Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sir Chomps-A-Lot

My kids go to a Spanish Immersion preschool, called Amiguitos!  (The exclamation point is in the name, so I include it whenever I write the name, even on my tuition checks).  We love the school, the staff, the teachers and the other families.  However, tonight, I'm not writing about the school.  I'm writing about L in the school.

I spent what feels like the better part of the summer getting L potty trained so he could attend Amiguitos!  They have a policy that you must be 3 when you start school there, and if not three, at the very least, potty trained.  They simply don't have the facilities to change diapers.  Since E was already flourishing in her Spanish aquisition, I just had to get L into the program.  Plus, it's five minutes from work, so there really was no other option.

L started at Amiguitos! at two years, five months, the youngest kiddo in his class.  In addition, he's small for his age.  He only recently outgrew is size 18 month pants.  The boy is a shrimp.  He's a freaking adorable shrimp, but he's a shrimp nonetheless.

Because he's small, the other kids in his class assumed that they could do whatever they want when it comes to him and the toys he's playing with.  What they didn't expect is that L had honed his dirty fighting skills on his big sister.  So, within the first month, I received my first report of my son biting another child.  It was over the little bike, which is popular among the kids because it's low to the ground and cool.  It's also the only bike the little kids can ride where they can actually reach the pedals.

So L was getting on the bike and another child decided to push him out of the way to get on the bike.

Not so fast, was L's thought, and he bit the other child.




When you are a parent of a child who bites, it's embarrassing.  When your job title happens to be "Early Childhood Education Specialist," it's humiliating.  For one thing, I felt like I should have known this was bound to happen, and I should have figured out a way to prevent it.  For another, after the third incident, I realized that I had no idea what to do, and I honestly thought I should send my teaching license back to TSPC.
Birds of a feather...

It's shameful, really.  This is what I do for a living.  I figure out functions of behavior in young children and help them meet their needs in socially appropriate ways.  I do this every day, and more than once in a day.  Yet, when it came to my own child, all I could do was hang my head, cross my fingers and pray that I would not be given the news that "this just isn't a good fit" when I picked him up from school at the end of the day.

And then I remembered that I have friends -- smart friends who also do this kind of thing for a living.  So I enlisted their help.  Specifically, I contacted my friend Ashley, who heads up the 2-1-1 Family Info line.  The 2-1-1 Family Info line is a great parenting resource for anyone living in Clackamas, Multnomah or Washington Counties.  You can call, email, or post on their facebook page any and all questions about parenting.  You may have questions about child development, school readiness, handling family stresses, finding playgroups or other parent support groups, and biting.  So I asked Ashley what I should do about L.  Not only did she respond, the great crew at 2-1-1 created an illustrated story.  I think they captured L's essence.

Click here to go to the totally awesome story.

Since contacting 2-1-1 and creating a partnership and plan with his school, we haven't had any more biting incidents.  In fact, L has told me "I rode the little bike today.  I took turns with _____!"  And I tell him that he must be so proud of himself for using kind, friendly words to take turns with his friends.  We walk out together with our heads held high.  Thanks, Ashley!

To contact the 2-1-1 family info line:
  • dial 2-1-1 on your phone
  • text "children" to 898211
  • email children@211info.org
  • facebook 

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