Monday, June 18, 2007


Opie (playfully; he's just been eating penne jammed onto the tips of his fingers): I bite your finger!

Me: No biting. Biting hurts.

Opie: Biting hurts ... your FEEWINGS!


Whenever a child is injured or hurts another kid, our day care center issues an "ouch report." When I get one, usually I perversely hope that my kid is the victim and not the aggressor. Lately, however, he's been the frequent quarry of a serial biter--he is currently sporting no less than four mouth-shaped bruises as a result of this one classmate's toothiness. (The report never says who the perp is, but my kids will always rat without any hesitation.) One day last week, the teacher turned her back for a few seconds to find me the latest report. Right on cue, the biter chomped on another little girl's arm.

I love the center and I love the teachers. I think they are doing everything they can to redirect Biter Boy, short of assigning a full-time handler to watch his every move. I know the boy's behavior is age-appropriate, and there certainly have been times when my child is the one who bites. At home we spend a lot of time talking about how BB needs to use his words when he is mad, and how he is not a bad boy, but his behavior is bad. Still, I found myself trying to tell Opie not to play with him. Then I felt guilty about encouraging him to ostracize another kid at the ripe old age of 2. Because that hurts feewings.

I wished I hadn't said it as soon as the words left my mouth. What I really hope is that BB outgrows this phase soon. Not so much for Opie's sake, but for BB's own.

Edited 6:43 p.m. to add how much this post bit me on the ass: I quote from today's report: "lots of attempts to bite" and at least one of them was successful. Hello kettle? This is pot.


mothergoosemouse said...

Aw...I think it's natural to not want your kid to come home covered in bruises. Steering clear does not equal ostracizing.

Here's hoping BB gets past this stage soon.

Julie Pippert said...

Listen. My oldest had trouble with this one kid. I tried it ALL. The teacher tried. We both tried talking to the mom, who heard nothing.

Ultimately, I taught my daughter a lesson: walk away.

It's not ostracizing.

She tried talking, using her words. I taught her okay ways to walk away, "I prefer to play over there right now. Bye."

The bottom line is that I am super sensitive about my kids thinking they need to be hurt in order to not hurt someone else. Long story.

So...if you've tried all the "right" things...walk away with dignity and politeness.

I've watched it in action. She's awesome.

Of course, this all started at 4, which is much older.

The 2 yo has a biter she knows. I taught her to say, "No bite me, bite THIS!" and hand over an okay mouth toy. It did cut it back.

GL...I feel for you. I do.

Suzanne said...

I agree -- it's not ostracizing. It's a healthy coping technique!

jen said...

ah...i have the same feelings about incident reports...we want them not to be hurt, but also not to hurt.

Lady M said...

When Q is teething, he will occasionally bite. Fortunately, he's not subtle yet. There's this big dramatic head rearing, giving you a chance to catch his head and find a chew toy. Looking forward to when the biting thing is past. ;)

Mrs. Chicken said...

My hubs and I were just talking about this. He was an elementary school teacher for nine years, and he said biting is, above all, the worst offense. He said even the other kids eventually ostracize the biter.

The kids realize biting is over the line.

Poor Opie! Can he be blamed for fighting back?

bubandpie said...

I feel the same way about the "ouch reports" (new term, though - love it!) - I always think it's worse to hear that your kid is the perp. I wonder what the demographics are on that preference, though? Because I've read things that make me think a lot of parents are the other way around: it's more important to them that their children be assertive and even dominant.

Magpie said...

My child started in daycare at the beginning of a month. Almost immediately, she started coming home with bite marks (and I got the accident reports to sign). By the end of the month, that kid was gone.

But then, another kid started biting - but I think just biting mine. But these two are like siblings - love/hate/love/hate. And mine would come home and say, matter-of-factly, "Sarah bit me" when I asked what she'd done that day. And then it changed to "Sarah didn't bit me". And then one day, she and Sarah were in a tussle about a toy, and mine said to Sarah "go ahead, bite me." Sarah, to her credit, didn't take her up on it.

Long way around - I'm sorry about the biting, and I hope the daycare helps work through the problem.

Mona said...

I should write ouch reports for all the times my son bites me!

TB said...

Poor Opie. Sounds like he's just playing monkey see monkey do, not that that makes it right.

I was a biter, I think beyond the year when it was age appropriate - I was three/four. There was no talk of feelings though, my great grandmother just washed my mouth out with soap a few times.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I thought about this all night and then was going to say, walking away is not ostracizing. But I see I'm too late to the party!

Anyway, I'm sending a bunch of sympathy your way. My son had repeated run-ins with another kid at daycare, but now they're best friends. So, so.

Damsel said...

Echoing pp to say that I hope the situation is resolved soon.

We had the same situation, with Jet being the bitee. I remember being so frustrated ... until I got a report that Jet purposely hit another kid.

Aside from talking to him quite sternly and having him color an "I'm sorry" picture for the other kid and his teacher, there wasn't much I could do. I hated that feeling of helplessness and realized that the other parent probably felt the same way when their kid was biting.

Still, though, it's not right.

Mrs. Wheezer said...

Ah, yes... We are currently between biting/bitee sessions. S. was the frequent victim (she literally followed the biter around until he finally struck), and L. alternated with alarming frequency. It IS easier to get the 'your child was bitten' report than the 'your child is vicious and had the nerve to chomp on someone else's beautiful darling' report.