Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whose Child Is This Anyway?

I received a call from Mister Man's teacher this afternoon before they got off the bus. "I'm not sure how to tell you this," his teacher began, "but Mister Man bit someone at recess today."


My child isn't a biter. And he turns 9 tomorrow.  How does this happen?  As the story came from her - who wasn't there but heard about it after he was brought inside - he was trying to climb up a slide and a friend of his was trying to go down the slide and Mister Man somehow bit his friend in the shoulder.  He didn't break the skin, thank goodness, but it will leave a mark for awhile.  And it's totally not ok under any circumstances.  Mister Man had to miss the remainder of recess today and will stay inside with the teacher for the rest of the week, a fair punishment for a third grader, I think.

When Mister Man got home, I asked for his side of the story.  He explained that he and other boys were going up the slide, and some of his friends were at the top of the slide.  Another friend pushed the friend he bit, who came tumbling down the slide, and Mister Man was shocked by the boy tumbling into him.  And in his surprise, apparently his instinct was to bite the other child.  That's where I start blinking in confusion.

When my husband arrived home and heard about it, we immediately looked at each other.  "Was it you?"  "Were you a biter?"  The questions over whose family this trait originated began.  It obviously wasn't something that was taught, so it must be innate, and we immediately start looking to see if a trait came from my side or from his side, not tallying, not keeping score, but just knowing.

It's human nature in some what to want to understand where you originated, what  you pass to your children, what little things will remain forever memorialized.  But it isn't and can't be the focus.

Instead, I sat Mister Man down and had him write a very nice apology letter that he will give to his friend, explaining most importantly that he didn't mean to hurt his friend.  And, of course, asking to have a playdate soon so that he can show how good of a friend he can be.

And I'll be crossing my fingers not to get another call like this one for a long time.  I don't want to be responsible for any more entertaining Facebook posts on her wall.

Child writing an apology letter to a friend

In the interest of full disclosure, this post was written as part of the From Left to Write book club where we write posts inspired by the books we read rather than traditional book reviews.  This month's book was "The Black Count" by Tom Reiss.  I receive a copy of the book for review purposes, but there was no compensation as part of this campaign.  All opinions remain my own.

book cover of The Black Count by Tom Reiss


Emily Sovich October 10, 2012 at 8:02 PM  

So which one of you was the biter? ;-)

I think you handled that situation really well, and I've been bracing myself for something similar over here. When I trimmed my preschooler's nails before her very first day of school this year she casually asked me if I was sharpening her claws. Talk about a bad omen! So far, so good though...

I loved *The Black Count*. It left me wondering why I don't read more biographies -- so good!

Thien-Kim aka Kim October 11, 2012 at 12:55 AM  

Yikes! I'm glad that you talked to your so about it and had him write a apology.

Pat October 11, 2012 at 2:50 PM  

Oh, dear, that's unfortunate. It sounds like both you and his teacher dealt with it appropriately. It's great that you had him write a letter of apology and I hope the friend will come over for a play date soon.

Tara R. October 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM  

It does sound like it was an 'in the moment' thing and not something done intentionally to hurt his friend. I hope they can work it out and have that playdate soon.

Michelle October 11, 2012 at 8:49 PM  

Emily - Ummm actually, shhh, it was me. Apparently when I was 2, a friend wore a shirt that exposed her stomach, and I'd never seen a stomach before. And so I wanted to taste it - according to my mom. I have a feeling I was not quite so innocent as she'd have everyone believe. But shhhh!

Kim - Yeah... it's always something with kids. I talked to his friend's mom, too, and she gets it fortunately but ugh.

Pat - I hope so, too. He got that his consequence continued today where he had to stay in for recess and was bummed but totally got it, so I'm glad of that at least.

Tara - I'm crossing my fingers that's really the case. Mister Man isn't a dissembler, but his perception isn't always ummm perfect. Yep, the fingers are crossed.

Nancy Cavillones October 11, 2012 at 9:01 PM  

I was laughing because I could totally imagine this "were you the biter?!" conversation. Whenever one of our girls does something, my husband and I turn to each other and say, "oh, that is totally you, isn't it?!" October 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM  

We start blaming each other immediately when the kids do something not so perfect! Sometimes its just a look - sometimes it is a nod, but someone has to take responsibility!

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