Dear Lily June,
At only sixteen months, you are still a young toddler. You can’t, for instance, badger me about how to make a piece of toast, let alone an entire ham sandwich. And yet, you can definitely use your teeth.
“In the world of toddlers,” my sister, who has had five children, tells me, “there are bite-es, and there are bite-ers. It’s better for you if they’re the bite-ee. It’s better for your child if they’re the bite-er.”
Congratulations, Lily June. Things just got a whole lot better for you.
Things got a lot worse for everything in which you’re leaving behind a ring of teeth: your spoons, your sippy cups, concrete sidewalks, your mother’s cheeks.
In the hopes of putting the kibosh on your new chomping hobby, I’ve been reading a lot of parenting articles that sink their teeth into the topic. The first thing I’m supposed to do is identify your triggers. That’s easy. It’s Mommy. (You have, after all, never once bitten your father.)
Step One complete. Step Two: Undergo Surgery to Don an Entirely Different Physical Identity so that You Can’t Recognize Me has been tabled until further notice due to financial difficulty.
Then I am supposed to, once bitten, react consistently. Because you don’t yet understand the finer things–like armchair philosophy on the nature of human cruelty–I cannot logic your vice grip off of me.
Instead, I am supposed to react the same way every time. And I do, really.
I’ve been trying to practice my Mad Mom stonewall gaze while tossing you a firm “No.” In response, ever the precocious angel, you imitate the expression on my face, to what I can only assume, sans mirror, is a T.
Apparently, when I’m most upset, I closely resemble a 1980’s situational comedy alien who mostly just hung around on a suburban family’s couch cracking wise about eating their cats.
And then I react again just as the parenting experts and child psychologists and pediatricians agree I should: I consistently laugh at the way you pantomime me before Googling “how to unhinge the jaw of a python-like toddler.”
Then I drag you, still attached by all eight teeth to my forearm, to inventory the fridge for butter that I can use to slide your mouth off my arm like you might use to slip a too-small ring off of a too-large finger.
In other words, given my first REAL disciplinary test as a parent, I’m failing miserably. And as a result, you’re probably going to bite me forever.
- By Marcus Quigmire from Florida, USA – Do Not Feed TigerUploaded by Princess Mérida, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23356046