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 –”
“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.