Friday, August 8, 2008

This bites

The biting has gotten worse, and sternly saying "No!" doesn't stop it (although it does make Kiki cry.) She's not even doing it out of anger or frustration, she just... does it. Sometimes it starts off as a kiss. But generally speaking it just seems to be when she's wanting our attention or she's hugging and kissing.

So being a Thoroughly Modern Mommy, I went out on the 'Net to see if I could find any help in curbing this behavior. I found an interesting board where parents posted about this problem, seeking the same kind of help as me. Some parents advocated the same stern "No!" type of thing we've been doing. Some parents advocated biting their kids back. Umm. Ouch?

Then I read a post by a mom who noted that she thought her child was biting when being affectionate: hugging, kissing, etc. Hmm. A little light went on.

Then I found an article written by an "expert" (I'd post all the links but you know what? I'd have to find them again. I'm lazy.) The article advocated the "No" technique, and also to be very careful not to reinforce the biting by laughing at the child's antics or participating in biting games with the child.


Okay, now that might sound weird, the "biting game" thing, but hear me out. I don't actually bite my daughter. But I do kiss her feet and her chubby little arms and when doing so, I often nibble gently on her and pretend I'm eating her all up. It makes her giggle, which makes me giggle, and so there you are.

So I go downstairs and I confess to Kipp that it's all my fault that Kiki bites, because she thinks it's a sign of affection because of the games I play with her. And he starts to mock me -- because I'm always coming up with some reason or another that I'm a bad mom -- and then shamefacedly, he admits that he nibbles on her too.

We both agreed to stop the nibbling games immediately. Hopefully once the mixed messages stop being sent, the biting will just fade away.

You know, I remember when I was a kid, and my mom pretending to gobble up my chubby arms. She'd put pretend salt on me and everything. It was a hoot. Of course, if I remember it, that probably means I was already of an age where it was possible to communicate to me that there is a definite difference between pretend nibbling and taking a chunk out of somebody biting.

Gah, the subtleties of parenthood. Babies should come with individual manuals. And "Do Not Nibble Until 4 Years of Age" warning signs.

Now I have to find whole new ways of making her giggle. Luckily, Kipp discovered recently that throwing pillows at her makes her belly laugh until she snorts.


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