Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Once bitten

This simple family story is probably more common than I realize but so sweet I had to share.

My boys were quite the pair when they were little. Jake was such a good big brother always kind and protective, and making sure that everything was right for his little brother.

Justin was very strong willed and a little bully to his big brother who cared so much. They would be playing with their giant building blocks and Jake would come in to me crying with bite marks from Justin upset because his little brother hurt him again. I didn't just let it go either, I would punish Justin, I would discuss it with him and tell him what he did wrong and put him in time out. Sometimes if I caught him in the act I would give him a swat on the bottom and tell him again that biting was bad. Sometimes when he was having a temper tantrum he would bite me or his dad.

It continued with poor Jake getting bitten, me feeling horrible and Justin getting punished until one day while making supper I finally took some advice that I had heard from many different people.

Jake came to me crying with a bite mark on his arm and without stopping from washing the dishes I said why don't you just go bite him back. Jake said "No! Mom biting is bad I'll get in trouble and it hurts."

"I know," I said, "that's the point." Then I tried to make the little protector understand just why I was telling him to injure his little brother. "You can bite him back just this once, not enough to take a chunk out of him, just enough to let him know that it hurts, maybe then he will stop."

Off Jake went on his mission while I continued to wash the dishes.

A few seconds later Justin was screaming, an alarming scream, so I ran into the living room to see what was going on. He was crying, screaming and holding his forehead with both hands. Jake looked so sad he came running to me right away. "Mom I bit him, I just closed my eyes and leaned forward and bit him."

It was all I could do not to laugh. "You closed your eyes?"

"Yeah, and I bit him on the nose." he said with tears starting to form in his eyes.

"But why did you close your eyes?" I said while seating myself onto the couch, reaching out for Justin's crying little form and scooping him up into my lap.

"I didn't want to do it, so I just closed my eyes like taking medicine and did it." Jake said.

"It's okay Jake, your not in trouble I told you to do it."

"Justin, this is why we don't bite, it hurts and it is not nice." I said for what seemed to be the thousandth time. But, this time was different, this time he was on the receiving end and not the giving. I cuddled him for a second, wiped his tears and moved his hands to see a perfect little set of front teeth bite marks, top and bottom, right above his nose between his eyebrows.

Needless to say, Justin never bit anyone again. He is 17 now and he still has a small scar right between his eyebrows from a lesson well learned.

I'm in no way advocating harming a child ever, in any way but this story had to be told. I still giggle thinking about it. It was just to cute not to share.

Do you have or have had a biter? What did you do? I'd love to hear.