Get updates from Tabulous straight to your inbox! Just enter your email:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

By The Skin Of His Teeth.

Kiedis has started biting again.

For a while, he was doing it only to himself, and only occasionally at that, like when he was really overwhelmed and/or tired, and most of the time we could mitigate that fairly easily.

But now, now he has begun grabbing Tova with both hands and bringing his teeth upon her like a freaking Walking Dead zombie, ruthless, violent, without shame or honestly a fuck given about the pain he's inflicting or the consequences that will come of it.

And I am legitimately angry at him.

I am angry because he waits until I leave the room to attack her. Sure, sometimes she incites it by taking one of his favorite toys and waving it in front of him then running away when he reaches for it -- but other times, other times she's just sitting eating a snack or watching a movie or playing by herself and he just ambushes her.

It's not just her arms or hands, either. He's bitten her on the back, on her shoulder blade, and on her stomach, both times rough enough to leave scratches and bruises for a week. He grabs her face and goes for her nose, her cheek, her ear.

I'm honestly afraid he's going to do some serious damage to her.

And he does it in just an instant, a flash of a turned back or the beep of the oven declaring lunch is finished and he pounces on her, the only indicators being her pained screams and, very recently, her being able to say  "ow" and "Keesee" and "bite" while she points to her latest wound, still swollen with the tiny indents of his baby teeth in a perfect arching pattern, like a dental mold.

I'm at my wits' end over this.

We've tried explaining to him how he can't touch her like that -- much like we have to tell him that he can't put his hands or his feet on her. We've tried reasoning, time-outs, withholding things, early rest times, and I'll admit it, some corporal punishment out of sheer frustration.

I don't know what to do anymore.

I am so angry at him in times like this because I KNOW he knows better. He's never bitten at school, save the one time I came in for whatever reason and he tried to bite Tova at the sensory table when no one else was around. He's tried to bite Kyle and I, usually when we're trying to restrain him while he's having a tantrum or even just while trying to change his diaper while the smell of shit permeates a five foot radius around him.

I'm at the point where I can't leave them alone in a room together, not even for a second, because he will take that opportunity to hurt her.

Even right now, as I write this, I'm listening to music to drown out the sounds of him screaming from his room because he was sent there for trying to bite Tova's face, his voice defiant as if I'm the one who's done wrong here. Because if I have to sit and listen to that from him right now, I'm going to end up making choices I will instantly regret, I'm so angry and tired of this shit from him.

I don't know how to make it stop. I've done everything I can think of, everything the parenting groups and teachers have told me, the suggestions the internet has put forth, but nothing's working.

But it has to stop. It HAS to.

Because I'm burned out on the constant screaming and biting and punishments and more screaming and the tears of hurt and anger and treating mouth-made wounds and feeling like the worst parent in the world because I can't reach my own kid, I can't get him to stop hurting his own sister, I can't stop this cycle that I grew up with, a violent competitive seething-loathing relationship with your sibling that only in adulthood can maybe be better understood and mended, but still leaves decades of scars and hurt and arguments that creep back up forever later because someone always has to be right, someone always was the victim, but no one has the same story as to what happened.

I've worked really hard to be different, to teach my kids to love one another and be friends and for it not to be a competition, but a group effort, and I know they're still so small but I remember three and four years old. I remember how I felt about my brother and how I felt I was treated by him and my parents. I try to be understanding that Kiedis isn't a normal four year old and to make appropriate concessions, but I'm also not going to excuse inappropriate behavior or sell him short to us or himself because his brain works differently. So does mine, in different ways, and that's no excuse to be an asshole or to cause harm to others.

People tell me that this is how kids are, this is how this age is, but I don't completely believe it. I don't hear other moms, of special needs kids or not, talking about their kids viciously attacking one another. I don't hear about dealing with toddler and preschooler rage issues, if that's what this is, I honestly have no idea. This is my first time parenting, I have no clue if this is a phase or if I'm looking at the makings of a sociopath.

All I know is that I'm overwhelmed right now, utterly, with his behavior, and I'm out of ideas to help us, as a family, change it.

5 comments :

  1. oh no! I am so sorry. I wish I knew the answer. Jacob bites also. It is different, because it is only myself really. No siblings to hurt yet. I am sure you are not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I could have written half of this post, seriously. I am glad I found your blog, and re-found it again today, because girl I think we should talk. My daughter is 7 w/ PDD-NOS & ADHD and (some doctors say) ODD. She has thankfully moved out of her biting stage, but holy crap, that was rough. She would bite kids at school, and was suspended for biting and other violent behavior FOUR TIMES IN KINDERGARTEN before she was diagnosed and got her IEP.

    The biting/violent stage was unbelievably tough for everyone, and sorry to say I think sometimes the only way we got through it was by deny Elise of every fun thing imaginable on days when she exhibited violent behavior. You hit/pushed/kicked/bit someone at school? Then you will come home, eat dinner, and go to bed, and you can bet your ass I policed the hallway to make sure her light was off and no fun was being had in there even if it took her hours of flailing and tantruming before she fell asleep. The way we change behavior is heavy rewards for good deeds and complete Nazi-like discipline - NO FUN FOR YOU! I think it's about teaching them that they will never be rewarded for bad behavior...

    Anyway, I know that all kids and parents are different, especially special needs kids. If you ever want to chat shoot me an email or tweet, but I will definitely follow your blog. Hang in there! It gets better, and less bitey!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for this. We try some pretty strict discipline for when he does it, but it's super varied as to how he responds to it. I'm going to talk to his teacher about it this week and bring it up at the doctor next week.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know ... that's normal at Jacob's age, I think, with boundary testing. But I'm sorry you're going through it too. It's super rough.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't have kids, so I can't quite imagine what you're going through, but I do know a psychologist who specializes in kids... I don't know if this article will help, but maybe you could reach out to her through her blog for advice? http://babyshrink.com/2010/01/how-to-handle-aggression-in-your-young-child.html

    ReplyDelete