It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Here be sharks

Remember Daniel? My darling little barbarian? We’ve been working hard on his blundersome tendencies with notable success. After all, he’s a loving, willing, cheerful little guy. Good cheer? Daniel owns the patent. The rest of us have pale imitations.

So, though he remains a sturdy and active little fellow, he really is easing off on the maiming and bludgeoning. Really.

Yesterday, though, was a difficult, physical day. We had commando hugs and hair-pulling. We had inadvertent flattenings and absolutely vertent shoves.

And while I use all these events to train Daniel into better patterns, and to teach the others how to deal with unpleasant events (and manage Daniel a bit), it does get a smidge … repetitive.

1. “MARY!!! Daniel hitted me!”

2. “Did you talk to Daniel about it?”

3. Blink. Blink.

4. “Well, I didn’t hit you. You need to talk to Daniel. Go tell Daniel you don’t like hitting.”

5. “Daniel! You not hit me! I don’t like that!”

6. “Good. Now tell him what hands are for.”

7. “Daniel, hands are for hugging!”

And the sun bursts forth from Daniel’s charming round face, the arms spread wide, and we have much love all round.

Until the next time.

“MARY!!!! Daniel pushed me!”

“Did you talk to Daniel about it?”

Repeat steps 3 – 7. Over and over again. With every child. We’re all learning here. Except Daniel, you might reasonably conclude, but no, over the weeks there’s been definite improvement. Yesterday was a relapse, is all. These things happen.

Things had, in fact, improved by late afternoon, after naptime. (Either that or my reflexes had improved and my deflections were more timely. Could be either, but I prefer to believe it was Daniel.)

Until, fifteen minutes to home time …

Grace, running around the corner from living room to front hall, caught her arm on the doorframe. Quite the whack. I heard it from the other end of the dining room. I heard it and looked up in time to see her approach Daniel, who was sitting on the bottom step. (Also known as the Quiet Stair, but he hadn’t been sent there. He was just sitting there.)

Approach him with her arm extended. “Daniel, I got a bo-bo. You wanna kiss it better?” And …
she places…
her arm …
against …
his mouth.

Yeah, I was wincing, too.

You know how when a very bad thing is about to happen in a movie, it suddenly goes all slow motion? I knew what was about to happen. I started up and across the room, but there was no way I was going to get there in time. A sudden, startling yell would probably only hasten us to our unfortunate end. I hurried, but I may as well have been in slow motion. “Nooooooooooooo...”

Poor Grace. Her yell was entirely predictable. Her poor, unsuspecting arm. Bloody meat dropped into the shark’s tank, really.

“MARY!!!! Daniel bitted me!!!”

Oh, dear. And, yeah, surprise, surprise…

It wasn’t a bad bite. Barely dented the skin, and left nary a mark. But a bite, for sure. We put ice on it, of course. We always put ice on things. Ice is the Miracle Cure at Mary’s house. It was almost a non-event, but it was quite definitely not a kiss.

Poor innocent Grace.
Poor impulsive Daniel.

So what catchphrase now? Lips are for kissing? Teeth are for eating (but not your friends)?

I guess I shouldn’t find this quite so amusing, huh?

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February 28, 2012 - Posted by | aggression, Daniel, Grace, socializing | , , , , ,

12 Comments »

  1. At H’s old daycare they used to say “only food goes in your mouth”. I’m a bit more reactive – a good stern ‘no biting’ followed by lots of attention for the bitten. But poor Daniel, after all there was a target right there in his face. What’s a sturdy little barbarian supposed to do?

    Your response is much the same as mine, but in this case, even though I followed the form, my sympathies were with the sturdy little barbarian.

    Comment by Hannah | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  2. Cute story. I think that if the kids are no worse for the wear then at the very least we should allow ourselves to be amused by their antics. ‘Cause really, it is kind of funny. Kiss me! Chomp! hehehehehe

    Funniest part of this for me was that Grace was surprised. Sweet girl, but a bit of a space cadet, some days…

    Comment by Sheri | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  3. And hopefully Grace has sane parents 🙂

    I had a biter who pretty much always bit as last resort if kids kept taking his stuff.

