Band-Aid Bulletin

by anna on December 9, 2009

One of the teachers at Mini’s school took me aside the other afternoon to inform me of a biting “incident” involving Mini and “another child.” Apparently, Mini had a tricycle and the other kid wanted it, so the other kid bit Mini. Which is a totally reasonable way of handling frustration and jealousy. Who hasn’t thought about going up to Dooce View definition in a new window at the next blogging conference and just gnawing on her arm until she hands over her contract with Federated Media? I mean, if I had a dime for every time somebody tells me –

Wait. What the fuck am I talking about? BITING?! Couple things: who the fuck bites a kid over a tricycle? Is Mini going to school with Mike Tyson? There are like forty tricycles at that school! They have more tricycles than kids, for Pete’s sake! Also, what do you mean by saying that “Mini got a bite”? Am I to believe that he was just walking around and whoops! — hey Mini, look at that — you got a bite! Is there no ownership of the person taking the bite out of the other person’s arm? Is it something that just “happens” in a vacuum, sans free will? Am I to expect, then, that Mini’s explanation for a potty training related accident is going to be something like, “Well, Mommy, let’s just say that mistakes were made”?

The teacher explained to me that, at this age, kids don’t know how to handle frustration. This was also super valuable information for me to have about toddlers. Because with Mini, he’s pretty much always a paradigm of patience and well-controlled expectations. This is particularly true when you use terms like “bedtime,” “diaper change” or “No, you’re not getting that toy.” But I guess most toddlers aren’t as into Buddhist self-actualization as Mini is.

The teacher handed me a “Band-Aid Bulletin” describing the incident and the care that was taken of Mini in its aftermath. The thing is, it was about a year ago that Mini bit me (looks like the shoe is on the other foot now, eh, Mini?). I was pretty freaked out about it at the time, but it turns out that if you freak out about it enough, they kid stops doing it. Who knew? Maybe I should let this other kid’s parents in on this super fantastic parenting technique upon which I’ve stumbled — oh yeah, they don’t tell you who the other kid is. They don’t tell you who the kid who was also involved on that happenstance occasion in which Mini “got a bite,” I suppose so that you don’t go bullying the other parents or become biased against the other kids. Well, tough for them. Because I’ve watched enough Criminal Minds to know what to look for here, and I am way ahead of the game. I’ve been running profiles on these kids since day one and advising Mini which ones to stay away from for weeks. But just to check that my profiling skills were up to snuff, I checked with Mini:

“Mini, did you get an owie?”
“Yeah. Bite.”
“Somebody bit you? Did it hurt?”
“Yeah. Hurt. Bite. Rulliver.”
“Wait, who did it?
“Rulliver. Bite. NO BITE MY ARM.”
“Oliver? Was it Oliver?”
“Yeah, Rulliver.”
“I KNEW IT.”
“Rulliver bite.”
“Mini, remember how Oliver’s dad came in the other day and told the teacher that Oliver had thrown a knife at his sister?”
“Yeah.”
“And I whispered to you, ‘Stay away from that kid, Mini.’”
“Yeah. Member.”
“Well, what happened?”
“Rulliver bite my arm. I DON’T LIKE THAT.”
“I know! That’s why you’ve gotta stay away from Oliver, OK?”
“OK, Mommy.”
“And if it ever happens again, what do you say?”
“NO BITE MY ARM, RULLIVER. I DON’T LIKE THAT.”
“Right.”

Listen, you can talk all you want about the everyone’s equal and everyone makes mistakes crap with toddlers but sometimes you’ve got to go with your gut. And my gut says, kid who throws a knife at his sister is trouble. I’ve spent time with this kid, and I don’t think he gets enough attention or something, because he’s already shown that he’s jealous of some of the kids in the class in various ways. So it’s not like I’m not sympathetic. But we’re talking about my baby here — you don’t get a second chance to bite my baby.

{ 17 comments }

Jenni December 9, 2009 at 4:23 am

A two-year-old biting is bad enough, but fucking KNIFE?! That is alarming, particularly coming from a toddler. Your gut was right on. That kid had psychopath written all over him.

Kerry December 9, 2009 at 6:32 am

I was calm on the biting part, because I remember that from when my kids were in daycare. It happens.

But how the hell does a kid that age even get within 10 feed of a knife? And he threw it at his sister? And then the dad TOLD people this?

I’m pretty sure that’s how Jeffrey Dahmer started out.

OHmommy December 9, 2009 at 6:32 am

My youngest got bit two months ago at preschool. Something I never had to deal with when the two oldest were in school. I talked to the teacher at length. Pretty much saying, “WTF? That child is smart enough to be potty trained but still bites? Talk to that mom, yo!” Im sure they talk to the other parent to. Imagine my surprise when one week later at the Halloween party, amongst all the pink princesses and Elmos, stood a little girl in a black spiderman costume. The biter. Go figure.

Kerry December 9, 2009 at 6:38 am

Actually, I sort of admire the balls of a preschool-aged girl resisting the princess pull to be Spiderman instead.

But the biting, obviously…not good. I’m surprised that still goes on for kids who are old enough to be fully potty trained. By then, they have enough language skills that they should be able to use their words.

eliz December 9, 2009 at 6:59 am

@OHMommy – Now, now, let’s not make blanket judgments about young ladies who prefer Spiderman to the princesses. I have a superhero-loving young lady who has never bitten anyone at school. Yet. At least I think so. I’m sure I would have been told if she had.

What *is* with the secrecy surrounding kiddie altercations? I think it makes it worse when the name of the other child is withheld. It makes me do just the sort of sleuthing you did, Anna, and then it’s all laden with conspiracy once I unravel it. I think the whole incident would be forgotten much sooner if parents were told, “Max and Jack got into a tussle, but it’s been worked out.”

