Warning: The following post is a rant!
While youngest child has been spending long days learning wonderful things and making beautiful music at piano camp this week, I have been hanging out at a local coffee shop and writing for several hours each day - it's been like a little bit of heaven.
I have enjoyed meeting some of the regular customers who stop in each morning. I have appreciated Kim and Megan's friendly hospitality, letting me occupy a table and warm a chair here for so many consecutive hours - they haven't once pressed me to move on out the door! And I've enjoyed listening in on all the interesting conversations initiated by patrons: a coffee shop is like an open forum, where even complete strangers can present topics and engage in dialogue with others.
Which leads to today's rant.
One morning a young mother came in for her jolt of caffeine. Approaching an older, 30-something woman already in line at the counter, she said, "Can I ask you a question? How do you deal with the problem of biting?"
Synopsis: The young mother had a toddler who kept coming home from playcare with bite marks and bruises. This happened at least twice a week, and had been going on for several months. There was a notorious biter in her daughter's class, and, although the staff had tried repeatedly to remedy the situation, her own small child was still coming home with bite marks. The young mom felt like the playcare staff was not adequately dealing with the problem, and she wondered what she needed to do to keep her little daughter from suffering any more trauma. Exasperated, the young mom asked, "Do I need to call Child Services and report the playcare center for abuse?"
The full-figured 50-something mother of seven sitting at the other end of the coffee shop bit her own tongue and fought mightily against an overpowering urge to yell, "Are you kidding?! I think you need to call Child Services on yourself! You've been sending your baby into a classroom, month after month, where she is repeatedly bitten so hard that she comes home with bruises and scabs? What are you thinking?!"
The solution to this mom's problem seemed glaringly obvious to me: parent her child herself, at home.
Okay, that sounds rude and insensitive.
A couple of thoughts following said conversation...
Protecting and parenting my young children is my responsibility, not someone else's. And when there is a problem - like biting - it's my responsibility to take care of it, not someone else's.
And, yes, some kids are biters. That doesn't make them monsters from hell, and it doesn't make the adults who are trying to stop the biting - albeit without much success - monsters, either.
I had a child who was a biter. I had other children who were bitten. As their mom, I had to deal with - discipline, love, comfort, forgive - both kinds. And for the sake of brevity, let's just say here that the biting was not a problem for long. Mr. Biter quickly figured out that he needed to find a more socially acceptable way to express himself.
So, young woman, if your toddler coming home a couple of days a week with bite marks and bruises upsets you as much as you claim, do something about it. Put your big girl panties on, and be The Mom.
Now that my spleen is vented, Dear Reader, what advice would you offer the young mother at the coffee shop? Perhaps you can answer her question with more gentleness and grace than the grouchy woman at the corner table!
4 weeks ago