True Blood: New York Edition

August 24th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  7 Comments

I love the taste of baby in the morning.

I love the taste of baby in the morning.

Got home a little early for once yesterday, and my wife arrived from the daycare pickup a few minutes later. “So look at this,” she said, holding out our little boy’s arm to reveal two pairs of dark-red scabs. “That’s a bite.”

At first I misunderstood, because I had just moments earlier been reading a news story about bedbugs. No, she explained: a human bite, from another child.

Now, some of this is to be expected, or at least understood. In the past, he’s nipped at me, and once another kid, himself. But nothing broke the skin, and I had the sense that he was just using his teeth as a third hand. This was different. It was bloody, and showed torn flesh. It looked like a dog bite, and a violent one.

Our daycare center has a policy at moments like this: They will not identify the biter to the parents of the bitee. I understand that, even if it irritates me. The center does not want to get caught in the middle of your-kid-bit-my-kid, well-who-provoked-whom, well-who-was-supervising fight. Better to just move along. They do, however, alert the little monster’s parents.

I find myself caught on a picket fence here. On one side, I am furious that anyone would draw blood from the sweetest child in New York, possibly ever. On the other, I am understanding: it’s another toddler, and even well-behaved toddlers are not reliably even-tempered. Which camp I fall into changes by the minute. More or less depending on whether I’m looking at his arm or not.

Comparable experiences, anyone? Advice? Take it to the comments.


  1. scottstev says:

    August 24th, 2010at 12:48 pm(#)

    The notes I got where my son was the aggressor were much harder for me to take. There was a time, from 9-11 mos. when I was getting a note just about every week (both as victim and perpetrator). My son and his little buddy, just kept fighting then playing on and on. The school was working with both of them, but at that age, they didn’t know how to handle their aggression.

  2. Matt says:

    August 24th, 2010at 12:53 pm(#)

    Let me point out that it’s not just boys doing the biting. While Sasha hasn’t had any incidents at school, every once in a while she bites either me or Jean—usually Jean. Last time she left a big ol’ mark on Jean’s inner thigh, which I’d thought was my job. Anyway, these things don’t often happen out of aggression but when Sasha just gets too excited, as if there’s nowhere for her energy to go but out through her jaw.

  3. Christy says:

    August 24th, 2010at 2:33 pm(#)

    We went through that with our son as well. I also didn’t like the policy that they couldn’t tell who did it, but my son was very advanced in his speech so HE told us who did it (then they would confirm). He was bitten nearly a dozen times by the same boy, who also bit others in the classroom, and at that point I learned that if the bitee’s parents complained, that he could be removed (and had from a previous daycare). This one was doing it intentionally, and the teacher was having to keep him at her side at all times. We were waiting on a new school closer to our house to open, so we just let it go.

    Several months later at the new school, he was bitten again. The very next day, he returned the favor and bit the boy that had bitten him! I was more upset about him being the biter than the bitee, and we had several discussions about why we don’t bite and other ways to react when he was bitten (yell loudly for the teacher is what I told him to do). They had a few back-and-forth bitings, and it finally ended.

    None of his bites were very serious. The worst one came from his ‘girlfriend’ at the first school! I’m hoping this is past us now, but he is back in the classroom with the biter now, and I’ve seen this boy bite another child when I came for pick-up.

  4. Carly says:

    August 25th, 2010at 9:27 am(#)

    My son was the biter once–broken skin, the works. It was horrifying. I would much rather be the bitee. He also told us who he bit. I But I appreciate the standard school policy of not naming names: it reinforces the concept that these are very little kids, adjusting to stressful social situations, for which they often have no words, hence the bites and hits, and are not ‘bad’ or ‘that way.’ Thanks to the school’s swift and kind response–attention to the victim, brief isolation (without yelling/blame) for the perpetrator, discussion of how to use words–he has never bitten since (so far).

    And he has since been bitten twice, with skin broken, by one year-olds, when he tried to pick them up. The little ones can’t say, don’t pick me up, so they bite!

  5. TechyDad says:

    August 25th, 2010at 10:08 am(#)

    When my son was younger, he was the biter more than the bitee. He would get frustrated that he couldn’t walk like the other kids and would lash out. While we worked on that, we didn’t like day care’s plan to stick his pacifier in his mouth to prevent biting. (We had gotten him down to only using it during naps.) We argued that he’d simply take it out to bite. Sure enough, not one week after we said this, he crawled up to a kid, removed his pacifier and bit. Luckily, we got him therapy to help with his walking and reinforced the no biting rule with him. It was a short phase in his life, but a stressful one for us because we (obviously) didn’t like being the parents of a biter.


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