You know that scene in the second Austin Powers, where Rob Lowe is playing the younger Number Two, and he says, “Uh, Dr. Evil, about Mini Me . . . he’s a biter,” and then Dr. Evil says, “Huh?” and Younger Number Two holds up his hand, which is covered in bandages, and says, “He bites.”
When I first showed people the picture of me and Mini
Me in my About page, some people asked me if I was raising a cannibal. At the time, I laughed and explained that was how he kissed, he didn’t really understand how to do it yet, so it just looked like he was biting me.
Those were simpler times. Because now Mini has become a biter. For reals.
Now, I don’t want you to think he just goes around biting people willy nilly. No. It is under specific conditions that it happens, usually involving an excess of excitement and happiness, as strange as that sounds. Until last week, I had thought I was his only victim, but over our vacation he bit one of his cousins and Mr. Right-Click. So apparently he has developed a taste for it. I’m starting to worry the next step will involve him requesting my arm be served with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
From what I’ve garnered from my research assitant, Mr. Google, biting is a semi-normal way for toddlers to “make sense of this confusing time in their lives.” Which stands to reason, you know, because I find that whenever I bite into something, I start to feel better. Thing is, that “thing” I bite into is something like a cupcake, not a tricep muscle.
So when he does it, I tell him, “No.” Firmly. And this time he actually took a chunk out of my arm, I accompanied it with an involuntary, “Ow–SHIT!” because yeah, Dr. Sears, Free-to-Be-You-And-Me, liberal child rearing aside, it hurts like a motherfucker to have somebody bite a chunk out of your arm. Even if that somebody only has baby teeth.
So I say, “Do not bite.” And I have to assume that he understands, since he seems to understand everything I say when it suits him. He hasn’t bitten me since the breaking skin incident depicted above, but he did bite Mr. Right-Click, so maybe something is lost in translation. Maybe he thinks “Do not bite,” means “Do not bite Mommy,” but that Daddy is OK. Maybe he’s a hairsplitter, just like both his parents?
For now, it is still a fairly rare occurrence, but I’m worried. I’m worried not just because it hurts, either. I’m worried mostly because I don’t want him to be the Kid that Bites. Or, more to the point, I don’t want to be the Mom to the Kid Who Bites. And for all his credentials, Mr. Google is proving himself a piss-poor research assistant. He’s coming back at me with, “Do not bite your toddler back. You need to show your toddler that biting is wrong.” Umm, OK. I’m not an idiot. Or a cannibal. Internet, I beg of you: how do I stop this biting thing? Anyone?