Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lunacy and Letdowns

"I see a bad moon arising, I see trouble on the way" ~ Creedence Clearwater Revival

Via The Risen Books

Once upon a harvest moon . . . a mom lost her way. The moon shone brightly overhead, but she still let the darkness overtake her. Silly mama, meltdowns are for kids.

I believe in the power of a full moon to throw things out of whack. But I also love a full moon, especially a harvest moon. It's beautiful and mysterious and rare. The last harvest moon was in 1991 and we won't have another until 2029. Usually I would celebrate its appearance and spend some time gazing at the way it lights up the sky and gives the world below a unique glow. Maybe I would quote Van Morrison ("well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance . . . "). But not this time.

First, a little background. I've talked about Q's penchant for biting before, but I've always associated it with teething. It's been a couple of months since the last bitefest. But apparently we're in the midst of another one. And this time I don't know if it has anything to do with teething because he has quite the toothy mouth with his first set of molars all in -- is he already getting his 2 year molars? Or is he just a biter now?

So, one of the worst of my playground fears has occurred. Yes, Q bit another little boy on the arm. He is that kid now. "Oh, stay away from that boy. He bites." I can just picture the playground moms huddling together and looking warily at my toddler. My sister in law had taken him to the park while I was working at home and apparently he was playing nicely by the slide with a group of kids, and the next thing she knew Q was unclenching his jaw from around this angel boy's arm. The mom cried out, "He bit him really hard! There are teethmarks!" My sister in law apologized profusely and took Q aside to let him know that it wasn't okay. They had a little timeout. Q cried. He felt bad. The other mom asked if Q was okay, but she was visibly pissed off. I know your child is perfect with his cherubic face and blond curls, but can we get a little understanding here? I think my sister in law did the right thing. What else can you do with a 20-month-old who is still learning that it's not okay to bite people?

Then the other evening, for some loony reason, Q went to town on me. We were dancing, he was flapping his wings like crazy (coming soon to a video near you), and I was thinking how grateful I was to have my boy. And suddenly, Bite City. Scratching. Pinching. Maybe he got too riled up? And I kept trying to sit him down, look him in the eye, and tell him that it was not okay to bite in a firm tone, that it's not okay to scratch, pinch, etc. I tried to leave his vicinity, but how far can I really go? It's not like I can leave him alone. He wouldn't let up. At one point he scratched my face, and now I have big, red gash on my cheek. It's lovely. Someone forgot to trim his nails. Oh . . . right. That's my job. Anyway, all of my lecturing was met with toothy grins and more playful bashing.

I'm going to admit something now that sends ripples of fear down my spine. When someone is beating you up, what's your first instinct? Fight back, right? Well, obviously I'm not going to fight my son. But it was hard to maintain control. I envisioned tossing him down the stairs. I scared myself. But I didn't get physical with him. He had calmed down by bathtime and T took over once he got home, giving me a much-needed break.

After putting him to bed, I had a complete meltdown. I hated myself. I was a terrible mother. I probably shouldn't have read all of that vampire fiction when I was pregnant. I didn't know how to stop my son from being violent. I didn't know what I might do if he didn't stop. What if I lost control? T reassured me that it was just a long day and Q would learn eventually. Part of me knew this, but I had hard time seeing the light. Sometimes I don't think I have the patience for motherhood. It's something I need to work on.

Then I had a drink, ate a chocolate chip cookie, and felt a tiny bit better. Modern Family made me laugh. I went to bed and slept surprisingly well. For now, I'm going to blame all of that craziness on the moon. I'll keep you all posted if Q or I go postal without the moon's assistance.

Mamas, what would you do if your son bit another child? Have you had an experience like this? This biting stuff is akin to the cycles of the moon, right? Just a phase? Can someone tell me it's going to be okay? (Lie, if you must.)


  1. E 'vero! Credo che questo sia un concetto molto diverso. Pienamente d'accordo con lei.
    Condivido pienamente il suo punto di vista. In questo nulla in vi e credo che questa sia un'ottima idea.

  2. When Ev bites me, I say "No!" and pretend to cry. It seems to startle her enough for her to stop, but she's still really little.

    When I worked at a daycare with biting 2-year-olds, we had the biter come with us to get the ice pack, and then sit with the bitee holding the ice on the wound until the bitee felt better. It was kind of like a time out, but not segregated and with a purpose.

    I'm sure he'll outgrow it! (And have you tried giving him frozen bagels to bite on?)

    Good luck :)

  3. Awww Mich!
    Well, one thing I want to tell you is that you are not alone in this dilemma...why else would Yo Gabba Gabba dedicate an entire song to "Don't Bite Your Friends"?

    Mamas are allowed to have moments of madness and meltdowns, you wouldn't be human if you didn't have them. A cookie, a glass of wine and some chill out time sounds like the perfect way to find your center again.

    Big hugs to you!

  4. I don't know if this makes you feel any better, But when my mom talks about one of her friends, she refers to her as "the mother of the child Yelena bit." :)