Not MY Child!

I got the dreaded call from daycare the other day.  No- not the “your child has a fever so pick him up now and don’t come back tomorrow either” call.  But the “your child bit someone” call.  Yikes!

I’ve been on the other end many times, but I always thought the biter obviously wasn’t well disciplined or as well mannered like my Boog.  But here I was in uncharted territory.  What do I do?  What do I say?  Is my child going to be kicked out of daycare?  And importantly. . . What happened to make my Boog do this?  MY child doesn’t bite!

Of course, when I got to daycare later that day, the story didn’t get any better.  Boog jumped (unprovoked) onto another child and bit him.  So, as any good parent would do, I had a little heart to heart with my little guy.  It went something like this:

Me:      “Did you bite someone today?”
Boog:   nod
Me:      “Do you know that’s not nice?”
Boog:   no response as he’s distracted by a nearby toy car
Me:      “Boog.  Look at Mommy” (repeatedly)
Me:      (after giving up on eye contact) “Biting hurts.  It’s not nice.”
Boog:   “Shoes.  Shoes.” (his way of asking me to take off his shoes)

OK.  So maybe 23 months is a little young for a true heart to heart, but how do you teach your child that it’s not nice to bite (or that he shouldn’t say “no” to everything, which he also does a lot these days.  “Boog, time for a bath” “No”; “Boog, let’s eat dinner” “No”; “Boog, you have to share” “Noooo”; “Boog, put your shoes on” “No No No No”) This picture demonstrates how we always see Boog- in the blur of No…


Until I figure it out (or until Boog is old enough to really listen and understand), we’ll keep cheering on his happy, nice moments (there are still a lot of these!) and sternly telling him when he’s not being as nice as he should be.

Plan B is something my husband found as a raging debate on-line. . .if your child bites, bite him back so he knows how it feels.  (just kidding. . . I’m still more likely to eat Boog up for his cuteness!)  Actually, I did find some other helpful blogs out there on “cranky kids” to help me realize that I’m not alone in the situation or figuring out how to deal with it. 

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9 Responses to “Not MY Child!”

  1. Monica February 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm #

    LOL – I’m laughing with you. Brianna is the biter in our house but it’s her lil’ sis not classmates. Kiersten appears to be tasty because her classmate bit her too. Hopefully it’s a one time thing for Boog.

    I love the no, no headshake. We have that too. No is a favorite word around our house but it comes from both child and parent.
    Time for your bath. – NO
    Can I paint something (2 minutes before dinner is ready) – NO
    Please clean up your mess – NO
    Can we go play outside (while in Sunday dress and it’s raining) – NO
    Please share with your sister – NO
    Mommy will you share your make-up – NO

    Take care :)

  2. Patsy February 13, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    I thought we were the only ones:}! Ella is hitting that same stage of “nos” and temper tantrums, etc. Even had to leave a restaurant the other night before our food came — and she’s not even 2 yet:}! Love the picture of “no” in action:}! From what I hear, this too shall pass:}.

  3. Amy February 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    I must admit to being thankful that MY son was not the biter (sorry – Am!). He was on the receiving end a few times (that FLETCHER!), which was a few times too many for this first time mom. But, the biting passed, and the biter turned to hiting and kicking and throwing things. But, now that Fletcher is 6, he has stopped biting and kicking and has turned into a typical first grade boy. I’m sure Boog won’t be FLETCHER, and even if he is, that too shall pass. And, if it is any consolation (I’m not sure it is for me, but should be for you), but my son is now good friends with Fletcher, and has no memory of FLETCHER, The Biter.

    Oh, and I decided to leave out the story about how one of my daughters (Parrot) decided to take a large bite out of the cheek of her twin sister (Monkey) at around 2 years old. Daycare didn’t call, since it was just a “family issue” (she never bit any of the other kids). For me, it was just as embarassing (and maybe more so!). Thankfully, it was shortlived, and now my 3-year-going-on-13-year-old twins are already climbing into each others beds after “lights out,” talking quietly so as not to get caught, and becoming the best of friends (as long as no one touches Monkey’s pink pants)….

