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Chompers and Tattletales

As I walked into Purple room to get Fussypants from school the other day, one of his friends (let’s call him L) rushed me…mind you this was before I even had a chance to see my son…and started pulling his shirt away from his shoulder while telling me in a really loud voice that Mattias bit him. I felt ambushed.

Tot L’s mommy was there too and had already had the chance to read the Incident Report but I hadn’t made it to the table with my son’s folder yet so I hadn’t had the opportunity to read my version of the Incident Report, which just said, “Bit a friend while playing today”…gotta love the details.

As Tot L was tattling, Fussypants ran up to me and started getting clingy, saying no I didn’t, no I didn’t. Next thing I know I have Tot L’s mom there and the teacher. Tot L’s mom was looking smug and exclaimed, “I love this age and that they tell you who bit them” and the teacher was trying to have us not talk to each other about it because school policy is to keep all violence anonymous.

The back story here is that when the boys were in the I/T room (Infant/toddler), Tot L was the biter and Fussypants was the victim. Tot L singled Fussypants out and bit him hard, leaving teethmarks that lasted weeks, three times in a row. I was livid and met with the school Director because I didn’t understand why, when I was paying a fortune for a 4:1 student/teacher ratio, this had happened on more than one occasion. As a parent, I was trusting these people to keep my son safe. At first I was told that Fussypants did everything right, he used his words and told the boy no biting and that he didn’t like it but biters bite at that age because they don’t have the words to express their feelings so they get frustrated and resort to animalistic tactics. So having another child talk to them about how it makes them feel is like asking a rhino to play violin. The biter just isn’t going to understand the words.

What transpired is a post all it’s own but the school handled it well, the boy and his parents were put on a probationary period with things to work on at home, and the boys were separated in playgroup and when they were in the same vicinity the biter was shadowed by a teacher. And the boy never bit Fussypants again and they became good friends. Oh, and even though the school tries to keep the parents from finding out what child wronged yours…we knew it was Tot L and Tot L’s folks knew that we knew because I had randomly bumped into Tot L’s mommy one day at lunch while we were both buying our boys water shoes and it came up in our conversation.

So this day was chaos and I felt like shouting. But instead of shouting, I tapped into my reserve of patience and empathy and tried to apply good parenting and said to Tot L, “I’m very sorry that he bit you, I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt you”. I then looked at Tot L’s mom and said, “I know what it is like to be the mom of the child who got bit and I’m very sorry that my son bit your son. He doesn’t bite at home but we will discuss this with him so it doesn’t happen again.” I said to my son,we don’t bite and I’m sure you didn’t mean to hurt him, but we are going to talk about this later with daddy”, then I looked at the teacher and asked what happened.

She explained that Fussypants didn’t bite out of frustration or anger or because he wanted a toy…the boys were playing and started to wrestle and both got worked up and Fussypants chomped on the other boy’s shoulder. And you know what? As much as I don’t like it, I can totally see that happening. When Hunky hubby and Fussypants wrestle and the giggles start and Fussypants is trying to tackle his dad, he gets overexcited and on occasion tries to bite. The difference is that hunky hubby is a grown-up and can see it coming so he’s able to stop it before he actually gets chompers to skin.

Tot L’s mom looked a little less smug and I gave Fussypants a lollipop when we got to the car. I admit, a small part of me was pleased that my son was the aggressor and not the victim but a bigger part of me knows I am not raising a bully. So as I was getting him into his car seat we discussed what happened and I reiterated that we don’t bite, it hurts and that he is not suppose to bite anyone, he is suppose to use his words. He looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t like it when you tell me no”.

I turned the parenting discipline over to Hunky hubby when we got home, explained what happened and asked him to talk to Fussypants. He did an awesome job in his talk with our son and gets a gold star for being such a good dad. The next morning, as we arrived at school, I asked Fussypants what we don’t do and he replied (in front of his teacher), “we don’t hit people with our hockey stick and we don’t bite”.

Lesson learned.


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