Teething Bites

The muppets gummy grins have given way to a number of pearly white baby chompers. The addition of enamel is a whole new experience. “There’s something in my mouth…”

And unfortunately, their favorite chew toy appears to be each other. This is a problem, since the Parent/Teacher Handbook for the preschool they’re slated to start next week, explicitly calls this behavior out as a nono. Biting is an expellable offense.

However, I am very curious as to how one explains the detrimental effect of taking a bite out of your brother to a toddler. I do not suspect logic and reason will work until they are approximately 30.

Last week Destroy sported a large red welt down his chubby little cheek because Search apparently mistook it for an apple. (See what happens when you stuff your cheeks with apple slices little man?)

On one hand, you’ve got to give the little dudes credit for working with what they’ve got. Additionally, I think some of the masticular maulings may have been mistaken kisses. I have experienced several “kisses” from a lunging little man – with his mouth open wide, at the ready to slime his intended. Inevitabley, once the target is adequately slimed, he’ll close his little jaw in a quasi bite.

But the two little teeth marks (he only has five total) punctuating Destroy’s cheek, and today’s long scratch across his eyebrow seem to have been left in anger.

As the boys grow, they are becoming more and more delighted with the world around them. They can spend hours bouncing on the couch (quite a treat for them since they have to be watched like a hawk as they hurl themselves around on the microfiber) and find much enjoyment pushing chairs back and forth across the living room floor. (Look Mom, I can manipulate my environment! What trouble can I get into using these new skills? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH .)

Because the boys are clearly brilliant, they can stack rings without hesitation or stack Legos and then tear them back apart. Problems arise because their favorite toy these days is whichever item his brother shows interest in.

Destroy initially decided to crawl several months ago because Search discovered he could rip a desired object out of his brother’s hands and scurry away. Now that both guys are toddling (kinda, it’s really more stepping and faceplanting) the stolen toy recovery technique involves hurling oneself at the thief with a glass-shattering scream of frustration and chomping down wherever the angry mouth can find flesh.

This is not going to go over well with others. I can just picture the report card: “Does not play well with others. Mrs. Stream, please come retrieve your sons. They are attempting to eat their classmates. Parents of their peers are displeased.”

Note to self: hide the Colgate.

Looking back at our family history, one may argue that the biting is genetic. When G.G. was a little girl, she would often go on road trips or Sunday drives with her family. G.G. was the lone girl, with three brothers; the mantra of those drives was the oft-repeated chant, “Mama…Billy bit me!!!” (Naturally G.G. was too much of a lady to ever be involved in her rough-and-tumble brother’s battles, including one episode where her brother Ray filled his mouth with toothpaste and claimed rabies when Billy bit him.)

According to my totally worthless “What to Expect” series, (you’ll be shocked to hear my copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting was tossed out the window at 90 miles per hour at my 10 week appointment – the book did not tell me to expect multiples) biting is a phase. I’m sure it’s a phase many munchkins go through. My fellow MoM (mother of multiples) friend noted that both she and the coffee table are missing chunks of flesh from her son’s most recent “hunger” phase.

Our current tactic is to sternly tell them “No.” and move the offending biter away. They’re such flirtatious little guys that they can’t stand not to have their adoring public cooing at their every move. This works at least to distract them from any cannibalistic conquests. It usually results is both boys rapidly shaking their heads “no” with giant grins as they make themselves dizzy and then fall to the floor in a spinny, hysterical high. (Of course, the initial toy has long since been forgotten.)

What are your suggestions to prevent expulsion due to biting? (And no, I’m not going to bite them back.) We have a week to learn this lesson.


Filed under Daycare, Family Stories, School

2 Responses to Teething Bites

  1. Joanne Hamann

    Yikes, I’m useless for advice. They talk about kids who aren’t verbal being the biters. NOT TRUE – Mitch never shut up and he went through a few episodes of biting Carson – I even made him give Carson his favorite Pooh video (didn’t work). It’s just not a fun phase – how about mouth guards?? 🙂

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