Monday, October 27, 2008

Incident Report

"I promise you this: I will always tell you what I think and where I stand. I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you when we disagree." - Sen. Barack Obama.

Parents never get a good call from school or day care. When that phone rings, they're not calling to tell you how cute your child is being, how brilliant she is, or how well you dressed her. Nope. When they call, something is wrong. Something has happened. There's been an 'incident.'

An 'incident,' in Penelope's case, that involves an 'attempt.' An attempt to inflict harm. Inflict harm with one's teeth. Yes, we have ourselves a biter.

There are times, when she is tired and/or frustrated, when my daughter becomes a campy horror flick: frightening, and at the same time, amusing. Because she now has a mouth full of teeth and she could at a moment's notice, without the help of a full moon, transform into a teetering, tottering, rampaging jack o'lantern with a thirst for flesh. But she's also very cute.

In her previous day care, Penelope was always the bitee. She was the victim. We would get a phone call saying another child had taken a chunk out of her. And the parent of the biter would deny it. "Oh my son doesn't bite. He was probably provoked." Yes, lady, my daughter triple-dog-dared your little boy to bite her on the arm. You fool.

New town. New day care. New Penelope. Sharpen those fangs. She vants to suck your blood! Mwuahaha!

I don't know what's more puzzling: the fact that my daughter tries to bite her little colleagues for no apparent reason, or that my wife and I giggle uncontrollably and joke about it when she does. Perhaps, that's part of the problem. You think?

We have also been the intended targets for Penelope's chomping attacks. And it takes all of my willpower not to laugh when she turns all Hannibal Lechter on me.

Picture it: You snuggle. She struggles. You want to relax. She wants to resist. Her defenses are powerless against your enormous strength. She has no other choice, but to lash out with that little buzzsaw attached to her jaw.

They call them "attempts" at day care. The day after an "attempt," that's always their lead story. "We had no attempts by Penelope today." Well, I guess we're just going to have to try harder the next time, aren't we?

How serious is this, afterall? Isn't this what kids do? Bite each other? This'll stop eventually, right? Just like she's not always going to poop in her pants, sleep in her crib, and sit in a highchair.

Oh, wait a second! It's up to the parents to get her out of those habits! I guess we have another responsibility to sink our teeth into.

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