Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Last week I got an unpleasant paperwork surprise when I went to pick up Wee 'Burb at daycare. It was our very first Incident Report. The report read: "While Wee 'Burb was playing, a friend bit her on the left arm."

Some friend.

Honestly, the write-up kind of made me laugh. I shrugged it off at first, but then sure enough, there was a bite mark clear as day on her little arm.

The teacher said she didn't cry.

For some reason, that made me more emotional about the whole thing, that my little girl just stood there and took it while some kid bit her in frustration.

I know this is the age. Wee 'Burb is a notorious slapper, though for some reason only at home. She never hits at daycare and she never hits other kids. But she has zero fear of smacking me right in the face when she's mad.

My parents told me I should have asked what was done to the biter, to determine if there was a time out or if the tot is being removed from other kids. I felt weird about doing that. They had clearly taken pains to not mention his or her name,

When I expressed my doubt over whether or not I had the right to ask about some other kid's punishment, my mom staunchly said: "I did when it was Pacman."

Pacman was my daycare taunter, a child who constantly chased and bit other kids. Before I wrote an essay to become a latchkey kid, I was stuck with Pacman, a younger boy, and his terrible teeth. Because I was shy and quiet, I was an easy target. Looking back, I think he enjoyed getting a rise out of me. It took a lot.

My mom bringing him up made me laugh. When I was in college, my mom casually said "I went to so-and-so's graduation party last weekend." I had no clue who she was talking to. She did the usual Mom thing "of course you know who he is, he went to your daycare, you were a few years know, Pacman?"

I still do not remember the actual name of this guy. But I guess it's good to know he's now a productive learned member of society. And that while I obviously vividly remember this kid, it hasn't affected my relationships or my life in any long-term way. There's hope for Wee 'Burb and the chomping child, I guess.

How would you have dealt with this? Would you wait for it to happen again to ask about what's being done, or assume the kiddo is a serial biter and express concern? Is this just age-appropriate behavior? Were you the biter or bitee when you were little?


Terri said...

Coming from a mom of both a biter & a bitee... I would definitely ask what sort of punishment (if any) is given to the biter. My daycare used time outs and also taught the kids to use words such as "stop biting," "stop hitting." in a forceful (but not yelling) way when they were the bitee. I never thought biting was that big of a deal (until I had my own biter), but it was nice to know what daycare was doing to help the situation.

Life As Wife said...

Oh dear god why are you giving me more things to have nightmares about? Mommyhood is too damn scary.

Julie @ Pickles and I Scream said...

We've gotten a "boo-boo report" (their term not mine) when Sassy was bitten by another kid too. The report listed both Sassy and the other girl on it and a copy went to both's parents. The bite didn't break the skin so honestly, I wasn't too concerned at this age they're just getting their teeth so of course they're gonna test them out! If it's a one time thing I wouldn't worry too much about it but if it happens again then I'd concern myself with what the daycare is doing to reprimand.
Sassy is a Momma-slapper too but I've not had any reports of her beating on the other far.

Mads said...

I would ask. Mainly because I would want to know what sort of punishment to expect if my kid was biting someone else.
As a mom, is it ok to bite that kid right back? I feel like I would want to. haha

Kat said...

I think I would want to know if the kid is a serial biter or not because obviously if this is not the first offense, then whatever they're doing over there isn't working.

Otherwise, live and let live I guess. WB will probably lay waste to something in her time. This is The Way Of The Tot.

Mama Spaghetti said...

Aw man...that's a hard one! I have no advice, but I feel for you (and Wee Bub!)

Mimi said...

Well I've been on both ends of this. Mine has bitten and been bitten. I didn't have to ask what the consequences were in either case because on the incident report the actions taken were listed out for both children.

When it happened that when he continued biting and being bitten by the same child, I asked the teacher to separate them in class.

I so feel you on the slapping. My Lil Mama stays slapping me and her brother and other random children when we are out. I hope she stops that.

Working Mommy said...

I would have asked Wee Burb if she bit back. I mean, I know it isn't good to start a fight - but an eye for an eye, right??


Rach (DonutsMama) said...

I think I would march up to the daycare and bite the teacher and then the kid once I found out his name. Heck yeah, you have every right to ask what his punishment was. What if he drew blood? What if she needed to go to the doctor? It's inappropriate. Sorry, I get a little riled up about these things.

Missy said...

I've had one child or another at an educational center for children ages 6 weeks through 6th grade for 8 years. So a couple of thoughts here:

1 - state licensing laws typically prevent teachers from sharing who the "perp" is to protect confidentiality. It would be the same if Wee Burb bit someone and they had to write a report about her to someone else.

2 - if you want to know how they handle "offenses," then you have an absolute right to ask and they can and should tell you. It should even be in a policy handbook if you have one.

3 - biting at this age is totally normal - not fun - but normal. And I'm sure the parent of the biter is mortified. They usually are.

Hope this helps!

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

I would ask more of a general question about what policy they have in place for handling this kind of situation. It would be good to know just in case the shoe is ever on the other foot.

Charlotte said...

I agree with Hopes@StayingAfloat. Find out what punishment is in store for this kind of behavior and what steps are taken to ensure this won't be tolerated again. It's so crazy all the things parents have to deal with!