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Mr. Clingwrap aka Fang
I've mentioned before that Holden has been exceptionally clingy lately, but have I mentioned that he's a biter?

Yes, Little H is that kid. The one who garners sidelong glances and spurs backstabbing gossip. Yes, I'm that mom, now.

Holden is at the age of easy frustration. If we put the wrong morsel on his high chair, he'll fling it back at us. (And man, a sippy cup to the head really hurts!) If we don't immediately understand him, he lashes out and flings anything within reaching distance. If he's in his high chair, he sweeps both arms across his tray, flinging everything onto the ground. He'll even toss his beloved blankie and pacifier away if that's all that's available.

Toddler frustration is fine. That I can deal with. But the biting. Oy.

The usual scenario goes something like this:

Big H has a toy. Little H decides he wants it. Little H comes within a 1 foot perimeter of Big H with an acquisitive gleam in his eye. Big H immediately begins screaming "No, brother, NO! I had it first! Mommmmmmyyyyyyyy!"

Little H closes the distance to about 6 inches and grabs for the Toy. Big H pushes him away.

Little H screams in frustration.

Lookout! Here come the teeth!

Over the last few months, Fang has branched out a bit. Now, any frustration can result in a biting incident. If I tell him no, he bites anything in close range. If he can't get to his brother, he'll lean over and bite the coffee table. If no furniture is in close range, he'll fling himself on the ground, fold up in the pike position, and bite his toes.

Seriously, people. He bites his own toes.

Friday, was the worst biting day ever. He bit 3 people at daycare. 1 older boy got a chomp on the knee, another got a chomp on the stomach (ouch!), and finally, Holden bit his own arm hard enough to draw blood. Even if no one had seen it, we'd know it was him. The unfinished dental impression, with all 4 eye teeth missing, was a dead give away.

I'm at a loss here, friends. Time outs don't work. I'm not going to spank my biting baby and I'm certainly not going to bite him back. Let's face it, even if I weren't opposed to that particular method of Bite Aversion Therapy, I'm not sure that it would work. Little H bites himself on a regular basis. He's bitten himself hard enough to leave marks several times and now he's drawing blood.

Assuming he has a functioning nervous system, Holden knows that biting hurts.

My latest attempt at Bite Aversion Therapy, involves a teething ring. When we see a bite coming, we shove it in his mouth hand him the teething ring and remove him from the vicinity of all chompable objects as swiftly as possible. We're hoping that we can teach him to at least bite something appropriate if he's going to bite. We're only 1 day into the new method, but we did have a relatively bite free day. That's not to say there weren't any attempts, but at least no one needed a tetanus shot.

If anyone else has any tricks that work, for the love of all that is holy and unmarred by Holden's teeth, please share! I'm starting to feel like Lois in the "Stewie Loves Lois" episode:

Well, you know, without the creepy sexual advances from a dog.

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Blogger PinkPowerSuit.com said...

I can't find your email address, so I'm commenting here. Not sure if you get notifications that I've responded to your comments on my blog.

I'm confused that you said the post was nonjudgemental (thanks! :0) while you had a few "buts" in there, arguing my points. [Insert thinking face here.]

I think you misunderstood what I was saying and thought that I was making general statements of all working moms based on this one woman I knew. I wasn't. I was talking only about her, to make the point that I admire people who make decisions they feel is right, even if it's not the one they want to make. Doesn't matter to me what the situation is.

If you read the article I wrote on Mommy Wars about this very topic, I think you'll see how I really feel about sahms vs. working moms. http://www.pinkpowersuit.com/mommywars.html


Thanks for visiting and chiming in!!

Blogger Jenn said...

Little A is taking to fits of biting her toes as well...and for whatever reason, me laughing at her makes her stop...like she knows I'm calling her out on it.

Big A, on the other hand, when I laugh at her; let's just say I'm lucky to still be alive.

No advice; just sending you support across the miles.

Blogger DD said...

X had a brief, but "impressive" bout with biting as well. However, he never bit himself, just other kids, and usually it was enough to hurt, leave some slobber on the arm, and that was it.

I knew there was a "stage" to it, and it did eventually pass.

Let us know how the biting ring goes as it sounds as if you are doing everything that you could. I also do not agree with biting back or even spanking in response to the biting (with an added disclaimer, I do spank, but rarely).

I'm guessing you've googled it to death?

Sounds like Little H is showing his "Shades of Junior Mayhem" side!

Girl, I know that is so hard! JM was not a biter....but he does spit. Yeah, not as painful...but just as embarassing when he does it at school. I finally started spanking his mouth (not hard...but it got his attention)

It sounds like his is frustration. Does your tone and frustration escalate when his does? I often do and I never even noticed it until a friend pointed it out. Now, I force myself to appear calm (even when I am seething inside) and it does help somewhat.

I wish I had better suggestions. Hope the ring thing continues to work!

Blogger Jen Magnuson said...

This isn't going to do you any good in the here and now, but time is your friend. Odds are, he will outgrow this phase relatively soon.

I have found with boys, that they are much more susceptable to frustration that manifests itself in biting/hitting/shrieking due to being a lot less verbal at any given stage than girls. yes, this is an over-generalization, yes, a lot of boys are verbal quite early...but overall, girls are verbal much quicker, and are thus able to express themselves in ways that are easier to understand. My girls were talking at 11 months, and no biting, etc. My one son was basically grunting until he was two (talks just fine now at five) and my eleven month old boy is probably on the same trajectory.

Hope this helps, even if only a tiny bit. Good luck!!

Blogger Sunshine said...

