Thursday, August 5, 2010

Biting Humor

My youngest son has decided the easiest way to create a good impression is with his teeth.  It's a problem in part because we never know when this cute almost 2 year old wannabe member of Team Edward will strike. 

Now I used to teach biters and have been trained on how to get someone to release; you push back into the bite so that the head of the biter is pushed back and that causes him to open his mouth a bit more and thus the arm, hand or what have you that is being bitten, can escape.   However, even I remain fearful of using this technique since pushing back into my son's mouth might strain his neck. Down Syndrome children can sustain injury from a blow to the head that results in paralysis; the neck moves too far back.

Thus my children and I remain at least at present, the human version of teething rings whenever his need to nosh strikes.  

It's not that we don't shout "OW" or "No." or cuff his nose when he starts clamping down or put him in time out; it's that he views the whole thing as one big game.   He shakes his head no back at us with a big happy smile even as we place him in the playpen.  We cuff his nose and his eyes twinkle as he reaches out to repeat the gesture back.  We say "OW, that hurt!" and he claps and laughs.  So either he's the smallest sadist in the world or he just doesn't yet get what we are trying to convey.  

Part of the problem is my son loves stuffed animals; specifically one unimaginatively named Monkey,  stuffed monkey.  When Monkey is in his crib, Monkey gets kissed, hugged and his ears get bitten multiple times.  Monkey does not mind this and Paul showers Monkey with biting love.

However the rest of his family and the general population at large do not share Monkey's stuffed ears or capacity to tolerate however many tons of metric pressure one two year old with abnormally sharp cuspids, bicuspids, incisors and molars can bring to bear in a death grip.

So we now have taken extraordinary measures to keep our youngest out of biting range except in controlled environments.  Jean jackets work almost as well as chain mail; so do layered preppy look sweaters except when he goes for the arm.  For the men and boys and those who hate either of these two looks in the family, holding Paul facing away is an effective alternative, though that is much harder on the back; and the umbroller has become the vehicle of choice out in public.   I rejected the idea of a muzzle and/or retainer to keep his jaws under wraps.  

One of the children suggested making him walk everywhere possible in hopes that by wearing him out, he won't have the energy to take a bite out of us.    The problem with that solution is two-fold: 1) It reduces the speed at which we move to .0001 miles per hour and allows for other children to thus get into mischief and 2) the internal mental discipline required of the adults moving the party along that pace is as demanding as the physical conditioning needed to run a 10 K in whatever a decent time for a 10 K would be.  

The only real solution to this lies with our young son and the every day maturation process that is taking place.  We'll keep saying no, putting him in the pen and cuffing his nose until he gets it.  In the meantime, if our family portrait this year shows everyone in life preserver vests, I hope you'll understand.


MightyMom said...

get him a chewy!

He may just be experiencing a need to's a sensory thing.

a chewy that either clips on his shirt or around a wrist much like a passey, that you can quickly stick between the teeth and the arm...soon he's grabbing the chewy instead of YOU when he feels the need to bite.

I'll look and see if i can find a pic of some my cousin or I used.

MightyMom said...

okay, meme done. come and see

Single Dad Laughing said...

Haha, my son is three and a half and still finds it funny to occasional chomp through dad's major arteries. After I shake him off I try to explain that that hurts. He just looks at me with big "I'm sorry" eyes and it's hard to be mad even though I know he knows that it hurts.

Single Dad Laughing

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