One “skill” Ellie has acquired recently is biting. It’s not a common occurrence and when she does, it’s for a good reason. Well, maybe not a good reason, but there is a reason.

When she was over-tired in Japan and besides herself with frustration and didn’t know what to do she bit Aya. “I’m so tired but I can’t fall asleep and I feel… I feel… I don’t know how I feel! Ahhhh! (CHOMP!)”  And when we returned home similar events happened.  But instead of biting someone, she would bite something. Anything. Again, it all stemmed from her being tired and frustrated.

After her jet lag “naps” she would cry and demand an orange. But when I’d give it to her she’d cry louder and say, “NO!” Then she’d demand water, crackers, bread, apples, or a banana and then reject each one as I offered them to her. With a mixture of tears and snot running down her face she’d finally had enough. “AHHHH! I’m so cranky and tired because of you! Get out of my way! (CHOMP!)”

But she didn’t bite me. She walked over to the cabinet, opened the door and bit it! (CHOMP!)” Then she fell on the floor and tried to bite the floor. I stood silently and watched in horror. She was like a baby vampire who was denied her midnight feeding. Quick, where’s the Holy Water and the garlic!

So like I said, there was a reason. She was over-tired, over-stimulated, and cranky. I understood. I’d want to bite someone too. And luckily she only bit Aya and the door so far. She wouldn’t bite anybody else, right?

We watch this children’s show called Yo Gabba Gabba. My first experience with it was mixed. Part of me loved it and thought it was really cool and different from the other shows I had seen. But the other part of me thought it was extremely annoying and almost creepy. But overtime I grew to like it. Ellie sure is a fan now. They have guest bands that play songs that I actually like. My current favorites are “Lovely Love My Family” by The Roots, and “Nice N Clean” by Chromeo. So catchy. But in addition to the bands, the characters sing songs too (Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with all this). Songs about sharing, eating, sleeping, and biting.

Don’t… Don’t… Don’t bite your friends!

I’d laugh and think, “Is that really a problem? My kid would never do that.” My friends and I would mock the song and make fun of it. But there comes a time when things stop being funny and start getting real.

It happened in the middle of a play date with our friends Evelyn and Kelly. Ellie and Evelyn were playing and coloring while Kelly and I sipped coffee and discussed recipes. The kids are young and are still learning the concept of sharing. We’d hear a “mine!” or “no!” or just a screech once in awhile. Nothing out of the ordinary. But then we noticed a quiet game of tug of war going on with the bag of blocks. Evelyn was pulling one side and Ellie the other, both with frustrated looks on their faces. And then Ellie leaned in with her mouth open and her shiny sharp teeth exposed ready to bite. “I want these blocks! (CHOMP!)”

“Ellie! No! You don’t bite your friends!” I said with a firm concerned voice. But half way through saying it, I realized what I was saying. It was the Yo Gabba Gabba song, and Kelly and I both burst out laughing. Nothing like reinforcing discipline with laughter.

You know, the more I think about it, if you are going to bite someone, it’s probably better to bite your friends instead of biting a stranger. Your friends are more likely to be understanding. They should revise the lyrics to the song. “Don’t bite your friends… but if you’re going to bite someone, bite someone you know.”

Those creepy characters on Yo Gabba Gabba may know a thing or two after all. Now I know, biting is a problem, and my kid is a biter. But at least I have this catchy song burned in my brain to help us overcome this problem.

But the next time you see Ellie, watch your fingers… just to be safe.

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