Monday, March 25, 2013

She's a biter

It's horrifying to find out your kid is a biter.  Annie comes from such gentle stock (ok, fine, perhaps not me, but Matt) and we were both quiet and good kids, so I'm not sure how she has become so willful and headstrong (and dare I say defiant?). Last week Annie's teacher took me aside at pick-up and told me she's had a biting episode each of the last four days.  "We're working on her words, because she bites when she gets frustrated," Tiffany said.  "I told her mouths were for eating, not biting.  I gave her a strong 'no!' and she just got up, walked across the room, and gave me a smug look that seemed to say, 'You don't say 'no' to me!'"  Upon hearing this I was tickled.  My firecracker.  Of course we were concerned, but the rest of the week there were no remaining biting episodes and I chalked it up to a toddler hiccup.  A little fun story to tell about my sweet, charming kid.  But today Tiffany said Annie had bitten again, and I was to sign an incident report.  The victim also receives their own report, which is horrifying to me as I feel ashamed and embarrassed for my little girl, even though I know she's not malicious, she just doesn't have the vocabulary to say say, "No, I was playing with that!" when her classmate grabbed her toy.  I went home and cried and told Matt, "What if the other family is very upset?  What if they want to know who the biter is?  (It's all anonymous.)  What if their kid was really hurt?"  It hurt knowing my child was getting an aggressive rep.  It hurt knowing that the other toddlers - as they become more conscious of these things - may learn to avoid her.

Annie doesn't bite at home - why would she? - there are no other babies grabbing toys or pushing.  She is an only child who, generally, gets what she wants.  Matt and I decided we needed to start being more firm with our discipline.  Throw your food on the floor?  You're done with dinner.  Want to "play" (e.g. bang) on my computer?  No longer.  She hates sitting with us and reading, but in teaching her to be more verbal, to learn how to start expressing herself rather than grunting, we decided we absolutely will make her sit and read with us each night.  We're not talking 30 minutes here - maybe 10!  But tonight she threw a tantrum that lasted until bedtime.

I read that biting is relatively common, and upwards of 1 in 4 kids will bite at some time.  I read that it is not a future predictor of behavior and it should pass.  But here's the thing - Annie just turned 16-months-old - girlfriend isn't getting a big vocabulary anytime soon!  And, I swear, that girl is getting sly.  She has a wild streak.  Last night at the grocery store she took things from the cart and dropped them on the floor.  I yelled at her - firmly and clearly - and each time she gave me this look that said, "Yeah?  What are ya gonna do about it?" I have a 16-month-old going on 16; lord help me.

One word: TROUBLE.


  1. Thanks for the pictures! It looks like Matt had a great time at the playground. I also enjoyed reading about Annie's latest antics. I laughed through the whole story :)


  2. Cyndy - it's definitely infinitely more funny when you're removed from the situation (even a week or so later I feel better about it!). But the day of, I was like, "Oh lord - what if the parents are at home, pacing, wondering who the culprit is?!"