Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yes, I'm THAT mother

I've been struggling with something for a few months..okay, maybe a little longer than that. My son bites. I don't want to label him as the "biter" because I don't think it tells the whole story of what happens sometimes. Here's a little background before I get into any of the stories. Ewan has two older sisters that love to tease him. They love to take his toys because he always seems to pick the toy that they wish they would have grabbed. They also like to hug him and get in his face. This has been the way it has been since day one. He also can't communicate as well as they can, and for a little while they were bigger than him. Not true anymore, he is right between them. For a while, his only line of defense when Mom was not there to intervene was to bite. It got them moving away from him very quickly, and he got his toy back. I didn't know what to do with this little guy and his biting. We had countless Family Home Evenings on our bodies and how we need to be nice to other people's bodies and not bite or hit. We had the twins saying, "No, Ewan. Teeth are for eating. We don't bite," if he bit them. Sometimes it happens, but often times they come to me in tears with teeth marks on their hands or arms from him biting them. I'd ask them what happened. Between tears and wailing, they admit that they had taken his toy (it's nice when they're honest). So, instead of just punishing the reactor for reacting, the "toy-stealer" sat on the couch as well.  It's not always them doing something, but a lot of the time it is. I tried putting him "time-out", but I am awful at that! And, he seems to kinda like it because he is by himself and no one is bothering him. Then it happened...Nursery! It was somewhat of a difficult Sunday for everyone. Paul had just gotten called into Elders' Quorum, Elin was still very little, the girls were being potty-trained, and I was teaching our very rambunctious Primary class of six 6 year old boys by myself. I'm sitting in Primary when I hear Ewan crying, and one of the primary teachers brings him to me. "He bit four kids. He can't come back. You might want to talk to him about it," she says as she hands me a very sad little boy. Talk to him about it? Do you know how many times I have talked to my 19 month old about biting? I took him out in the hall and we "talked". He was very sad, and probably didn't quite understand what was going on, but he knew he was in trouble. I rocked him, and we once again, went over why teeth are for eating, biting hurts, and how we love him, but he really can't do that anymore. I was praying in my head to know what to do and how to make this right. Four kids?! A thought comes to mind, not my own, "Take him back in, have him see the owey, have him give a hug and a kiss and say 'Sorry'." So, we walk the 8 miles back to Nursery to "make it right". I'm getting a little emotional just typing my story. I ask the leaders who he bit, and they point to the little girls. Only three were present, because the boy was crying and was taken to his mother. I sit down with him next to the little girls, they're all older than him and ask them where their oweies are. I show Ewan, and he understands that it's owey because he says, "Oooh, owey" and points to it. I have him give a hug and kiss and say "Sorry". Now, it's time to find the mom with the crying child. Not hard to find, because he's still crying. We repeat our new ritual. I felt like things were made right. I tried to do my best. I asked the head Nursery leader what happened. She told me that it wasn't just Ewan, but that he had a toy that everyone seemed to want. It wasn't the first time, and it wasn't the last time. I don't know if the mothers of the children my son bit really understand what it's like to have a child who bites. I came home in tears, and have come home in tears a few Sundays because of this. I have made it an effort of fervent prayer. I have talked to him countless times. We sit and rock in his room when he bites one of the twins and we talk about oweies. We then go back to play and give hugs and kisses. He's getting to the point where we don't have to go in the room. I just have to show him the owey and he gives a hug and a kiss and says Sorry. I don't know what else to do but wait 'til he's big enough to understand a little more. He really is a sweet little boy. He loves to give hugs and kisses. He adores Elin, and worries when she cries. He likes to cuddle and sing songs, and read books. What else to do but wait, and hope that those other mothers know that I am doing my best?

5 comments:

Micah and Alison said...

Wow, I think you are doing all you can and a great job...be patient, it will pass. My little niece went thru a little phase at the same age of scratching. I take care of her often, and I had a hard time not labeling her a "scratcher". But it soon passed, and no problems now. It is a hard thing in the moment though, sorry you are having to go through it.

Lizzie N said...

oh goodness molly! that sounds so rough! cole is pretty much like ewan at this point! he tries to communicate, but it usually ends up in him biting or punching tucker. or biting anyone else for that matter! he just bit me in the butt the other day when i was doing the dishes! that was quite a surprise! i teared up a bit, not because i was disappointed... but because it hurt! : ) so, i totally understand what ur going through. "we don't bite, it gives owies" is a common phrase in our house! he will grow out of it soon!! he sure looks like a sweet kid! good luck molly : )

Hayley and Dave said...

I can understand that, Jack also bites, and hits, and yells and so on and it can be a bit tiring and embarassing. But I liked your idea and I think I could try that with Jack as well. You are doing great! Ewan is a cute boy!

Ashley said...

Thank you for this post. I'm a nursery teacher and sometimes wonder about how the parents of hitters (we don't have biters) and pushers feel about their children acting this way. I love that you were given inspiration regarding this matter. It just goes to show that Heavenly Father really is aware of each and every difficulty we face no matter how small. Though I know this is not a small matter to YOU. I hope things continue to get better and better. I'm constantly in awe of you whenever I read your blog.

Ashley said...
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