I Blame the Vampire Trend

I knew something bad had happened when Skye returned home from daycare yesterday and Mr. Candy handed me a note.  Notes from school are rarely good news and almost always end up costing parents money and/or causing gray hairs.  This time it was the latter.

“Skylar bit one of the kids today.  Could you please talk to her about it?  Thanks, Teacher M.”

“Could you please talk to her about it?” they asked.  No problem!  I will have a heart-to-heart with our 20-month-old to determine the root of her anger issues, then ask her to reflect on the Dalai Lama’s writings on nonviolence.  Right after she’s done putting Strawberry Shortcake stickers on her head.

I am not minimizing the seriousness of the bite — my first thought was, Oh crap, followed by Why? followed by Does this mean she needs more meat in her diet? — but trying to have a conversation with a child this young hours after the incident occurred is about as effective as Kevin Federline’s method of birth control.  Nonetheless I did my best to talk to her, as suggested.  I really did.

“Skylar.  Skylar?  Skylar!  Please stop wiping Elmo’s butt for a second –”

“Elmo poo-poo.”

“Yes, you’re right.  Elmo needs a new diaper.  But –”

“Poo poo poo.”

“Skylar.  Did you bite Alex today?”

She nods.  Then again, she automatically nods when I pose most any question except when I ask, “Could you please stop dumping that yogurt in your hair?”

“That was not nice.  We do not bite.  Ever.  NO BITING.  Do you understand?”

She nods again.

“We use our teeth to eat apples.”  I bite into an apple for dazzling visual emphasis.  “And we kiss with our mouths.”  I give her a kiss on the cheek.  “But we do not bite other people.  Okay?”

She nods again, resumes wiping Elmo’s butt.

“Wow.  Elmo must have a lot of poo-poo.  Did he swallow a box of laxatives?”

She nods again.  Of course.  I turn to Mr. Candy.

“I wonder if she did it out of frustration.  Alex is always pushing her down, you know.”

“You sound like such a mom,” Mr. Candy said, shaking his head.

Well, duh.  I am a mom.  And any level-headed mom knows this kind of behavior could never be her angel’s fault.  As it so happened, I was getting a break from bed rest to drop off Skye at daycare the next day, so I would be able to get the real scoop on the biting situation.  You know, the scoop that involved Alex trying to dropkick my daughter and her biting him in self-defense.

“Did you get my note?” Teacher M asked when we walked through the door late this morning, interrupting a rousing classroom rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

“Yes.  I’m so sorry she did that.  But I was curious… Did anything prompt her to do it?”

All the teachers looked at each other, collectively shook their heads.

“She was having problems reaching a toy.  So she bit Alex.  We were really surprised.”

Huh.  That was not how this mom had envisioned it all going down.

Once again I apologized profusely for my little Mike Tyson and promised to keep reinforcing that BITING = BAD — at least until she’s old enough to go to a Nordstrom Rack sale where biting other shoppers pawing at your marked-down wedges is not only encouraged, but respected.

Addendum:  In response to the messages I’ve received, YES, daycare also immediately took the appropriate course of action and we are all keeping a close eye on the situation.  I tend to leave out (sometimes important) details in the interest of length and humor.

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Candy Kirby

Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

10 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Wow. Anyone involved with children know that kids that age need immediate intervention. More than one minute removed from the situation they will not understand to what you are referring. Much like a dog! Bringing it up many hours later is absolutely useless. I’m starting to wonder about that daycare of yours Candy. Have they had any formal training?

  • I removed my 22 mo. old daughter from a daycare a few months ago after she had been bitten four times. Three of the bites were from the same child. She was bitten on the back twice and on her hand twice and had bruises. And no, none of it was “prompted”. She was just “in the way”, so to speak.

    It is a serious thing, horrible for a parent to see. You should definitely be working with the daycare to actively discuss what can be done to discourage her, and ask what they are doing. I hope for your sake she doesn’t do it again. I feel your frustration, but just know, it isn’t fun on the other side either.

  • Now I feel bad that I didn’t give daycare the proper credit: They immediately pulled her aside and let her know that biting is not acceptable. They also read a book to the class called “Teeth Are For Eating” (or something like that) to reinforce the message and promised to keep an extra-close eye on her. They’ve had a lot of experience in this area (and almost all have degrees in early education). They just requested that we also talk to her at home — not sure how much good that does, but it can’t hurt so we continue to do so.

    Sorry to hear about your experience, Globalized. Skye has been on the receiving end, as well. As Mr. Candy noted, “The bitee has become the biter.” A common and unsettling problem with children this age, unfortunately.

    I just hope it’s not related to her stress/frustration with the bed rest situation.

  • Oh no! This is why we don’t do daycare…my son would probably be the biter. It’s so hard when they’re old enough to have such strong emotions & desires but lack the vocabulary to make them known! Hang in there!

  • PS I don’t think their story makes sense…she couldn’t reach a toy so she totally switched gears, went and found this other kid, and bit him? I’m pretty sure you have to be extremely close to someone to bite them. I bet he was in the way and they weren’t watching.

    • You’re exactly right — he was in the way and, as I later learned from an assistant, also took her toy. Doesn’t make her behavior any more acceptable, but at least now I can try to teach her other ways to communicate her frustration in that type of situation. I can’t believe I’m now in a position where I have to ENCOURAGE her to say “no,” but alas…

  • our son bit another kid in our playgroup a few times when he was about 2 yrs old. we tried a bunch of different things to rechannel his urge to bite like giving him a plastic teething ring to bite instead (what our pediatrician reccomended) but none of it helped. he grew out of it in a month. like Maman said I think kids this age get upset when they can’t communicate with words and act out with biting. miss skye will grow out of this soon, don’t worry. Good luck!

  • My son went through a biting phase very much like Freya describes — he was frustrated, trying to use his mouth to communicate but didn’t have words, so he bit. Like her son, mine grew out of it quickly. And my Miss S is in the midst of it right now. If she were in daycare, I’d be getting notes ALL the time! Hang in there! Just keep communicating that biting is hurtful and she’ll grow out of it. (I also told my son he was allowed to bite stuffed animals and I’d give him one to bite when I saw that he was getting frustrated. That actually worked well for him.)

  • Any child I ever met has bitten at one point or another. That’s life! You’re such a good mommy. She’ll grow out of it.