Instilling Bite Inhibition In Your Toddler

If you have a dog and aren’t familiar with Dr. Ian Dunbar, well, you should get acquainted with him. He’s super smart and his training techniques have helped us a lot with our pups. One of the things he has an interesting perspective on is biting – or rather, bite inhibition. His philosophy is that mouthing in puppies is common and puppies must learn how to appropriately use their mouths, as well as the strength behind their teeth.

“Mouthing” in toddlers is also common … although for slightly different reasons. Toddlers often bite when they’re frustrated and haven’t learned how to properly express or handle that frustration. At least that’s what we’ve all read, right? I can safely say I’ve been bitten by my toddler far more times than I’ve been bitten by my dogs. Or other people’s dogs, for that matter. We’re pretty much at a 3:5819081901108 ratio, here.

Anyway, Sabine has recently been in a biting spell. I don’t really know exactly how it started. All I know is that, one day I was folding laundry and Sabine was throwing clothing everywhere. I asked Brandon to come get her out of the middle of the pile of clothes. When he picked her up, she shrieked and latched onto his shoulder. Not cool, right? He let out a scream and, honestly, I’m surprised he managed to not drop her … because his body went one way in shock, hers went another way in shock, and they both ended up sitting in the hallway looking at each other rather stunned.

So, what do you do? The logical thing to me seemed to explain to Sabine whenever she bit someone that A) She was biting and B) It hurt a lot! We would say, “Ouch! You bit me! That HURT!” and she would look sad and say, “Sowwy. Sowwy!” You could tell immediately that she was upset by the fact that she was upsetting someone else. We were on to something. We encouraged her to use her mouth in a gentle way – like kissing. And stopped the playtime if she couldn’t stop the dang biting.

A few days into this tactic I realized we were instilling bite inhibition in our child much as we did with our dogs, following Dr. Ian Dunbar’s methods of yelling “OW!” or something similar, encouraging a gentler “bite” and “losing the playmate” with continued biting. We were training our child like a dog, dammit! Although not intentionally, of course, but I guess when you spend years doing something one way it becomes ingrained in your brain somehow. Perhaps I need more parenting books. Or perhaps Dr. Ian Dunbar should write a parenting book. Hmmm.

Anyway, it’s working. There have been several instances in the past week or so when Sabine has gotten upset, opened her mouth like she was going to be me/Brandon/the couch/a toy/whatever and then suddenly STOPPED. She then says, “I wan bite. I kiss now,” and stops to give everyone kisses. I think that’s cool. I certainly don’t expect her emotions to disappear but watching her learn to control her frustrations and redirect them is a very interesting thing.

In summary, if training your child in the same manner you train your dog is wrong, I don’t want to be right. At least on this issue. I doubt I’ll have Sabine in an Easy Walk any time soon. Or a crate.


Sabine is a little socially awkward.

Much like her mama. I turn into a moron in a lot of social situations. I sit there thinking of something really cool to say for the convo and then, when it’s time to actually talk, I just blurt out something random and idiotic. Never fails. Once people get to know me they sort of embrace my randomness (I think … you guys do, right?) but when meeting new people it’s a little … off putting. In other words, it makes people think I’m a dork. Which I am.

Anyway … Sabine & I were at the grocery store the other day and we passed another mom and her daughter in one of the aisles. The other mom and I both stop our carts because our kids were seemingly fascinated with each other. The other little girl looks at Sabine and says, “Hi, baby! How you?” Sabine smiles at the other little girl and starts making what I can only describe as stammering/grunting type noises. Then she blurts out, “I HAVE A CLIP!” and points to her hair clip.

Yup. She does have a clip. And that is what she wants you to know, sweet conversational, little girl. Sabine just sat there smiling. The little girl looked at her kinda like, “WTF?” and then said bye. Sabine was fine with echoing back the “bye” part. But, man. I can so totally relate to that whole interaction. Sometimes I just yell out “I HAVE A CLIP!” too.

