Wait a minute….there is no such thing. Admit it.
Your kid will act up. They will do the exact opposite of what you would like them to do. They will yell, talk back, touch everything and possibly….bite.
I know I know…you still have the idea that your child is perfect. In your dreams you see them excel at everything and always say please and thank you. As parents, we consider our children as the perfect little angels.
Let’s cut to the chase. We know this not to be true. Children are not perfect and will never be perfect. But, this doesn’t stop us from believing that they are.
My perfectly sweet, beautiful little toddler(who I think is perfect) bit another child at school. Not only did she bite another toddler in her class, but she did it twice in one day. Yes, I was that parent that arrived to pick up my perfect little girl and the world came crashing down when I realized she wasn’t perfect anymore. How could this happen? Are we bad parents?
After I signed the incident report regarding her “discretion”, I was told by the teachers to not say anything or talk about it in front of Madeleine. Talking about it might encourage her to repeat the act. Well, we definitely don’t want that to happen, so mum is the word (at least in front of her).
On the drive home, so many things were running thru my mind. I wondered if I had an aggressive child. Is she going to be a psychopath when she grows up? Does she need therapy already? Okay, so I am being a bit dramatic, but my head was in a tailspin.
I immediately called my husband; (in code of course) to explain what our perfect little angel did at school that day. Together, we realized that our perfect little sleeper, the one that always smiled and was a “happy” baby….might not be that perfect. How were we going to come to terms with that? Had reality finally set in?
Well, yes it really set in, and FAST. It happened again the very next day! I started to feel like I had the scarlet letter on my chest. I felt the stares and the look away as I entered the classroom. Is this Madeleine’s way of flirting with the boys? What the hell was she doing?
It’s a whole new world in our house. Our little angel had an issue, she was being NORMAL. Yes, you heard me right. Biting is not ideal and we don’t want her repeating that behavior, but it is normal for her age.
Here are Five Realistic Things We Learned About Biting
Our Toddler is Totally Normal
Well, maybe not totally. What we learned is that this is a completely normal stage that all babies/toddlers go through. In fact, the teachers advised me that Madeleine was not the only child biting. (Well, all the better….as long as she is doing what everyone else is doing, then we are ok). No. Biting is not ok, but at least we know she is part of the norm, right?
In order to fix the issue, we needed to figure out why she was biting. We learned that there can be several reasons that your child may be biting. He/she may be teething, suffering from a cold/ear infection or biting as a coping mechanism. So, before you think you have “that” child, relax because this phase will pass and more than likely all the kids that associate with your child are probably biting too, you just don’t know that they are.
To work on her biting, I decided to talk with Madeleine about the issue. When she bit me at home, I looked into her eyes and told her firmly that we don’t bite. Not to pat myself on the back, but after that moment I was not bitten ever again nor did the school give me back my scarlet letter. So, hopefully the problem is squashed.
Whew, I can breathe again. I have to admit, I had anxiety picking her up from school, for fear that I was going to have that note that my child bit again.
When a trigger ignites, try and take them away from the situation and distract them to something else. Another tool would be to give them a pacifier (if that is a tool you are currently using).
Too Early to Tell If She Is Fucked Up
Trust me; I know we are all worried that we are going to fuck up our kids. Every little thing we do as parent’s molds them into the human beings they will become. It’s almost like we are walking on egg shells, worried that we are going to mess them up at every little thing.
Here’s something to remember as parents, kids are very resilient. Yes, the choices you make as parents will shape them as humans and might mess them up a little bit, but who isn’t messed up?
Parenting is about the success and failures your children will have. In order for them to learn from their bad behaviors, they will have to fuck up. The key is to teach them in the moment that they are not to bite. All experiences are teachable moments. Use them!
We Are Not Bad Parents
Do not let this get to you. Unless you taught your child to bite, which I believe you didn’t, move on from this and fast. The more you dwell in this, the more you will start to believe that you are a bad parent.
You can do all you can at home, teaching them how to behave in a positive manner. But, that can go out the window when they are learning other bad behaviors at school. Kids pick up on what other kids are doing and there isn’t a thing you can do to avoid this. Also, it’s just a stage that all toddlers go through. So, really there isn’t anything you can do, but give them lots of love and distract, distract and distract. I promise, it works!
Biting Doesn’t Define Our Child
Just as it doesn’t define you, it also doesn’t define your child. Your child is not tied to this act. They do not have to wear the scarlet letter. Yes, you might be hyper sensitive about your child biting, but it doesn’t define them. They are still your sweet child that loves to smile in the morning, kiss you at night and plays happily at school with the other children.
Focus on the positive things your child does and let the rest go.
Yes, It’s Just a Phase
Trust me; you will not be dealing with an eighteen year old that likes to bite. Hopefully, they will grow out of this phase and quick. Wait, I know they will grow out of it. So, relax. This is just a phase they are going through for the time being. They are testing you and learning boundaries. Just go with the flow at this stage and remember, you are not alone and this too shall pass.
Coming to Terms
If you are feeling defeated with your toddler and the many difficult stages they go through, stop . Remember, there are many more to come. So, just sit back and enjoy the ride. There isn’t anything else you can do, but drink. Drink, drink and then drink some more.
No, seriously. I’m not advocating drinking, just maybe a little vino every now and then. You are going to need it. I promise.
Your toddler will go through many more stages, some good and some bad. At the slightest bit of bad behavior, don’t go running to the hills thinking you screwed up again. No, use humor and laugh. Laugh at the situation and realize its out of your control.
I have come to realize that laughter can get you through anything. I have to admit, I laughed when I found out Madeleine bit again. What else was I going to do, cry?
I decided to turn a negative into a positive and savor the memory. I saved the note from school and placed it in her baby book. When she is all grown up, we can all get a chuckle or two from her childhood. A little embarrassment never hurt anyone, right?