Becky December 9, 2009 at 8:45 am

The biting thing is SUCH a huge hot button issue at preschools. They never tell who the biter was, which to me makes the behavior even more stigmatized. I think you’re handling it great to tell him to stay away from Rulliver. I would be understanding, though, but it if happens again, oh holy hell I would be on those preschool people. The fact is, a kid who is a known biter can be prevented from biting if he’s supervised well enough. They need to institute a man on man defense.

anna December 9, 2009 at 9:07 am

@Jenni, the Dad said it was a butter knife, but I think that’s kind of hairsplitting. Two year olds know that stuff that is hard will hurt when you throw it, and I doubt that Rulliver knows the difference between a really sharp knife and a butter knife. But yeah, WTF? Mr. Right-Click’s first response was that we should endeavor to get Rulliver kicked out, but I feel bad for him (only a little bit) because he’s still at that age where you don’t know whether they’re going to be bad or just sad.

anna December 9, 2009 at 9:10 am

@Kerry, apparently it was at dinner and it was a butter knife. But yeah, you’ve got to wonder what the supervision situation was there. I mean, I doubt the kid is using a knife for eating at this point. I think the Dad told people because he’s a dorky professor rocket scientist guy and he doesn’t know any better. He announced it in front of everyone who happened to be in the classroom that morning. And I had already seen Rulliver holding a giant log above his head meanacingly, so I was already watching that kid. Mini is by far the biggest kid in the class, so biting would have to be the way that he’d go after Mini.

anna December 9, 2009 at 9:13 am

@OHMommy Well, at first glance the Spiderman thing is kind of cool. On the other hand, you could make some observations based on the fact that kids that age want to do the same thing as everyone else: we idealize individuality but I’m not sure when that actually kicks in. But I’m just talking out of my ass. Fucking biters.

anna December 9, 2009 at 9:16 am

@Eliz, I assume they don’t want the kid to be marginalized, or have their parents say things like, “Stay away from Oliver.” But, dude, the kid bites and wields logs menacingly. Little boys are scary! They are crazy. Mini happens to be on the milder side, which is overall a good thing, but with some of these kids, I’m not sure when being a normal little boy ends and being a psychopath begins. Mr. Right-Click asked me if I told Mini to just punch Rulliver in the face next time, but I’m not sure that is the answer, either!

anna December 9, 2009 at 9:21 am

@Becky, yeah, I’m going to definitely do something if it happens again. I feel bad for that kid, I really do. He always tries to sit on my lap, and he’ll say things like, “Mommy is at work, Daddy is at work!” to me. I don’t know that he’s just a bad seed. He might just be sad.

Gretchen December 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Yeah, when I first read the Band-Aid Bulletin (which is pretty cringe-worthy, really) and it said Mini “got a bite” I thought it meant like…a bee or something painful but mundane. Not an evil, knife-throwing child. I mean, for a Band-Aid to be necessary, it sounds like this kid actually drew blood. This Rulliver/Oliver person sound like trouble. I’d talk to the teacher and make sure his parents have been spoken to.

SaritaPagita December 9, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Take it from the mom of a biter that it sucks on both ends. Say all you want about biters not getting enough attention, coming from an unhappy home, whatever. My kid never bit at home. Only bit kids at school. And then this school kicked us out because my kid bit. Yes, I’m still bitter about that – the way we were treated by other parents (how exactly am i supposed to prevent this when I am not there?) and by the school (we’re not kicking you out, but your choice is to have your 2 year old with the 5 year olds or we don’t have a spot for you).
Anna – I’m sorry mini got bit. Please know that the parents of the biter are prob feeling bad too. Unless it’s Oliver’s parent. Because, sheesh, he’s a juvey case waiting to happen.

anna December 9, 2009 at 2:35 pm

@Gretchen, I know — the “Band-Aid Bulletin” is pretty cheesy. I didn’t press it with the teacher because the fact is they stopped it before it was a serious bite — he just got a little mark, but I got the impression if the teacher hadn’t caught it, Mini might be missing a chunk out of his arm. I don’t think this is the first incident with Rulliver, but I’m guessing this because of the other stuff I’ve heard, rather than my own experience. I’m going to keep my eye out but if this happens again I might have to start making problems for people.

anna December 9, 2009 at 2:37 pm

@Sarah, aww, I meant to say that I would guess being the parent of the biter is worse than being the bitee! I should clarify, too, the reason I think that Rulliver doesn’t get enough attention is more the product of all the incidents than just the biting one. I think biting happens pretty often in preschool, however crappy it is. It’s the biting coupled with the knife-throwing and the log-wielding that has me a little creeped out. But like I said, they are so young, and little boys are effing crazy anyway.

Alexis December 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I used to work at a daycare and the anonymity drove me crazy! Especially since we had this one kid, and I know that it is wrong to hate kids, but she was a a genuine sociopath, and not just one “in the making,” she was already there. The day of reckoning came when she bit an infant, believe it or not, her own little sister who attended the same center. The mother flipped her shit that we had “let some crazy kids bite her baby.” The jig was up when two seconds later she got the second “incident report” about the older one and put two and two together. I get why they try not to name names, but some kids are just trouble. Granted there was much squabbling and biting, two year olds are the pits, but as many have pointed out , some times kids get rough (even my precious miracle has clobbered her fair share of friends when they came to blows over a toy) and sometimes kids are on a long, convoluted path to being featured on Investigation Discovery’s “Most Evil.”

anna December 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm

@Alexis: That is hilarious! The mother was getting all indignant. I love it. I actually did not freak out to the teacher about it at all, I just kind of internalized everything (as usual). I do think that when you’re two, you do stuff like this. I think if I didn’t know about the other questionable behavior this one kid has shown, I wouldn’t have even made much note of it.

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