Mine all had brief love affairs with the joys of biting. Thankfully, those times were short enough that it wasn't a chronic problem.
When you're a kid, biting is your most painful weapon! Heck, I could probably hurt someone worse now by biting them instead of trying to punch or kick. But it's hard when they're little and they don't think before they react...
I have no advice regarding stopping the behavior, but it will stop, I promise you that. Or else you might have to buy him one of those Hannibal Lecter thingys for his face.

Blogger PT-LawMom said...

I'm "That other" mom. I bit him back. He stopped. :( Shame, shame. Not saying that would work for your little guy. Mine was bit a lot at daycare and then started biting others when we moved to a new daycare. He tried to bit me, I bit him back and he's never bit again. Only exception is that he bit his own arm about a month ago in a fit of anger, but at least he didn't bite someone else. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. If it helps, my son may not bite but he pushes his friends off play structures. Almost got kicked out of Montessori recently because of it. Not sure if any of this is even remotely helpful. I think I'm just babbling... I'll stop.

Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

Rooster's a biter too. Sh*t HURTS!

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Okay, you asked right for advice?

Forgive me, he's 1? 2?

To start, my friend C's daughter is a biter and I still like her and P2 still likes her daughter. :) It's just a kid thing...most moms understand that.

Here's what will work: whatever you try + time

The bottom line is to keep teaching him other avenues and that biting isn't okay. Eventually, he'll escalate, hit a development, and it will recede.

Dude. I so feel for you. P1 was a hitter? I thought it would never end.

I gave her words and alternative actions.

As with all things with kids (self-feeding, potty training, etc.) it works when they are ready.

Good luck and hang in there.

You aren't THAT mom. You're a mom with a kid who is smart enough to have a brain outpacing his abilities. It's frustrating for all.

You'll get there.

In the meantime, keep up what you are doing consistently but throw in some changes to keep him a little off-balance, and increase alcohol consumption. LOL ;)

Blogger flutter said...

Frozen washrag in the mouth at all times? Tape? Staples? Surgery?

Yeah, I am sorry. I got nothin'.

Blogger slouching mom said...

I don't have any advice, but I will say that the teething ring was a brilliant idea. I'll bet it helps.

Blogger CPA Mom said...

I just read that teething ring somewhere else...so many blogs...

Tigger bit for a very long time. Just consistent redirection, lots of books about no biting, we put his own arm in his mouth but unlike H, he didn't like that. Lots of attention to the victim. Time out for him. just took time and TWO, yes TWO preschool expulsions before we found a preschool willing to watch him and take him out of the situation when he had his trigger points.

Now Eeyore bits. Oy vey. Here we go again.

Blogger Absolutely Bananas said...

oy... that's no fun for you. CJ went through a brief biting stage and it's no fun to be THAT mom. I think your approach is right; sidely all I know is vigilant watching of the biter and the passing of TIME...

Blogger Slackermommy said...

I wish I had some good advice. Mine have bitten only occasionally. I've got a cousin whose toddler was kicked out of daycare for biting. I should ask her how she got him to stop.

Blogger jen said...

oh, wow. smack him on the nose?
oh wait, that's for puppies. bite back? oh wait, that's not good. damn, i have no idea. M bites sometimes. dude.

it's all a crapshoot, this parenting thing.

Blogger ewe are here said...

Oh dear, I hope the ring idea works. We didn't really face this one with MF, although a good friend did and it took her several months to sort it out. She was mortified about it, too, as her boy would literally lunge at the designated target (usually another wee one) to chomp on.

I think th important thing to remember is it's grounded in frustration. They can't communicate well, so they act out in ways like biting, hitting, hair pulling.... sigh

Good luck!

Blogger Amy W said...

Glad to hear someone is going through the same thing...:).

Yes, we do the teething ring thing. We actually attach it to Audrey's shirt with a pacifier clip. That way it is in easy reach.

And I think it might be working. Last week, she bit three kids, since implementing the teething ring...none.

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Ooh - Amy! Thanks, I had never thought of attaching it to Holden's shirt like that.

Thanks for the suggestions, ladies. It's nice to know I don't have the only biter on the planet. Thankfully, yesterday we had a bite free day. Our sitter is very vigilant about it.

We actually think part of the problem is that Holden is the youngest child my sitter watches. He so wants to be able to do and say everything the big kids can. Our hope is that this stage will end soon. Verbally, he's light years ahead of where Hollis was at his age so I'm hoping the era of frustration will end soon!

Blogger Christine said...

I too had a biter! I was THAT mom. It was awful, just awful. I really blamed myself and never really figured out what to do. But one day, as everyone said it would, it ended. She is 6 now and I have NEVER seen her hurt another child since the biting time of her second year. Just know that it is normal and it will pass. Ok, cliche and not a lot of immediate help, but maybe it gives you a little hope.

Blogger Kevin Charnas said...

What about a garlic necklace...for anyone he's going to encounter that day? Or a crucifix?

I'm sorry...I'm just trying to make you laugh. I can't imagine how frustrating that must be.

Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

DrKnow is a biter. He started at 6 months old, moved on and stopped, until he was 2 and DangerBoy was born. Then he stopped a few months later. Just a month ago the biting resumed. But he is very selective in his biting targets: me and his little brother.

I think it is all tied up in his frustration and excitement about starting school.

I too am a loss.

Anonymous PA said...

When I was two I was a biter. I bit this little boy at my sitter's every day. After lots of talks and time outs, my mother convinced him that it would be OK to bite me back. She made sure to tell him to bite hard. Biting doesn't hurt NEARLY as much if you do it to yourself, as if someone else does it. If you are worried that as a mother and an adult, you may hurt your son, perhaps convince some of his younger victims, that just one time, it would be OK to give it back to him.

Anyway...worked for me.

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