I pride myself on being a relatively calm, measured mum most of the time. When SB falls over, I don’t panic – I put on my best “mum” voice and say “Oh dear!”, pick her up and get her to brush her hands together. I don’t tend to overreact, I don’t get too judgypants-y – I’m pretty cool, calm and collected, if I do say so myself.
Or, at least, I thought I was. Picking SB up from nursery the other day, she was halfway through her afternoon snack of beans and bread. Not one to be separated from her food (that’s my girl!), she brought her beans over to me and let me watch her feed herself, as Daf spoke to the nursery workers about her day.
Thankfully, this meant that I was distracted, and only-just-about heard the nursery workers telling Daf that there had been an ‘incident’ earlier in the day.
SB and another child had been playing with Happyland, when they reached for the toy at the same time, and the other child bit SB on the arm, leaving teeth marks and a nasty bruise.
I managed to stay calm. We finished the beans, waved goodbye to her nursery friends, and got outside. It wasn’t until I checked her arm and saw the marks that my Mama Bear instincts kicked in, and I had to resist the urge to run into the nursery, gather the nursery class in a half circle and do a Liam Neeson style “I don’t know who bit my daughter, but I will find you, and I will… steal your teddy, or something” (I can’t say “I will kill you”, they’re two years old at the most for goodness’ sake).
The thing is, SB was fine. They put a cold compress on it at the time and gave her lots of cuddles and TLC and made her feel better. I was the one who was in a state. I was relieved that she was okay, but every so often I’d think of how she must have felt when it happened; my poor scared baby just happily playing with her friends with a toy she loves (literally half of her Christmas is Happyland this year) and being hurt for no reason, and it made me want to cry and get angry simultaneously.
I don’t blame the nursery. They can’t be everywhere at once, I know, and they’re fantastic at dealing with these incidents. The problem is that it isn’t the first time there’s been a biting incident in recent weeks, and those of us whose children are being bitten are slightly worried that this is going to become a recurring theme.
I have no idea who the child who bit SB is, and even if I did, I wouldn’t say anything. There could be any manner of reasons why their child is biting, ranging from additional needs to just going through a bitey stage. SB may go through a similar stage at some point, I know lots of toddlers do. The parents could be at the end of their tether trying to stop their little one from biting, and the last thing they need is me going up to them all guns blazing and saying “Hey, why is your child biting mine?!”.
Instead, all I can do is put my Mama Bear instincts to one side, comfort SB, and spare a thought for the parent who was told at that pickup that their child had bitten yet another of his or her classmates – because it can’t be a nice thing to hear.