play with the toys. Some of the other kids were already there including a little boy that is a few months older than A. He has been there before on Fridays but not every week.

While I was writing out the cheque I suddenly heard the sitter say “No Biting!” I turned around to see her scolding the little boy. A was laying on her tummy looking shocked with her mouth agape. Then she broke down crying. The sitter quickly picked her up and I went over to see if she was okay. She pulled A's shirt up to reveal teeth marks on her back/shoulder area.

Inside I was horrified. Teeth marks! On my little girl! I glared at the little boy which was silly because he just stared up at me, oblivious to what he had done. She had stopped crying almost as soon as she was picked up and she wasn't even interested in coming to me. I was kind of relieved because it was getting late and I had to get to work. The sitter explained that this boy had become a bit of a biter and that he seemed to do it for no reason at all. I think I could have understood it a bit better if it had been over Miss A stealing a toy or something.

My sitter was clearly upset and felt terrible. I tried to pretend that I wasn't the least bit concerned. “It's okay. Don't worry.” That sort of thing. She must have thought I was a terrible mother. “Doesn't she care that her daughter just got bit?” Yes, I did care. Yet for some reason I felt compelled to act all cool and collected so that I wouldn't make anyone feel bad. Why do I do this?

The whole time I drove to work I felt sick. I prayed that A could protect herself from this wee biter while I was at work. I felt guilty to have to leave her there knowing that she might be bitten again. I kept seeing the teeth marks on her back and hearing her heartbreaking cry.

Peter picked her up later and when I arrived home I asked him if our sitter had told him about the biter. He said that she had and that he'd bitten her again later, this time on the finger. I was angry and inspected her little hand and couldn't see any evidence of injury. He also told me that apparently after that time whenever he even came near her she put up her hand like “Stop it right there buddy!” and kept him away. This made me proud. It was good to know she could defend herself. Peter told me he was annoyed about the situation. He couldn't understand why this kid would bite her either.

I'm trying to keep things in perspective. I don't think that A is going to be a biter. I think she'd already be doing it if she was that way inclined. But our next child could be. The shoe would be on the other foot then. What would I do if it was my child that was biting? How would I feel? Terrible I'm sure. And I would be at a loss.

Any experience with this out there? Any tips?

9 comments:

Jenn said...

Fortunately I haven't run into any little biters. I know my brother was a biter and would always go for my sister. I don't know what my mom did about that. It must just be "in" some kids and not others. Sorry I'm not much help. I'm glad to hear that A started to stick up for herself. Kinda like "talk to the hand". :)

Dawnyel said...

I'm the mother of a biter. I can't tell you the HORROR I felt whenever someone told me about Cam's biting expedition! I would talk to him about it later, but by then, he'd forgotten, and what's the point!
I think you handled the situation WELL! I know if the child's mother had been there, she would have been horrified, and would have wanted the other mother to respond the way you did.
My only other thing is Miss A seems like a smart cookie! She's figured out who's not nice, and can keep him at bay! That's a great attribute, and I hope she continues to protect herself!
Good luck with the whole thing! It's a hard situation, but it will get better!

bon said...

So far so good, no biting Crash Girls. But ya never know who you'll get blessed with next.

It may have been a little easier for me though, 'cause I got mine served up to me early. Birdie is exactly one year younger than one of her cousins, and nine months older than another. As Bird was an early walker, 1yearolder cuz would repeatedly walk right up to her and BOOP! knock her right on her doobah. I was horrified and furious, though I did the same song and dance you did. One year later I got the chagrin of watching Birdie do the exact same thing to 9monthsyounger cuz. These kids really are indestructo. I am NOT an advocate of letting this stuff go, you always have to be right in there corecting and guiding... but it does get less traumatic on YOU.

When LaLa was just a crawler when yet a different cuz walked right up to her and bit her forhead AND her cheek. It might not have been so bad except his teeth, as they skidded along her bony head actually scraped up skin. There was even a fair amount of blood and some tooth tracks. His mama, my SIL was in-tears horrified. My LaLa was just fine twenty seconds later. It didn't hurt my heart one bit, thank heavens! My SIL thanked me a year later for letting it slide and still loving her boy... it was that traumatic for her.

Myself? Have you seen how fast kids heal? The scabs were gone in less than a week and LaLa will never remember. The cousin no longer bites.

this single spark said...

Poor Miss A, but poor little boy too. When I was a kid, family friends had a child named Stephen who was a biter. He got married last year, and all I could think when my mom showed me the pictures was, "Biter."

I think Miss A is well on her way to defending herself. And you are a great mother. Even if you were freaking out internally, you are giving her the chance to work things out for herself. You should be very proud for keeping things in perspective and keeping your cool!

Lynanne said...

Teach her tae kwon do? ;)

Seriously, I've been on both sides of the problem. My first got bit 5 times in 2 days and I was so angry at the daycare for not watching the kids closer. I was so terrified the bites would get infected or my child would be traumatized. Then, my younger son came along and was the one biting everyone. I was terribly embarrassed and hoped the other parents wouldn't find out it was my child. It's a bit ironic but I also wished the daycare would keep a closer watch on the kids. (even though I know this is silly because it happens so quickly)

I guess it's just a stage the kids go through. It sounds like A. has it figured out and knows to give this child a wide berth. Hopefully the other kid will get the message.
It's still hard, I know. I felt awful in both situations.

Nikkie said...

Poor little Baby A. Its things like that I worry about sitters. You handled it awesome. I'm not sure I would have been able to keep my cool about it. I know if my little guy was a biter, or pusher, or violent to anyone in any sort of way I would be beyond embarrassed, and I would do everything in my power to teach him that its wrong. I do believe she's well on her way to defending herself.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I've had my kids be bit AND be biters... actually my oldest bit my neighbor's boy on the finger. They even took him to the doctor for it! I of course paid for the doctor visit and felt horrible, but did everything that I'd want someone else to do if it happened to me.

It happens and I don't think it has anything to do with the child being a demon kid or anything- it's a phase some kids go through and usually it's short-lived.

Melissa said...

When my oldest was about two years old, I made friends with our neighbor. Her son was exactly the same age as my son, and they even shared the same birthday.

Her son was a biter. He'd bite my son for what seemed like no reason whatsoever. I felt like you, compelled to remain cool on the outside, but inside, I was livid.

My neighbor was very apologetic, and she would scold her son, but it didn't stop the problem. I have to say it put a damper on our playdates. Eventually they moved away and that ended our experience with the biter.

I agree with dawnyel, Baby A responded great by defending herself. You should be proud! She knows where to draw the line and protect herself. Some adults can't seem to do that!

Keep an eye on the situation, but I'm sure things will work out.

plantain said...

I may have the beginnings of a biter on my hands... he's only just turned one and he's got two upper and two lower teeth... It's hard to know what to do.. because if you make a big drama out of it.. then they're doing it next time to get that reaction.. but sometimes I feel like it's just 'cause he's bored... or sometimes it's an affectionate thing.. and he doesn't know how to kiss... I usually just say "Biting hurts mummy... just give kissess" and I touch his teeth then shake my head (although I think he loves this part because he shakes his head 'no' at everything) then give him a kiss to show what's acceptable. I don't know that this is even the 'correct' way of approaching this.. as he's still doing it every now and again.