Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Cure for Toddler Bites?

I offer some advice for any dear friends and devoted readers who are also mothers to young children. First, a background story (warning: this is an ugly tale).

Let's say I have a "friend" who walked about a mile to pick up her children and some neighbor children from school. Hypothetically speaking, this "friend" wanted to leave her two year-old at a neighbor's house since her toddler doesn't enjoy a lot of stroller time. The toddler, we'll call her "Rose," refused, and insisted that she wanted to ride in the stroller and go to the school to pick up her brother and sister.

This "friend" zipped up to that school rather smoothly with Rose sitting pleasantly in the stroller. When it was time to begin the journey back home, however, Rose lost it. Completely and utterly. She wanted to have a mile-long piggy back ride home. Clearly, her mother wasn't a fan of this plan. A battle of wills commenced. (Side note: When Rose involves herself in a battle of wills, she's in it for the long haul.)

The child began to scream and cause quite a scene. Much to the dismay of my "friend," this scene was witnessed by countless other mothers and children walking home from school. People starred. Older children came to offer the clearly-abused toddler solace. There was tsk-ing a plenty heard by my "friend."

My "friend" did her best to ignore the tantrum. By and large, she thought the tantrum would run its course and she and her brood (eight children total, including all the neighbor children) would peacefully resume their trip home. That's not exactly what happened.

Rose continued to scream the entire trip home. And then for another 10+ minutes. She refused to put her feet on the stroller's footrest and, instead, opted to drag them on the sidewalk in such a manner that my "friend" had to push the stroller with only the back wheels on the ground so as not to scratch all the toe nails off her daughter's feet. Are you getting a mental picture here, of the spectacle? (One woman; eight kids, one maniacally screaming while rearing up and scraping her feet for a mile...) At one point, Rose managed to Houdini herself out of the tight stroller straps and spring free. When my "friend" wordlessly manhandled the child back into the re-tightened straps, her arms were met with Rose's teeth. Three times.

That's right. Even now, six hours later, there are bruises with teeth marks on my "friend's" arms. Should I mention the swelling and the broken skin on the worst of the bites? Not pretty, dear friend and devoted reader, not pretty.

As you might imagine, getting over this event was not easy for my "friend." She basically wanted to lock Rose in her room and go into her own closet to curl up in the fetal position on the floor. But she did neither.

She quietly distributed an extra-special snack to her other three children. There might have been a distressed phone call to her husband. It wasn't long before Rose quietly came up and apologized for biting Mommy.

Thankfully, her husband came home a little early and said he'd take over dinner so she could run to the store. Here's where the advice comes in, dear friend and devoted reader. Never, never go to the grocery store if your almost three year-old has just terrorized you to the point of physically marring your body and has made you feel like you are certainly the worst mother who's ever lived to have raised such a monster.

You might wonder why it's not a good idea to go to the grocery store under such circumstances. Allow me to give you a few reasons: Double Stuff Oreos, Betty Crocker Warm Delights, Nestle Mini Chocolate Chips, Martin's Potato Chips and Duncan Hines Chocolate Chunk Brownie Mix. What was I--er--I mean, what was my "friend" thinking?!?! Clearly, the next time Rose has a bad tantrum, my "friend" needs to find another way to feel better about it!

16 comments:

Jenni said...

Well I think your friend:) is an AWESOME mommy and deserves many a double stuffed oreo after an episode like that!! Ouch!! Very very funny read Mendy!!

Jann said...

Oh man. I am in pain after reading this post. I bit my dad when I was little, and he still has a scar. What a stressful situation. You handled it really well.

Christie said...

Oh dear, your poor friend. But I bet she has a yummy treat. :-) Alex was my only one who bit, and he chose my nephew as his chew toy, not me. I tried every punishment in the book, I won't tell you the only thing that worked, but it worked fast! Good luck

Melodie's Aunt Dawn (aka A Very Devoted Reader) said...

What?... no Ben & Jerry's on the list? ;-)

Kellie said...

Please tell your "friend" that she's wonderful and not alone and then tell "Rose" that she is the luckiest kid on the planet.

Ruth & Ryan said...

It would have been directly to the spa and cold stone for me. My "friend" had a simialar experience yesterday when her 4 year old threw the biggest tantrum of all time. I've never seen anything like it.

We all have the bad days, and the horrible no good very bad days. I think you did a wonderful job!

Joni said...

You crack me up. I've never had it this bad (not even close), but I actually did roll our double stroller on its back wheels only just last week because Caleb did NOT want to be strapped in. He preferred to look at snails -- every single one. Bummer day, and I say enjoy those treats. It's such a nice way to feel a bit happier.

Amber said...

As an armchair mother, may I recommend some Benadryl for Rose? You know I believe that is the cure all for mothering. That and a dollar.

Furthermore, why do you think God gave us Double Stuff Oreos and brownie mixes if not for moments like this? Do you (I mean your "friend")want to be ingrateful?

Corinne said...

HOLY COW. Your friend deserves every treat on that dang list. I've had a biter myself and it is NOT FUN.

Cami said...

I think your friend deserves all those treats and MORE! Oh man! What a horrible ordeal.

Tracy said...

Oh, you are a good mom. I can't even imagine how I'd handled that. Next time bring the sweets over and I'll cry and eat with you. Would you like me to adopt Rose?

whitney allison said...

Here here to Amber. Drugs for the kids and chocolate for the friend. That Rose sure sounds like the one she might have been named after...

Meg said...

I sure do feel your pain "friend." I don't know if I shall ever take the kiddos back to the mall ever again!

gwyn said...

Ah, Mendy, when I wasn't laughing I was certainly feeling your pain. After a very similar and humiliating experience a few weeks ago, I too put my little angel in her room and made a big batch of rice pudding!
I'm so glad you had a lovely mother's day luncheon not too long after - you are loved by your little ones and are a great mom! Even when they bite. :)

Deb said...

mendy! your poor friend! yes, i think there should be two rules to shopping: don't go when you're hungry, don't go when you're emotionally upset. both involve a lot of unhealthy buying.... wow.

Jeri said...

Wowza. Did she buy Rose some treats too...like celery, cabbage, pork rinds, a whole fish- you know...some yummy things to sink those teeth into. =)

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill