Biting Insurance

For C’s first year of life, I wrote monthly posts that outlined all the changes that she had gone through that month. A lot of times, writing those things was a little tedious and tricky because when it comes to babies, I don’t really know what I’m looking at. It kind of reminds me of this little game B sometimes plays with me where he shows me all the things that he found on Tumblr that day and is all LOOK AT THIS OMG.

And then I’m all, Erm, it looks like a GIF that ate some bad ham and should really proceed to its nearest medical facility posthaste.

And then he’s like EXACTLY. It.Is.Amazing and it deserves the 1.8 billion notes that it has.

And then I walk away and wonder what just happened.

That’s kind of like babies and me. I don’t really know what’s happening in real time. When you’re in the thick of it, you have neither the time nor the energy to agonize over every single thing they do and wonder if you’re scarring them for life. I can look at the contents of her diaper and think, “Wow, maybe I shouldn’t feed her spinach and blue M&Ms so often”, but do I actually take anything away from that little moment of learning? Ha.

But then they become toddlers. The very instant C gives me a clear indication that I am doing something very, very right and that what I am looking at is none other than my divine parenting skills in human form, she has the habit of throwing it back in my face no fewer than 23 minutes later.

C has never been a particularly snuggly baby. It’s just not really her style, and from one non-hugger to another, I can respect that. Girl needs her personal space. So the other night after I changed her into her overnight diaper and pantammies, it came as a major shock to my system when she embraced me for solid two minutes and stroked my arm and whispered “Mama, C, Mama, C” the entire time. It was basically a page out of I’ll Love Your Forever and I died in the best possible way and vowed to never do anything except bake pies for my child for the rest of my life.

Therefore, is it really a surprise that today she bit me on my arm? I think she was just checking to see what would happen. (Oh and PS: time out happened.) We were just sitting there, reading a book with B, and she turned and bit me. It being fall, I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, which now has a hole in it.

It’s almost like she planned it. Her little manic cuddle session was basically biting insurance.

Someone once told me that the child you have at age 1.5 is the child you will have at 16. Although this does not bode well for my wardrobe, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean, have you smelled a toddler’s freshly-washed hair?



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Perfection Pending


  1. Ah, yes. I recognize this behavior. There are times my son will grab my face and kiss me and then there are times when he pushes me as hard as his little arms can and yells “go away.” Both scenarios can happen within the same minute.

    1. I feel this way about most things in my life. Not with people, but with inanimate objects, it’s love/hate all the way… it goes for blankets (too hot / too cold), candy (so yummy / I feel sick), and old episodes of Buffy (so good / dammit, Joss Whedon, for making me feel)…

      1. Anything good in the world is bound to make you feel both extremes. Marriage, for instance.

        1. Mwahahaha… yep. But I couldn’t be married to someone who didn’t make me feel strong emotions.

    2. They really are so manic, but at least you know what they’e feeling. It’s sad that I’ve gained enough propriety NOT to punch my own mom when she makes me eat scrambled eggs.

  2. Emily, the same sort of thing used to happen to me. I am happy to report that my big kids don’t bite me now (or anyone else,that i am aware of). They just ask for large amounts of money or esoteric foodstuffs.

    1. The fact that you just said “esoteric foodstuffs” warms my heart and makes me know that we are made of the same stuff ;D

      Also, are you blogging now? I just clicked on your link and it went to your Gravatar page. I need to have your blog address posthaste!

  3. I think there is a biter gene. None of my kids were biters, but we would often go to daycare to pick up my son only to learn from the gravelly-voiced caregiver that “Bianca bit James.” In fact, it’s one of our household catchphrases, of course said in a gravelly voice (with a French accent to boot!). Bianca grew up to be a girl I wouldn’t particularly want dating James, let alone biting him, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. Also: great kids’ book called Bootsy Barker Bites.

    1. There definitely does seem to be a genetic component to it. I of course was perfect and good and by all accounts never bit, but my husband was known to nibble a little. I blame his set of genes.

  4. Hahaha – she is a smart and crafty one! I had one non-biter and one biter (who taught my older and he-should-have-known-better non-biter how to bite). There was a time not too long ago when I could not leave the two of them alone in a room for 30 seconds without someone biting someone else. Ugh! Thankfully biting went out of style the way most things do and I am just holding my breath to see if it circles around like hair styles from the 80’s or bellbottoms from the 70’s.

    1. Ooof! I really hope it doesn’t! Big hair is bad but at least it doesn’t draw blood.

  5. She wasn’t biting. She was tasting. Because that’s what the little cannibals do. My sympathies. I do hope it was a one-off. Squish was a biter, but quickly transferred to biting himself, which almost feels worse to me.

    1. Her grandmothers keep telling me the same thing: she couldn’t possibly be biting. Oh no, just tasting.

  6. My kids are 3 and 5 and they’re exactly the same as they were at a year and a half except with better manipulation skills and bigger vocabularies. In my experience, they raise us to be just right for them! ;)

    1. You are so right! They DO raise us just as much as we raise them!

  7. Baby C doesn’t bite people, but I caught him multiple times this weekend trying to eat the footies in his pajamas. I have no idea why and I’ll I can do is tell him to stop. He’s such a strange child.

    1. I had a total oral fixation too when I was a little kid, and I chewed on everything I could fit in my mouth. Upside is that I rarely get sick now because I was constantly sniffly my entire childhood. Downside is I am almost 32 years old and I will probably never be able to kick my nearly 30-year-long nail biting habit.

  8. Emily, was your long sleeved shirt something that may have looked delicious? Or, in a more likely scenario, was it something she felt should not be allowed in her presence, like an old stained grey knit shirt? I’m just saying that with C.’s genius and discriminating tastes, this could all be fashion related!

    1. Well, it *was* a chocolate-colored brown turtleneck, so I can certainly see the appeal to just dig in. However, it was also nearly ten years old so maybe she was telling me that it’s time to replace it ;)

      1. Exactly. Don’t you remember how you used to unselfishly take time to inform your own mother that she dressed like a dweeb?

  9. dentaleggs · · Reply

    Syd never bit me at that age. She did walk up to me as I was watching the telly and whack me in the nose. Wow, did that hurt.

    1. Ah, yes, love punches. Don’t they make us grateful that we became parents?

      1. dentaleggs · · Reply

        Not at the time, no. *winking*

  10. My son bit me once as a toddler during a fit. It surprised me completely. I’m happy to report that as a teenager, he’s not a biter. That picture of her in those butterfly wings is precious-it reminds me of all the changes people go through as they grow and transform with each stage. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you! I love all her butterfly pictures too. They help remind me that even though she can be a little scary, she’s just a bug. ;D

  11. My little sister bit me once, Em. My arm had bite marks on it for days and she too got a time out. I don’t know if I made her angry or what but she did overcome it.

    And yes, that smell of a baby’s head — nothing like it. Need to bottle that stuff.

    1. It is the best, right? I went to a book club meeting this weekend and one of the moms who made it out brought her two-week-old baby. Don’t tell my toddler, but newborns smell even better. ;D Thanks, Brig.

  12. My son bit another child at school once, but the teacher was reading a book on sharks! Who wouldn’t bite the kid next to him? Were you reading about sharks? Don’t read about sharks.

    1. Ironically, we were reading “I Love My Mommy.”

      1. Maybe you should read “Mommy Sucks and Tastes Nasty.” If it’s not already out there, you should write it.

  13. I definitely was a biter…and I don’t bite my friends anymore. At least not in public…

    1. Oh no she didn’t! ;D

  14. Ah yes, the smell of a baby’s or toddler’s head is fantastic. A bite from them, however, is not. Hopefully that will be the one and only time that happens. And look at it this way, at least it wasn’t while you were still breastfeeding. Speaking from experience–ouch!!

    1. A-freaking-men. I started pumping pretty much exclusively once she started biting. That is some pain that no one should endure.

  15. Ain’t love grand ???

  16. The Boy has been biting us, too, which always results in a time out.

    Yesterday, I had to give him a time out for trying to bite the dog. And, The Boy and I were playing, and he ran over and bit me. I wasn’t expecting it so I cried out and held him out away from me. I made a really sad face and said “That hurt,” and he got the saddest look on his face, and then he hugged me for a really long time. I could tell he felt really bad about it.

    1. It kind of gives meaning to “this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me”, doesn’t it?

    1. We taste like peanut butter, apparently.

  17. Oh, the biting. I do not miss it. My son used to bite me. He once bit me out in the yard and I didn’t want my neighbors to hear the yelling that was about to happen. I told him to stop and tried to pry him off me all the way into the house and into his room. It was a very long, ouchy bite. I think it was payback for the time I bit my dad in a really bad spot. Wear sweaters this winter. And hug her when she’s eating.

