The Biter

Dear Peanut,

You bit my arm last night. HARD. I have a bruise there now, to match the one on my other arm where you bit me the night before. These were only the most recent of too many bites to count. You think it’s a game. Daddy and I are not amused.

We attribute your biting primarily to a) your age and developmental stage, and b) the fact that you’re still teething. Your lower canines are coming in, and those pointy teeth hurt. Before that, it was molars; we know the big ones hurt, too. But we give you plenty of legitimate things to chew on, not the least of which are the refrigerated or frozen teethers actually designed to numb the area and bring you some relief. Of course, you cast those aside within seconds.

You seem to bite most often — and hardest — when you get riled up. When we’re tickling or swinging you around, we always have to be on guard. It really bothers me that I cringe now when I see your open mouth, and not just when we’re roughhousing. Sometimes your bites come when we’re eating meals, giving hugs, or otherwise unsuspecting.

We don’t want to completely stop interacting and playing with you, and there’s no guarantee you would stop biting even if we did. So every time you bite, or try, we immediately stop whatever we were doing, get very serious and sad, and sternly tell you “NO biting; biting hurts!” Sometimes you just smile and laugh. Sometimes, we physically restrain you for a “time in:” that makes you pretty upset, but you haven’t shown any indication you understand it’s a direct consequence of the biting. Or maybe you just forget or get caught up in the moment the next time. You were pretty angry when Daddy held you tight, away from me, for a “time in” right after you bit me last night. Yet an hour later, I heard him tell you “NO biting” again.

Fortunately, you haven’t broken anyone’s skin yet, though you have bitten Daddy and Munchkin as well as me. And sometimes Daddy and I can tell what’s coming — in time to deflect you — by your open mouth and the look on your face as you dive in. What gravely worries me is the possibility that you might bite someone outside our immediate family, and that might bring serious consequences.

We are desperately trying to teach you this behavior is not acceptable. We know you will learn eventually; I’m praying with all my might that it’s sooner rather than later.

I love you,
Mama

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