I’m a bad MTHFR (shut yo mouth!)

Hi, my name is Jenn and I am homozygous for the C677T mutation on the MTHFR gene. That means I have two of them … two mutations on the gene which can cause clotting issues and ineffective metabolism of Folic Acid and B vitamins. The lab report refers to it simply as “MTHFR”. I refer to it as (cover your virgin ears er, eyes) “the Motherfucker mutation”. It’s funny, right? It has to be, cause otherwise it’s a little too foreboding for my taste.

As you’ve probably guessed, my lab work came back. This was the only abnormality I showed (although I’m sure my family would beg to differ). I had some follow up lab work this morning to test my hymocisteine levels so that we’ll know what to do if/when I become pregnant again. Best case scenario I’d end up taking extra Folic Acid & B vitamins. Worst case scenario I’d end up doing Lovenox (blood thinner) injections in addition to those. Still, it doesn’t sound too bad, right? I mean, when I look at it with my rational mind it sounds easy. But when I let the hypochondriac in me loose I see words like “still birth”, “miscarriage”, and “pulmonary embolism” and think, “That shit really IS a MTHFR!”

Oh yeah – and it predisposes you to depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. So the next time I’m having a panic attack about something and everyone is telling me to chill out & stop being a nutcase, I can just tell them that I can’t help it because it’s in my friggin’ genetic make-up. That’s kind of a relief, right?

I go back and forth between “OMG I’M GOING TO DIE OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE AT 36!!!” and “hehe – This thing’s name is funny.” I’m pushing myself more toward the latter. But, it makes me wonder – how much information is TOO much? The last few weeks of my pregnancy with Sabine were craptastic, and the first few weeks of her life were rough, but other than that I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy and she’s pretty healthy. I breezed through my last pregnancy happy and care free because this wasn’t weighing on my mind. Part of me wishes I still didn’t know about this so I could breeze through another pregnancy.

Then part of me realizes I might not be as lucky this time. And it might be a blessing to know now what I didn’t know then. In other words – I’m really damn conflicted and resigned to rolling with the punches.

I think that’s probably the last I’ll talk about this here. Or much of anywhere. I feel pretty damn defeated over the whole thing and I want to get back to being a fun blog. I have funny stories to share … and some fun stuff I want to do in the upcoming weeks. But I needed to get this out of my head.

My husband and I are 12 year old girls.

Random text convo that just took place:

Me – I just bought orange duct tape for HALLOWEEN!

Brandon – L-A-M-E!

Me – You’re just jealousE.

Brandon – What-ev’s.

It wouldn’t be so funny if we didn’t generally speak to each other like this, but we do.  In all mediums of communication.

I’m giving you this funny anecdote as a way of distracting you from my not so lovely news … TTC (that’s trying to conceive, for those not in the know) # 2 is on hold until mid-November.  My consulting (should be ‘insulting’) OB is a douche and I may have a blood clotting disorder.  Yes, these two things are related.  So, we’re holding off on anything until my lab work gets back … which should be before November 18th.  We hope.  Unless Brandon has his way.  Here’s another gem:

Brandon – “I am SO going to pregnify you before then.”

Me – “DUDE!  10 foot pole rule!  I could be like, Alexei.”

Brandon – “Huh?”

Me – “You know, the hemopheliac Czar’s son.  Or rather, the hemopheliac son of Czar Nicholas.”

Brandon – “Which would be WEIRD!”

Me – “Ok, my turn to ‘Huh?'”

Brandon – “Because ‘Nikolas’ is what you want to name our potential son.  And you’d be like, his son.  But his mom.  Which would make him his own grandpa.  Or something.”

See?  Totally distracted you again.  Now you’re all going, “Those two are funny.  Or maybe weird” instead of “Awww.  Poor things can’t even TRY to have another baby.  SUCKAHS!”