My Daughter is a Vampire

October 14, 2011

  Just kidding!  That's what D called her the other day after getting a call from her pre-school that Dky had bitten another child there.  Unfortunately, this isn't a new problem.  Sky has always bit herself, usually her hands but occasionally her arms.  The Marshallese don't give their children teething toys so she used what was available (like her hands) and we haven't been able to entirely break her of the habit.  She has bitten both D and I in anger but mostly we get bit when she's excited and forgets herself.
   Sky went through a biting stage in August but we thought she was over it.  Back then, part of it was teething but all of her teeth have cut through now so that's not really in issue.  Most of the incidents stem from her trying to defend herself in some way, usually another child pushes her or takes something from her and she bites them in retaliation.  She is very empathetic and feels terrible about it afterward.  She will say that she's sorry and try to hug the child she bit, but in the moment, she can't seem to control the urge.  We're working on it at home, trying to get her to use words when she's mad and they're doing the same at school.  Hopefully this stage will pass as she continues to learn and use more English.

  But that's actually not the point of this post.  I'll do my best to keep this from devolving into a rant but I feel like I need to get this off my chest.  Since I live on a small island, I can't really share this with many folks here so I'll just go ahead and share it with the rest of the world (oh, the irony!).  Sky has bit three kids, her BFF (who's parents were fine with it, well, they recognized that it happens and that we're trying to work through it) and two other children, whose parents were less fine with it. 
  J, who is about a year older than Sky, was warned not to push Sky and not to put her fingers in Sky's face after pushing her.  Of course, J did both and got bit.  J's parents called the school principal about it.  Apparently, they'd heard through the coconut wire that Sky had been diagnosed with TB and were worried about J's health.  I walked in to pick Sky up from school and was met by 5 adults discussing my child, her health, behaviors and suitability for daycare.  Great.
  C, the other child that Sky has bit, is the same age as she is.  They're the same height but he's physically bigger than she is and while she has better motor skills than he does, C has more words and uses them more.  C has been bitten twice, once in retaliation for taking a toy and once in defence (retaliation again?) for pushing.  C's parents know that Sky is the one that bit him, even though the school tries to keep it from being known.  They live right up the street from us and we see them every day.  They've never approached us about this, or anything else, but since we're practically neighbors, I wave and smile when I see them.  Yesterday afternoon in response to my wave and smile, I got a frown and a hairy eyeball from C's mom.  I mentioned this to a friend and wondered aloud if it was related to the biting (of course I knew it was, I was fishing).  Well, my friend told me that after the first time Sky bit C, C's mother approached her about Sky (not me, my friend) and said that since Sky was "just Marshallese" she shouldn't be in daycare, especially if she can't be taught to control herself.  Picture me as a chicken- all my dander went up at that and obviously it still hasn't come down.  My daughter's race shouldn't have anything to do with this and neither should whether she's been adopted by ribelle or not (apparently C's mother backed down on the race stuff when she found out Sky was adopted).
  Besides bringing to light a previously unknown patch of racism living up the street, the point of all of this is that neither of these children's parent approached myself or D about any of this.  From the beginning, I have asked the school if we should approach them to apologize and to try and work on the issue outside of school and been told that I shouldn't, so I haven't.  I know that Sky has a biting problem and I would be happy to talk about it with them, apologize, have a play group to try and deal with it, anything, if they would have asked.
  I don't really know how to wrap this post up, other than to say that this is a perfect example of how small this island can be.  J and her parents have moved away from Kwaj but since C and Sky are the same age, they will continue to go to school together for as long as his family and ours live here, so interaction with them will be unavoidable.  It looks like they are choosing to be passive-aggressive about this, so we'll be the ones to take the high road (darn it!  I wanted to be the passive-aggressive one!) and continue to smile and wave and  hopefully, this will be the last time I'll be posting about something like this.


 But  "just Marshallese"!  That's going to take a little bit to get over though.

7 comments

  1. I love reading your blog and had to smile at the "just Marshallese" comment. People will say the most inappropriate things--when we had just gotten back with Maddie and were at the Dr. for a well-baby check, the nurse said, "they really look like sisters." DUH!! And my reply was, "they are sisters". You would want to think that since they are professionals and deal with the public everyday that they would be more conscious of their remarks. But anyway, keep your chin and your "dander" up:-)

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  2. Yikes. I hope your little one grows out of the biting phase, but wow the adults should be responding better than that. So sad that the race card has to be played on a child!

    Julie @ velvet-rose.net

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    1. Sky did eventually grow out of biting but the neighbor never grew out of her attitude towards my daughter. It's sad to me that some people still think that way.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Biting is no fun at all. I was a biter as a kid. My mom would come home crying to my dad that I bit another kid at preschool. She will get over it, but it's so hard while you're in it. Parents need to be more understanding; all kids go through phases, some are just different than others.

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    1. And this is super random, but do you live on Kwajalein? Our old pastor from our church and his family moved to Kwajalein a few years ago and he is now pastor of a church there (not sure if there are many churches, but we're Lutheran). He has MS so it was better for him.

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    2. Crying was my first reaction to Sky's biting too. I was terrified that she wasn't going to make friends, that she was going to get kicked out of school, that it was the start of attachment problems. Nope, she was just a biter and eventually grew out of it.
      Was the pastor at your old church named John? He was the pastor here for 2 years and was great. We were sad to see him go but his synod recalled him to a church in the states.

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    3. Yes that's him! I didn't realize he went back to the states! He baptized me and married me and my hubby! What a small world it really is! :)

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