Beware: Biter on board

by CountryFriedMama on September 4, 2009

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Not a day goes by when some nice, old lady at the post office/supermarket/playground doesn’t lean over Belly and say something like, “Those cheeks look delicious.  I could just bite you!”

Apparently, Miss D. has been thinking the same thing all this time.

Yesterday morning, after a lovely open house at Miss D.’s pre-school, we started to say our good-byes.  I was making plans with some other moms for a trip to the zoo.  Some little girls were cooing at Belly.  The teachers were talking and laughing.

And then, I heard a horrid, horrid scream.

I looked down, and Belly was shrieking in her stroller with a very distinct set of teeth marks on her cheek.  I didn’t need CSI to see that the bite matched Miss D.’s mouth.

While I tried to assess the damage and comfort Belly, the teacher dealt with Miss D.  This was lucky for Miss D.  Her very patient teacher was far more calm and nurturing about the whole thing than I would have been, had I not been so utterly focused on trying to calm Belly and keep from crying myself.

Before naptime, I tried to talk with Miss D. about why she did this awful thing to her sister.  She was very upset, but she couldn’t tell me anything about what she was feeling before she took a taste of Belly.  We talked about a punishment, and she fell asleep.

During her nap, I thought about how Miss D. must be feeling a need for more attention, or feeling threatened by her sister somehow. I vowed not to mention the biting again, but to try harder to give her what she needs.

We went for ice cream after naptime.  We played.  We sang songs.  And then, while I was making dinner (the cause of far too many problems around here), Miss D. bit Belly again.  On the face.  Again.

Belly has a nasty bruise which I hope will heal quickly, but we are all a little bit scarred this morning.  Miss D. has lost her beloved dress-up clothes, and she will not get them back until Belly’s boo-boo is gone.

I would love to hear from anyone who has faced this with her own kids.  I suspect this is not unusual behavior.  Right?  Please?

We’re heading to the zoo today, where lions, tigers, and…umm, no bears….where lions and tigers tear their food apart with sharp teeth.  I hope this isn’t the wrong activity for the day given our fiasco yesterday.  Maybe we’ll just hang out with the monkeys and watch them gently groom each other.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber September 4, 2009 at 9:11 am

This is pretty normal. My kids have bitten me a lot – they often stick to family members in particular. This can be sort of good because it means they’re not so likely to go after friends and teachers. It’s not a sign of poor parenting or anything like that. They just experiment a lot, and biting is one of the things they experiment with.

Miss D will grow out of this. In the meantime, you’re just going to have to really be on top of her. And go easy on yourself and her – she’s just little, this is not a sign of anything other than her age.

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Kim @ FistfullofDandelions.blogspot.com September 4, 2009 at 11:20 am

My niece went through a biting phase when she was teething.

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ck September 4, 2009 at 7:47 pm

It sounds like she’s coping with the stress of change. Not the kind of stress to worry about, but the natural stress that comes with changes like this one. And, in her defense, Belly really does have the best cheeks.

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September 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm

You are not alone! Far from it. Our neighbor watched a few kids so that she could stay home with her own. Feeling threatened by the younger, newer and in my daughter’s eyes possibly cuter addition to their playgroup she bit the poor unsuspecting infant on the arm. The parents wanted us removed from the group. Sweet Miss Sophia was very experienced with this sort of thing and calmed the parents down. Sort of. They still eyed us suspiciously when our paths crossed during drop off and pick up. And happily, under the loving watchful eye of Miss Sophia our daughter outgrew the habit quite quickly. This, too, shall pass, Mom. Don’t beat yourself up.

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Bubbe September 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm

I do think that was a good punishment…..taking away something beloved until Belly’s bruise goes away. That good end the matter right there.

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KathyB! September 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm

I like the fact that you gave her a punishment with a link to the crime (no clothes until the bruise heals). Make sure you remind her of that conversationally. NOT punitively. Reinforce when she is using her words positively (even if it’s grumpy and fussy) rather than biting. And tell her when you are frustrated. Even if you are frustrated with her. Talk about how YOU feel and how you come to find an acceptable resolution to your frustration.

So much psycho babble. I didn’t get it from a book, but as I reflect back it’s what has been successful for us. So… There’s no science behind my recommendation.

Proceed with caution.

And how many times have I commented that I could eat/bite Belly… seriously consider a mommy and Miss D night.

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faemom September 5, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I think you did well. I just throw Evan into a longer timeout when he intentionally hurts Sean, but maybe I should take something away like you.
Of course there’s the old school method. My brother bit me ONCE. My mom grabbed his arm and bit him back. Yeah, not so much today, right.

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Freedom Debt Relief September 7, 2009 at 1:33 am

It is normal behavior but do keep a close eye on your kids, nothing to worry much your kid will grow out of this. Take them to Zoo it would make them happy.

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Plus September 7, 2009 at 8:26 am

Very neighbourly post but there are some burden where I last wishes as not agree. But blanket its completely good.

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Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings September 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

Jonathan went through this phase with me. I think he wanted to see what kind of reaction he’d get. The one time he bit me so hard on the shoulder and I screamed. He started bawling and I think that’s the last time he really bit me.

I do believe it is normal. My sister-in-law said her daughter did the same thing one time to her younger daughter. They will grow out of it, but talking to them is a very good idea.

(Plus is a spammer, huh? I hope so because otherwise it makes no sense)

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Bill Bartmann- September 9, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work

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