  4. Kim February 13, 2008 at 9:05 pm #

    So my nephew is a “biter.” We see it all the time at school. Ella has one in her classroom and there is always one in the two year old room. Keep up the praise and look on the bright side he admitted to being guilty- he’s an honest child :-) Taking his shoes off is much more important than having a “talk.” I am hoping to get some good advice on all these situations when Ella gets older, so good luck and keep me posted. He is too cute even if he has a defiant side. xoxo

  5. Fran February 13, 2008 at 10:01 pm #

    Amy, you should be so embarrassed… Just kidding!!! Natalie has not bitten anyone (yet), but has definitely been on the receiving end several times. Her daycare givers felt bad having to explain the red teeth marks on her arm.

    It is tough (OK, impossible) to reason things out with a 23 month old. Good luck making sure Boog doesn’t bite anymore. Any advice when my almost 3 year old hits mommy and daddy? She sure has been learning a lot since moving into her new daycare room, and now wants to practice on her parents. Not good. I though we had gotten our point across yesterday, but then she announced today that she was going to hit us again. This phase will pass too, right?

  6. Amy February 14, 2008 at 9:20 am #

    Thanks, everyone for all your comments! Although it sounds like there’s no solution to the biting problem :-( and it looks like I’ll have much more fun ahead (ie., hitting), it’s really helpful to know I’m not alone and that this is a normal phase — my fingers are crossed anyway! I’ll keep you posted on the progress — and especially how he does once the new little one joins us (fingers REALLY crossed!)

  7. Em February 14, 2008 at 9:19 pm #


    When my little girl was 22 months old I picked her up from daycare and she wasn’t herself. When we got home I asked her if she was okay? She looked at me stretched out her hand and said sadly, “Teddie bite!”. Sure enough she had 3 faded but distinctive bite marks on her hand. I was aware of the “biting culture” in the 2s but was not prepared to face it in this way.

    Why didn’t daycare write up an incident report? Were there other things going on that were being covered up?
    Next thought was where is this Teddie and how big is his mother?

    For a few hours I raged to my husband, sister, and neighbor. I got it together and forgave myself for not protecting her. Everyone I spoke with relayed biter stories including my neighbor (sweet, mild mannered older woman) who claimed she had been a biter herself….I found this very funny.

    Fast forward 8 months……I hear a yelp from the playroom where my daughter is standing sheepish in one corner of the room and my son (1 year) is whaling and holding his hand out. The “bitee” became the “biter”.

    I have to say my conversation was a piece of cake compared to any other timeout talk. It went like this…..”do you remember how you felt last Spring when Teddie bit your hand?” She looks down at this point. “That’s how your brother feels right now.” With that she bursts out into tears that screamed of guilt and recognition that she wished she could have a do over.
    I spared her the pain of confirming that she would never do this again b/c I was sure that we were on the same page.

    It took me 8 months to appreciate Teddie’s bites. Hopefully I am not echoing the same sentiment 8 months from now when I discipline my son for knawing on one of his playmates…..”do you remember how you felt when your sister bit you?…..we’ll see.

  8. Eric February 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Amy. I’ve been meaning to send you this for a little while now, but it seems to mesh well with the topic of this blog post. I haven’t gotten through the whole thing, so I don’t know if it specifically addresses biting, but it’s an interesting examination of what is going on in a toddler’s head and how to communicate with them.

    I attached the link below. Hopefully it works.

    HEALTH | February 5, 2008
    Well: Coping With the Caveman in the Crib
    Trying to teach parents the skills to communicate with and soothe tantrum-prone children.

  9. Amy February 17, 2008 at 9:40 pm #

    Eric, it looks like the link works. Thanks for the article! I tried it tonight at dinner (to convince Boog that he had to wait until AFTER dinner to have dessert). It seemed to quiet him down — but only temporarily. Once he realized he still wasn’t getting what he wanted, he got upset again.

    Don’t worry, I’ll try it again though!