Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Confessions of a Biter Parent

I’ll never forget the first time she bit a friend.  Brett had picked her up from school and when they walked in he placed the sheet of paper on the counter and said “tell mommy what you did” in a very disapproving tone.  What?  My perfect child bit someone?  Well, I’m sure it wasn’t her fault, right?  I’m sure they were picking on her and she was just defending herself?  I mean she is petite and there are mostly boys in her class . . . I could go on and on justifying her actions, right? 

Later on, I was sitting in a group with colleagues and they were asking me about Shelby’s latest adventures at school.  We were laughing about some of the incident reports I had been posting on Facebook.  “Oh, you have a biter, too?” one of them said.  Oh good-someone else who understood!

I can tell you that her teachers assured me in was normal or her age and not to stress about it too much.  But I still felt like I needed to stand at the door of her classroom and apologize to all of the parents as they picked up their child just in case Shelby bit their kid.  You know, they don’t put the “bitee’s” name on the incident report I suppose for fear of retaliation. 

So what to do?  Of course I read everything I could find about toddlers and biting.  I ordered a couple of story books online and read them to her about “No Biting.”  We would talk about it on the way to school: “Shelby, do we bite our friends?” “No” she would reply and shake her head.  Part of it is she had many teeth coming in at one time so I would dose her up with a pain reliever before sending her to school.  That helped a little.

Now, she has moved up to the toddler class and I will say over the past month of her being in the new class her biting has subsided.  (Of course now that I put that in print I will probably have an incident report when I pick her up today).  Her verbal skills are increasing which lessens the frustration and they are much busier in that class which she likes. 

But one thing I have learned is that as soon as this issue disappears, something else will take its place!  Oh the adventures of being a Mom. Did your child go through a biting phase?

Makala Pollard works in Brand Management & Promotions for Texas Health Resources. She is a Stepmom to two boys and Mom to biter Shelby.

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