When the girls were smaller, maybe between 15 and 18 months old, we had some trouble with biting. The pediatrician assured us it was a normal part of most children’s development, and that the girls would outgrow it. And they did.
I was so thankful when that phase passed. How pitiful (and embarrassing!) it was to see a big red bite mark and nasty accompanying bruise on my girls’ tender little arms.
Unfortunately, my joy was short-lived. Within the past couple of months, Baby B has begun wielding her teeth once again, and Baby A has the battle scars to prove it.
Only this time, I don’t think B is simply testing her pearly whites. I didn’t realize this right away, but I’m pretty sure B considers biting a primary tool in her problem-solving set.
[Switching gears for a moment...stick with me here...]
My husband is an avid soccer fan. He’s played it all his life (one of those kids that kicked the ball before he could walk, I imagine). He’s also coached and refereed at various levels. I’ve heard him remark before about aggression on the field…that the referee doesn’t usually see the initial infraction; he’s much more likely to see – and card – the retaliatory effort.
Baby A is the more likely of our two girls to “set the tone” in the play room. She’s also more likely to decide which toy she wants to play with…and B is usually quite likely to concede to her sister.
B has her limits, though. It’s hard to always catch, but there comes a time when B has had enough. Not realizing / respecting that, A continues to push her agenda.
B’s solution? To bite her sister, of course.
Baby B gets disciplined for biting, but I’m learning that’s only part of the equation. I’d be upset, too, if someone grabbed a toy from my hand.
I’ve been trying to talk to the girls, to give them alternatives to dealing with situations outside of becoming physical. I remember reading a post from Reanbean a year or so ago, in which she was trying to instruct Buba to tell his sister, “No, I don’t like that!”
I’ve offered two phrases, “No, Sissy, I don’t like that!” And if that doesn’t work, “Mommy, I need help!”
I was so proud to hear B say yesterday, “No! I don’t like that!” to her sister…without baring her teeth.
Hubby would certainly profess that life is like a soccer game. At least in this instance, I’d have to agree.