Last week I was laid out with an illness and didn’t have the energy to write anything. I felt bad that I hadn’t blogged in over a week but the only thing going on in my life were trips to the doctor, gut-wrenching pain, and codeine induced sleeping spells up to 12 hours at a time. I left the world of consciousness on Tuesday afternoon when my illness began and emerged from my fog on Friday morning feeling mentally aware of what was going on around me but physically incapable of common tasks. How could I write about the last 3 days when I had no idea what had happened? On Wednesday I was awake for maybe a total of 2-3 hours of which I think I remember about 15 minutes of what was going on. Should I blog about my dreams? Boring. My illness? Gross. What then? It was at this crossroads of topic searching for my blog that my 1-year-old Max gave me something to ponder…
Friday afternoon I was going stir crazy and needed to get out of the house for a moment so I went with Kate to pick up Max from day care. As we arrived, we were met by Max bawling his eyes out in the hallway as he sadly walked the Green Mile while the teacher carried another boy…holding an ice pack to the boy’s face. Max had bitten the other boy on the playground. At first this did not come as a shock to me as this is one of the things 1-year-old’s do…it just happens. When he was a few months old and had his first few teeth he bit everything! There are teeth marks all over the top railing of his crib which I think creeps out the baby sitters when they come over for the first time. However, I quickly realized this was different. Up till this point Max had only bit if he was teething and wanted something to sooth his pain. He is currently working on his molars (very painful) but this was not a soothing bite…this was an attack bite. The other boy hadn’t put his fingers in Max’s mouth. Max had not bit the boy on a squishy place like the arm. Max bit this kid in the face. The face! Right on the forehead! There is nothing squishy about the forehead…how do you even bite a forehead? He’s like some deranged horse or something.
The story is Max was playing in the playhouse. The other boy wanted to come in. Max did not want the other boy to come in. When the other boy came in anyway Max stopped him at the door, pushed on him, and then bit him in the face till he screamed. The face!
So now we have to scold Max but he’s 1…he has no idea that what he did is wrong. By the time we scolded him he couldn’t remember what it was he did wrong. It’s like trying to scold a cat for scratching the couch…its not a dog…it has no idea why you are yelling…but it associates your anger with what it was doing at that moment; i.e. being useless and napping on the couch. Scolding Max (by day care law) means he has to go to the front desk and hear a cheerful woman say “Nooooo…Max, we don’t bite.” Then Max has to show an act of niceness to the other boy before the issue is considered resolved, in this case it was a hug…well…the teacher and I leaned together while holding the kids and they met in the middle which we called “a hug.”
In the car ride home Max and I talked about the face biting by pointing and using simple language. I pointed to my teeth and said “bite” then pointed to Max’s forehead and said “no.” Max said “Uh-oh.” I was all like, “You’re damn right uh-oh.” Then Max was all “Cracker?” I said, “No, no crackers right now.” Max then said, “Please, please, please…” While adorable and pathetic I refused and said “No you may not have a cracker…not until you understand what you have done is wrong or learn to say sorry.” Max then made a sound that sounded kind of like “sorry” which made my face light up and ask, “Did you say sorry?” Max replied, “Cracker?” Clearly he had not learned his lesson.
Kate and I discussed and stopped off at the grocery store, Max sat in the cart and said “please” while pointing to EVERY item of food we passed which means he basically did 20 minutes of broken record “please.” Well…its more like “Preeeese!” Adorable. Pathetic. Arg! Unsure of what to do about my son biting another kid’s face and inability to learn the phrase “I’m sorry” I said “shit” under my breath. “Preeeese” stopped. Max looked into my eyes. He saw my frustration. He understood. He understood there was a word I needed to hear him say. He was ready. “Sheee, sheee, sheee, sheet.”