    1. Good idea. I should make a sweater made of plane dry toast to repel her.

  18. You did blog about poop..but so eloquently. Ha! Only kidding. ;) I love this post. My little man had a biting habit for a little while…I figured out it was his defense mechanism when older siblings were stealing his toys. Every kid does it, I think. But, what do I know.

    1. You know an awful lot more than I do! I was wondering, could I link this post up to your Manic Monday linkup? It’s not exactly within the guidelines of stuff that drives me crazy, but I DID get bit and I feel like I should be able to get something out of it ;)

      1. Absolutely! Being bitten qualifies, for sure! :)

        1. Awesome! I will do it!

          1. I don’t really know what I’m doing with this link up thing. So, for now, anything goes!! :)

            1. You can create a blog event listing on the WordPress Daily Post even if you’re no longer a WP blogger. We’ve gotten a ton of bites for RTT there ;D

              1. Really? AWESOME! Thanks for the tip. I feel a little bit like a loner out here without all the peeps.

  19. So you don’t need Obamacare – you need Obiteacare. The other thought – perhaps you gave her an inappropriate timeout. Maybe she just overheard you telling someone else ‘oh bite me’ and she was just carrying out your wishes. Bad mommy! :)

    1. A billion extra points for you, Rob, for coming up with that wicked pun. I am a huge pun fan ;D

  20. Maybe invest in some chainmaille? Or the gear that a goalie wears.
    Looks like it’ll be a good investment.

    1. It’s definitely a better idea than having her de-toothed. I think I might get into a little trouble for that.

      1. Yeah, better rethink that.

  21. The smell of a freshly washed head of toddler hair is the best! K bit a couple of times, but it passed very quickly. The being sweet as insurance right before she tries something else she’s not supposed to has stuck around though, unfortunately.

    1. Do you know what the worst thing is? She knows she’s adorable because we tell her all.the.time. Usually after she kisses us she goes ahead and tacks an “awwwwwwww” at the end because she’s so used to hearing it. We are in trouble.

  22. Insurance. That is possibly the most brilliant terminology for this kind of behavior. Love it!!!

    And just for the record, I have have had someone tell me “the kid you have at age x is the kid you will have at age 16” for pretty much every age my kids have been so far. But I guess it makes sense, since 16 year olds pretty much have multiple personality disorder.

    1. That does make a lot of sense! (Or that, egads, our kids are people. Shocker.)

  23. You are one cool cucumber of a mom, Emily, to just punish C with a time out for that sneak attack on you and your delectable chocolate brown turtleneck. As someone born when (gag) Eisenhower was occupying the oval office, if I so much as thought about biting my mother, I would not be alive today to write this comment.

    1. There have definitely been a few times when I really wanted to bite her back. Her little chompers pack quite a wollup! But I guess I’d rather bleed a little and sit in the corner with her than pay for therapy years down the road when she suffers flashbacks of that time Mommy channeled Cujo.

      1. You are a model of restraint raising one who is currently all id for the time being.

  24. There was only one surefire way for our l’il guy with Down syndrome to learn to quit pulling hair for fun, when he was about five years old. Gwamma came to visit, and Gwamma got even in one swift, impulsive moment. It was the most effective behavior management maneuver I’d seen since they licensed me as a kiddie shrink.

    You know what they say, before I had kids, I had four theories and no kids. Now I have four kids and no theories…Perhaps Gwamma’s name should adorn the textbook I toted in grad school. A testimony to book-smart vs.street-wise.

    1. It’s true. When my aunt read this post she texted me to tell me that the my cousin finally stopped biting when her babysitter (an ooooooooold family friend who babysit my aunt too as a wee lass) bit her back. I wonder what Brazelton would say about that.

      1. Phoo on Brazelton. Period. All theories and no kids :D

        In my clinical mumbo-jumbo, I would label it as a “mirroring intervention” and everyone would be happy.

  25. I was an insurance kid and am still an insurance adult. I’m not a biter, though! :D Yay?

    1. Most definitely yay. Your parents’ epidermises thank you for keeping your teeth to yourself ;D

  26. That pic is so sweet I’ve lost five teeth just looking at it.

  27. I hit like, but wasn’t going to say anything… cause I’m tired and grumpy… but I really liked this… but then my gravatar and like didn’t take. Sucks. Not this post, I like that… but my inability to quietly like something.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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