Tuesday, September 25, 2007


So here I sit counting the bite marks on my arm.

Only two are still visible, of the six or seven good, hard bites I received in the space of about an hour earlier this evening.

Graham has developed a habit of screeching, hair-pulling, slapping and then biting when I take away something he's not allowed to play with. Or when I resist his attempts to pull me over to the garage-door opener to which he is addicted. Or when he has to get his diaper changed. Or when I say no to anything his toddler heart is set on.

Was it only a month ago that I was rhapsodizing about the purity of the two-year-old temper tantrum? Karma has really and truly bitten me on the ass for that one.

I have a routine reaction to his outbursts, which I execute exactly just as all the "parenting experts" advise. Down to his level. Eye contact. Strong and firm voice. No biting.

To the naughty step he goes. He sits, compliant, wide-eyed. He tries to catch my eye. He giggles. Tries to make me smile. I resist. Shake my head. No biting.

After two minutes, Okay, get up, let's play. He laughs with delight. His eyes dance. His mouth opens joyfully.

He sinks his teeth into my arm with relish.

And so it goes.

And here I sit. The bite marks are finally fading, but I'm still nursing my lingering guilt. What kind of a mother loses it and screams at her not-even-two-year-old not once, but twice in the course of one evening?

Apparently a mother missing a large clump of hair and sporting two still-visible bite marks.

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Anonymous said...

Oh, of all the things they do, biting is one I hate the most. Mine isn't TOO bad, but occasionally? Wow. The other day at lunch time he bit his baby brother. I think that hurt me more then when he bites me.

There is a book called "Teeth are not for Biting". I don't have it (have the "hands are not for hitting" in the same series) but it looks good.

If you find any useful solutions to the biting issue, I'd love to hear them!

Wendy said...

Oh, Teeth are Not for Biting was a staple in our home for a while. Maddy went through a biting phase. Never with us, she preferred the taste of other people's kids. It was a short lived phase but terrible just the same. I feel for you and just know, he will outgrow it. We do the naughty step too, lately Maddy's thing is pulling the dog's tail or hitting. Fun fun.

Anonymous said...

Thanks - I will definitely get a copy of that book. It's such a frustrating stage but they all seem to go through it and I feel so bad that I'm not handling it very well. Sigh.

Wendy said...

Oh Kelly, you are doing great! Don't beat yourself up, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a mom who hasn't found herself yelling at her two year old on occasion. We all feel bad after, but sometimes it just happens. Forgive yourself and know that biting is terribly frustrating, but completely normal! (sorta like that head banging phase that Maddy and Graham had a while back).

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wendy!

Amanda said...

When my twins were about 18 months my son would bit his twin sister. Hard, all the time. The welts on her back were terrifying. So I did it. I bit my son, hard enough to make him really cry. I felt awful for hurting him, but he didn't understand "no biting". Guess what, it worked! He only bit a few more times after that and each time I did the same to his fingers. After a few weeks it was over! I still have the hitting and pinching sometimes but at least they don't cause blood anymore.

Anonymous said...

My sister used to bite all the time. The only reason it stopped was because my mom bit her. Once. That's all it took and my sister stopped biting.

Anonymous said...

My sister used to bite all the time. The only reason it stopped was because my mom bit her. Once. That's all it took and my sister stopped biting.