Don't you hate eating your own words?

Uhg. I hate those moments where one year (or day) you say you would "never" such and such and then the next year (or day) you are ashamedly doing it. Parenting makes you have a lot of those moments.

And yes, I just smacked my kid.

I have always been a big arguer against the hit-kids-for-hitting, and bite-kids-for-biting method of parenting. Someone has to be the adult in the situation, after all. And I am very very aware of the fact that I've got officer Zeke (as we have begun to call him) watching me and the way that I interact with others...copying those interactions step by step, and also sometimes informing me that I am being rude.

But you see, Malachi is a biter. Not, Malachi bit me once, or he is going thru a biting stage. He is a biter. He always has been. He bites me when he wants to nurse (despite the fact that this has never ever resulted in nursing...6 months later it is still his cue that he wants to nurse), he bites me when he is nursing and my milk runs out before he is done. He bites me when he thinks I am ignoring him and he bites me when he is jealous of his brother. Sometimes he also bites me for no apparent reason at all- I am assuming his teeth hurt?

I have tried everything. EVERYTHING. I have been positively militant about the biting never resulting in what he wants it to. If he's biting to nurse I say "no biting" and make sure he waits a looong while before nursing. If he's biting for attention I tell him "no biting" and then leave him alone in the room. I've tried yelling "Ow!" and he thought it was hilarious. I've tried giving him really really mean looks, looks that are sure to bring Zeke to tears, and he just makes the look back at me- and then smiles. I've tried time-ins, I've tried time-outs. I've tried showing him better uses for his mouth, like kissing, and better ways of asking to nurse or getting attention. I have praised him to the moon when he does those things instead of biting. All to no avail. He bites me 2-20 times a day. He has every day for the last 6 months.

Then he started biting Josh. And then the dog. He loves the way she yelps, apparently. And then he started biting his brother- who is not taking it very well, I am here to assure you.

The only living beings safe from Malachi biting, I have found, are the cats. Ziggy because he is not nearly stupid enough to go near Mal, and Mony because the first time Mal bit her she scratched him across the face.

He didn't like that.

And I've decided that now that he is sometimes drawing blood (yes, drawing blood), and his relationship with his brother is on the rocks, and he is sure to soon be the local toddler Parana...well something had to be done.

And reader...

Last time Malachi bit me I smacked him in the mouth.

Not hard. But hard enough.

And you know what? Its been 3 days and he hasn't bit me again.


Sarah said...

Honestly, Courtney, I did the same type of thing when Landon was biting me when he nursed at around a year old. I never recommend it to other moms because it doesn't sound like a good parenting move, but one day he bit me HARD on the nipple and my instincts kicked in and I flicked him on the forehead before I could stop myself. He never did it again. So, I know exactly where you are coming from. Did I like doing it? No. Did it work? Yup.

Ivory said...

Oh Courtney, you make me laugh even when you are talking about smacking your kids. I totally get where you are coming from, and doubly on the "I'll NEVER!!!" and subsequent "...unless it works....". I really hope Mal has gotten the message.

Lianne said...

I did the same thing with Caleb when he was nursing and bit me. It only took one or two times, and then he stopped biting. Don't feel bad, or guilty, or anything negative about it; sometimes it's the only way to make such a strong impression.

Elizabeth said...

Haha, this made me laugh. Parenting is so good at making us eat our words :)
(By the way, I always flicked my kids in the cheek if they bit me when I was nursing, I didn't really think about it, it was just an instinct. We both would end up crying, but it curbed the biting)

Jennifer said...

This is great! "I'll Never..." I think I may have said that a hundred times as well.

As for the biting, OUCH!! Blood even? I have to commend you on your mega-restraint for not hitting him a long time ago!

I hope it sinks in for him. Biting = Hell NO!