It started this week when he bit my father twice. Once it was hard enough to almost break skin. He was punished severely each time with a combination of time out, loss of his favorite toys and even a spanking when he copped an attitude after the fact and was seemingly unrepentant. It really took us by surprise because usually kids go through biting phases early in toddlerhood. But Will never did. And to bite my dad twice despite punishments had me miffed. But it turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg.
He bit another kid at preschool today.
The teacher told me what happened when I picked him up. They said he was playing with another boy and Will was pretending to be a dinosaur. Then he hauled off and bit another boy on the arm. Pretty much a carbon copy of what happened the times he bit my dad.
The rage that welled up inside me as Will’s teacher was telling me what happened was almost too much to contain. Seriously, I’m thankful there were plenty of people around because I would’ve given him the single biggest bare-assed spanking of all time. After all the talks we had about why biting is bad, how it hurts people, how mom and dad are disappointed whenever he does it. After all that, what does he do? He goes out and bites a kid.
Now before all the pseudo (and actual) child psychologists out there tell me he’s acting out because of all the big changes lately and blah blah blah, I get it. I understand big changes often bring about behavior that screams for attention. But he’s got our full attention. And the attention of my parents. This kid wants for nothing and yet he’s biting kids in class.
And since I’m being honest, it’s horribly demoralizing and humiliating to have the teacher tell you your kid is a biter. To have her point out older kids such as Will are usually well beyond that kind of thing, asking if everything is OK at home, etc. I wanted to hide under the nearest water table and never come out.
Seriously, I feel like I’m raising Hannibal Lecter. When I was helping him clean his room I kept worrying I’d find a human liver, fava beans and a nice bottle of chianti.
Not to mention we’re the new parents at the preschool and now we’re gonna be branded as the parents of the biter. I don’t care how thick you think your skin is, it’s really easy to crumble when it suddenly feels as though you’re the worst parents in the world when everyone finds out you’re raising a cannibal in training.
Ugh. We’re dealing with it as best we know how. I told him how disappointed I am in him. I asked him if he knows why biting is bad and he does, saying “Because it hurts people and that’s mean.” I’ve taken away his favorite toys and made it clear why he’s losing them and how good behavior can get them back. And even though I did get mad at him, I also told him I love him, we all make mistakes and that I know he’s a good boy. Other than that, I’m just not sure what else to do.
People always tell me to look for a silver lining. I guess if he ever becomes a professional soccer player whose plane crashes in the Andes, he’ll have no problem surviving. And, when he becomes an infamous serial killer in a couple of decades, perhaps I’ll stand to make a tidy profit when I sell the rights to his story.
Or this could mean he’s on the brink of becoming a famous sports broadcaster. Only time will tell.