Last night, I yelled at my daughter louder than I’ve ever yelled at her before. Possibly louder than I’ve ever yelled before.
First, a little background…
Earlier in the week, after picking my daughter up from Big Girl School, I was emptying her lunch bag. I came across a note, and opened it up.
It was an INCIDENT REPORT.
Apparently, she had bitten one of the kids at school. And left a mark.
I asked her about it, and she told me she bit the child’s shirt. I told her no, she bit him, as well. And left a mark. And hurt him. After a bit more talk, she said she understood (a) not to bite, (b) not to retaliate, and (c) the possible consequences, such as being asked to leave school (which I think scares us more than it scares her).
I thought we were good.
(Find out if we were after the jump… though I think you parents already know the answer)
Then, last night, as I was carrying her up to bed, playing our usual “zombie game”, and she bit my shirt. “Uh — no biting,” I told her. She bit again. This time, she got more than shirt.
Oh… my… God… that hurts. I set her down. I was actually shaking a bit. I couldn’t believe she bit me. I couldn’t believe she didn’t listen to me (okay, I don’t know why this always surprises me). I couldn’t believe how much it hurt.
I would never hit my child, so all I could think to do was scream. I couldn’t believe how my voice sounded. I yelled at her to just get in timeout. I think I even allowed a few mild-ish expletives to escape my lips.
My daughter looked scared. I walked away.
Ms. Kaz came up to finish up doling out the time out. Afterwards, my daughter came in to apologize. I tried to explain how much it hurt. My voice was more controlled, but still somewhat loud. We showed her the mark on my shoulder. Ms. Kaz asked my daughter to promise she would never bite again. I know it is foolish to expect a 3 year old to understand promises, but my daughter refused.
Being slightly angry (and still in a little pain), I walked away again.
After a little bit, I took over the “putting her to bed” duties from my wife. “Are you sure?” I was sure.
My daughter at first didn’t want me there. I think some of that was still being scared of me and my loud voice. Finally, things settled a bit. I asked for a hug, she gave me one. I explained to her that even though I get angry, I still love her and always will. I explained again about not biting anyone. She promised never to bite again.
Just before story time that night, my daughter said, “I love you, daddy.” I told her I loved her, too. She then told me, “And I’ll never bite you or hit you or kick you again.”
I feel a bit bad I yelled and made her scared. But I want her to realize the consequences of her actions. And, did I mention it really hurt? I guess it is those “fresh” teeth that haven’t been worn down from age and years of biting stuff, like our adult teeth.
Just before our bedtime, I told Ms. Kaz that I thought it was important for me to finish putting her to bed. I thought it was important that my daughter and I work this out together. Again, I don’t know if it will stop her. We’re a little scared we’ve got a Biter. We never thought she’d be one. And now we have to figure out how to make it stop.