Today’s post weighs heavily on me, partially because it proves that I’m not perfect (HA!), but also because my child was the cause of someone else’s pain.
I’m not a perfect parent, but I do try to teach Smalls empathy, kindness, and that revenge is best served cold (or not at all).
Today, I’m THAT mom. I picked Smalls up from preschool, and his (extremely sweet and caring) teacher informed me that he BIT someone.
With his TEETH.
To say I was stunned is an understatement. I was mortified.
I mean, he’s been a little moody lately, and I’ve been working more than usual, but I try so very hard to make sure that we have our afternoons to play.
Apparently not hard enough….
Of course, yesterday, we had to skip a park playdate because he decided to headbutt me in his ‘excitement’…after he’d already run across the parking lot without me and refused to listen to my instructions about his car seat. So there’s that….
Maybe I should have seen this coming?
I don’t claim to be Mother of the Year. I can’t be. I work too much and have too many balls up in the air. And sure, you can go ahead a lecture me and tell me to spend more time with him, but in reality, he is in school all morning, and then home playing and spending time with me in the afternoons, and then it’s back to work after he goes to bed.
I asked him “why”, and he said he was angry. In true three-year-old fashion, that was all I got for my hours of pleading and begging for an answer as to why my sweet boy is suddenly the problem.
I know that I should have recognized this as a teachable moment…but I honestly couldn’t think straight.
Should I apologize?
It was all I could do to stammer out that I was incredibly sorry. I think I probably just said “I’m so sorry” over and over. I probably sounded like an idiot. But I was just so numb.
I didn’t even ask if the other little boy was okay! How horrible is that?!
Thinking back, the other little boy was sitting quietly (no tears, and no blood, thank heavens!) waiting for his mommy to come and find out that her son had been bitten. By my son. I really just wanted to get out of there.
When we got home, we sat down to talk about the vampire in the room: my son bit his friend. I explained in the simplest way possible that biting is never, ever okay, and that it hurts!
I’m not sure if he fully understands, since he’s only three…but after a few hours, he came up to me and said ‘mama, he took my backpack.’ So naturally, biting was his response. At least in my son’s world.
I mean, if you take my purse, I’m the first to admit that I’ll bite you. But I can’t just teach my son that it’s okay to retaliate…and knowing Smalls, he may very well have started out by giving his backpack to the other little boy.
Even if that’s the case, it’s not a good reason to use your teeth to exact revenge, even if you’re just three. We talked about other ways that Smalls could have handled the problem:
- Tell “Ms. Collette”.
- Say “No.”
- Tell Mommy.
- Say “Stop.”
Smalls decided that if this happens again, he’s going to say no, and then tell his teacher. I can only hope and pray that this sticks. But I wonder if it will.
So as I strive to be a better mom and role model, I need to watch myself to make sure that I don’t bite anyone, and remind Calvin that kindness counts…right?