Monday, November 1, 2010

She's Got Teeth and She's Not Afraid To Use 'Em!

My Poor Shoulder!
Today my darling daughter bit me. Yup, you read that right. In a tiny toddler fit of rage she bit me on my shoulder hard enough to leave a welt and nearly broke the skin. Crazy huh?

Well, crazy maybe, but unexpected? Hardly. My daughter seems to deal with real frustration in two ways; she either throws something or bites something. It doesn’t happen too often, she’s usually pretty good about her tantrums but when they do escalate watch out! The throwing thing I get, I’m pretty sure it’s genetic. I myself like to huck whatever is close to me when I get really angry. The biting though, who knows? Usually she’ll just look around for an object close enough to get so it’s not really a hazard to people but unfortunately today that wasn’t the case. I’ve read that boys are generally prone to yelling, hitting and spitting and girls are generally biters so maybe it’s just par for the course. Either way, it shocked the heck out of me!

So here’s what happened. We were playing upstairs just a bit before nap time. I had told her a few times that we were going to go for a nap soon so I figured she knew what the plan was. When it actually came to be nap time, I scooped her up from where she was climbing on an overstuffed pillow chair and YIKES! An almost full set of chompers lodged right into my shoulder!! It’s amazing that someone so small can have so much power! I instantly put her down. Stood there for a second trying to process what just happened, then picked her back up plopped her in her crib and told her she was in time out. Now the funny thing about that is we don’t even do time outs. But I seriously didn’t know what to do! I was totally shocked that she actually bit me! I was expecting her to freak out and start screaming because I just left her in her crib but she didn’t! Hmm, not really getting the point across to her was I? 

I took a few minutes to calm down myself, I was pretty miffed at this point. Then I walked back into her room, showed her the bite mark, explained that it was incredibly wrong to bite me and that it hurt me and made me very sad. It was actually a bit interesting watching her try to process it all. I think she was a bit confused that she wasn’t actually having a nap even though I had left her in her bed, and trying to figure out if she should be upset or okay! She gave me a hug and said “Sorry Mum!” so I think she at least somewhat got the point.

Now I’m wrestling with the fact that for the first time ever, I’m a bit scared of my own daughter! Obviously I’m a big girl and I can handle a little bite, but if you’ve ever witnessed the sheer power a tiny toddler actually has I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. So many questions ran through my head afterwards like how on earth did my sweet little girl get so crazy all of a sudden? Does she really know that what she did was wrong? Did I handle the situation properly? Do I need some antibiotic ointment? Will she try to do it again? (That last one was definitely going through my head as I nursed her before she went for a nap!)

As parents were often faced with situations that need immediate attention were we can’t let our discipline slide. But how do we know that we’re making the right discipline decision? Are we too firm? Too slack? Are our kids really getting the point? For me it’s always been important to have some sort of a game plan. I generally try to have a decent idea as to what I’d do in different situations. But to be honest, that all kind of goes out the window when you’re faced with the unexpected!

Luckily for me I’m pretty good at keeping my cool. I know my limits and when my buttons are being pushed. I make a point of trying not to discipline out of anger and I also try to have different levels of firmness for different levels of misbehavior. I try to save the loud “mean mom” voice only for things that are extremely dangerous or life threatening, and I try to be a bit more lax with things like spilled cereal or colouring on the walls. I try my hardest to make sure that she understands what she did was wrong while spending time throughout the day praising the good things she does as well. Having a husband who plays and active role helps too. It’s great when he can come home from work and have a dialogue with both her and I about any major slip up throughout the day.

Sometimes as parents all we can really do at the end of the day is hope that we did the best we could. As long as we’re making an effort to steer our kids in the right direction, that’s what really matters. And in my case, I just hope that she’s gotten the “don’t bite mum” message loud and clear. Either way, I think I’ll keep her away from my shoulders for a little while.



  1. great story, thanks for sharing. Oh and sorry she bit you.

  2. Def be afraid to nurse a biter! EEK!

  3. Sheesh, I've been there Charissa! Brody was a wicked little biter. He left bruises on me and his brother multiple times. He even broke skin!! It went on for a few months (he was about 2 yrs) when I finally had enough. He bit his brother again and Ethan was bleeding so I bit him back. Hard enough to feel awful but it was also hard enough to do the trick. He hasn't bit anyone since.

    Good luck and I hope for your sake it was a one time occurrence and that she doesn't have a fit while nursing :P