    One of his peers who learned slowly had nutty parents who threatened with restraining orders and such. Four years later, I still cross the street when I see them.

    It took a good year but my home daycare was finally able to get rid of the nutty family. And my kid stopped biting after 5 months or so. And he still loves his home daycare family and I still totally appreciate my home daycare for standing up to the crazy parent bullies and being patient with my biter.

    Goodness, what an awful, awful situation! The possibility of nutty parents is why there is no requirement in my contract for me to give notice for dismissing a family. I’ve only ever used it once in 16 years (they got a weeks’ notice) and I certainly didn’t do it without a whole lot of (pretty awful) build-up, but I was grateful that one time to be able to remove this toxic family from my daycare promptly, once it became clear that nothing was going to fix this situation.

    Some people are just so unrealistic about small children. Restraining order? On a toddler? As you say, nutty.

    Comment by MB | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  4. not so biter bitter !

    Comment by MB | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  5. Oh boy! I had a child stick her finger in another child’s mouth one time just to see what would happen. Same thing…

    You wonder what goes through their little minds. Not a whole lot of forethought, and absolutely NO consideration to cause and effect, that’s for sure!

    Comment by Kate | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  6. At work, just last week: “Teacher, he bit me!” All teachers nearby on the playground look surprised since the child is not the biting sort. “What happened?” “Well, I put my hand in his mouth and he (pause for effect) *bit* me!”

    I’m surprised no one choked trying not to laugh.

    I’m surprised you all managed not to laugh!

    Comment by My Kids Mom | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  7. I tell people to put BITING IS NORMAL TODDLER BEHAVIOR in their Parent Handbooks but there are always the parents that expect capital punishment for the child who bit their perfect little darling! The ones that fascinate me are the biters who always target the same victim. Sort of like the child is wearing a BITE ME sign on her chest. We had one 18 mo. old who always bit the same one of a set of really identical twins. We never figured out how she told them apart when we had a really hard time doing that.

    Huh. I should put that in my handbook, too! Though, really, I haven’t had any parents make an unreasonable fuss. No one likes to have their child hurt, of course, but, sometimes with a smidge of direction from me, they all take it in stride as one of those toddler things. Which it is!!

    Daniel has a particular biting target … and it’s not Grace, but Rory. Thankfully, Rory’s parents are very sensible, and, moreover, Rory was last season’s biter. His mother jokes that it’s karma.

    Comment by jwgmom | February 29, 2012 | Reply

  8. I feel that this is relevant here: http://www.reallyfabcards.com/media/product_images_L/EM_89Col_L.jpg (particularly the last sentence).

    Comment by May | February 29, 2012 | Reply

  9. I’m a fan of -“Teeth are for eating (but not your friends)?” 😀 I was one of those crazy parents the first time my kiddo got bit but then our awesome daycare provider let me know it was very normal. Thank goodness for calm headed providers like you guys or I would be a mess worrying about things I really don’t need to.

    Comment by Melissa V | February 29, 2012 | Reply

  10. I’m thinking of a variation of the line from “Finding Nemo”: “Friends are friends, not food!”

    Comment by Leigh | February 29, 2012 | Reply

  11. You gave me my laugh for the day. Thanks

    Comment by Theresa Condy | February 29, 2012 | Reply

  12. My older son went through a biting phase – twice. At around 15-18 mo maybe, then again at 2 1/2 or so. Both times he really only bit one other kid, who also tended to bite him. Both times they were best buddies. At least he wasn’t randomly biting everyone and the other parent and I both knew that our kids were taking turns biting, so it didnt feel one sided. I’m sure frustration and lack of ability to use their words played a part. The kids remained friends throughout.

    Comment by Katherine | February 29, 2012 | Reply


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