There are some words that you that you never want to hear when you arrive to pick up your child.
“We need to talk to Mummy, don’t we?” Are some of those words.
“Today your son bit someone,” are some more.
“He drew blood.” Another three.
Listen to Holly and Andrew Daddo discussing what to do with a biter on the This Glorious Mess podcast, here:
Kids bite. No-one wants their child to be bitten. And absolutely NO-ONE wants their child to be The Biter.
Oh, the shame. Best-sellers have been written about it, for God’s sake. In Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (trailer, above), all hell breaks loose after one pre-schooler is accused of deliberately hurting another and sparking a parental war.
So the day I went to get my son and was pulled aside to be told he had sunk his teeth into Little Tex’s chest so deeply that they had broken the skin, well… it wasn’t my proudest hour.
The teacher looked on, straight-faced, as I babbled that he’d never done such a thing before, that I would ensure he never would do so again, and barked threats at four-year-old Billy, who looked… unbothered.
And then. Little Tex’s mum showed up.
Is this where we're headed?
It's usually my theory that many of us are more worried about looking like Good Parents than actually being Good Parents, but that day, I was truly mortified that my boy had made another bleed and cry and hurt.
I needed that woman to know that I was sorry, that I wasn't one of THOSE parents, the ones who don't care if their kid's a nightmare, or insist on blaming other people for their kid being a nightmare.
So to Little Tex's mum, a woman who I don't know (Um, I'm really not at Daycare that often), I would now like to apologise for over-apologising on repeat. For talking and talking and talking to you about HOW VERY SERIOUSLY I was taking this, and how BILLY WILL BE PUNISHED and I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THIS HAPPENED and USUALLY HE'S SUCH A NICE BOY.
I think she thought I was going to cry. Possibly, I was. It was the end of a long day. I had a cold. My partner had the car and I was now going to be loudly PUNISHING my child all the way home on the bus. Because in my mind I had already built my son up to being a BULLY and a MONSTER and quite clearly a DEGENERATE.
She reached out and touched my arm.
"Seriously," she said. "It's okay. Kids are kids. He'll be okay."
Thank you, Little Tex's mum. Thank you for being wiser than me in the moment.
But seriously, if anyone has any ideas how to stop a four-year-old from growing into a cannibalistic monster, let me know.
You can listen to the whole episode of This Glorious Mess, here: