My heart hurts today — The Bump
South Florida Babies

My heart hurts today

This might be a little (alot) long, so please bear with me...

Alex never took a pacifier when he was a baby. He connected with a blanket instead. He cuddled and suckled the blanket until 2 weeks ago, when we decided the blanket was for babies. We took Alex shopping for a new "big boy" blanket for him to have at school. We trying to get past the blanket because Alex was also developing the habit of biting his fingers....bad. Like, he truly has a need to have something in his mouth, and I dont know what to do to break the habit or how to find out what the real cause of it all is. At the same time Alex also switched to a new school a few months back, and recently they bumped him up to the 4 year old class. From the schools point of view, Alex would do much better in the 4 year old class. He's extremely intelligent and knows more than alot of the kids who left to go to kindergarten. For Alex, he doesnt understand why hes in the 4 year old class if he is only 3. Telling him "because you are smart" seems like it will come back to bite me in the ass in a few years, so I've told him that its a new school year and it was time to move to the next class. Oh yeah, throw into the mix that Alex went from being an only child to being a big brother too, something that he has done excellent with for the most part.

Alex doesnt do well with change. He gets upset and frustrated and asks a million questions about why things are happening. He's very curious and inquisitive. Its not easy to tell him things to get a 3 year old to understand them. He's almost too smart for himself if that makes any sense. He's also extremely sensitive and emotional and doesnt do well with yelling of any sorts.

Fast forward to today. Max was doing what I thought was his morning whine for his bottle so I let him be so I could finish up what I was doing. When I finally sat down to feed Max, I noticed that he had bite marks ALL over his arms. Like 10 bites easily. For those who dont remember, Alex had traumatizing experiences in day care when he was younger. He was the one that the kids bit. He still remembers it. So all of this was very shocking to me. I asked Alex why he did it, he got very upset and started crying. I had to walk away because I had to stop myself from yelling at him. I finally sat with him and asked him why. "Mommy, I didnt mean to hurt Max, I did it because I love him and because he is chubby". Then he turns to Max, starts crying and says "I'm sorry Max, I promise I wont bite you anymore." So from all of this, I just knew it was going to be one those days for Alex where he is just sad. He gets so much attention from us, so much affection.

I'm desperate for words of encouragement and wisdom and any insight on how I can help my big guy. I'm even open to bringing him to talk to someone. 

Thank you for letting me vent, sometimes writing this all out is therapy all in of itself.


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Re: My heart hurts today

  • Oh Lauren! My heart hurt just reading this =[  I don't have two children, but I do know that if Charlotte were to have been bitten as a baby i would have felt awful, then again, if she were to have bitten someone and felt so painfully bad for it, it would also kill me!

    I just wanted to tell you that I don't think that any of the changes happening have created this biting incident.  When I was littel I used to bite my aunt, who is actually a year younger than me. (yes my grandparents had their youngest, after the oldest had her first lol)  I would bite her cheecks, because she too was chubby and as she got older she learned to defend herself from me, but she knew and to this day talks about how I didn't do it with malicious intent, and how funny ti was, because she knew I was biting her out of love.

    As we got older she would even give me permission to bite her, and my family also knew that I was doing it because she was so cute and had chubby cheeck lol. I don't mean to make light of this situation as I know that you are hurting today and not sure what to do.  I turned out just fine and so did my aunt, and we didn't have to see anyone professonal.  I didn't have a need for thngs to be in my mouth, and if that is a concern by the next pedi apt. I would ask that they think.  However, i honestly can tell you as an adult that excibited the same behavior as a child, that Alex showed today, I think he is fine.

     There are people who bite when they are excited. I still do to this day, all of my friends and family know that I do! lol If my dh does something cute or says something funny, or even any of my friends or family even, I can't help but bite them lol and sometimes I hurt them, but itsall fun =] at least for me.  However now as an adult, I would never bite Charlotte, and you have seen her cheeks in person several times, so you kow how hard thats been :o)  I have developed a toothless bite, using only lips, and she had never complained ;o)  HTH feel better mommy!

  • I am so so sorry! Have you considered taking Alex to a psychologist? Just so he can talk to someone outside of his circle. As far as the needing something in his mouth, he may be going through anxiety. And the not understanding why he's in an older classroom is totally understandable since he's so young. If it were happening to me, I would just take him in to see someone. Not because there's anything wrong with him, because he is 3 years old and dealing with a lot of changes, but just so he can talk to someone else and not feel judged. Maybe it'll help. GL!
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  • I'm so sorry, Lauren. :( I don't have any advice for you but a friend of mine does counseling if you end up choosing that route. She is fantastic with kids and is a very caring person. Her name is Amanda and website is
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  • I am so sorry that happened. :( Poor Alex and poor Max. Alex is dealing with a lot and I am sure it is tough for him. Maybe he needs a little more alone time with mommy or daddy? like a date night or something. Having him go speak to someone and getting someone who is not biased tell you some positive reinforcements is a very good idea....sorry this is happening. Alex is very strong and will move past this very soon I am sure


  • No advice. Just wanted to say that Alex sounds like such a smart, sensitive, and sweet little boy. I'm sorry you are going through this rough patch with him. ((hugs))
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  • Awww Lauren you made my heart drop for you. That is so sad that he would do that to poor little Max but also how he told Max that he didn't mean it. Awwwwwww

    Poor Alex, he has so much change going on, I can only imagine how crazy things seem to him at only 3. Just hang in there and keep doing what you are doing. It seems like Alex realizes that he did do something wrong and I'd hope he learned from his mistake from this morning. As with most other things this is probably just another phase and you know very well that these crappy phases comes and goes. ((HUGS))
  • i once bit my younger cousin out of jealousy. i was an only child until she came looks like this is a phase for him from so much change that has been around him, he's probably overwhelmed?

    sorry that max got bit, i can imagine how you must have felt.

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  • I'm pretty sure that I am not dealing with jealousy. Its a very hard position to be in when one of your own bites their brother or sister. I felt horrible for Max and just as horrible for Alex. Alex is not a child who acts out, especially with the intention to hurt someone. He doesnt have a mean bone in his body.
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  • hopefully it's just a phase - from what you wrote it looks like he realized he did something wrong and knew to apologize right away. i agree with sam - phases come and go.

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  • I feel so sad for you guys. I would not know what to do either and thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. Poor you. It must be so difficult for you guys. In your story Alex sounds really sorry but it really doesn't warrant that he won't do it again. ( I am so sorry for hi, too) Is probably nothing but you should ask your pedi for advice. I am sure that he/she should know where to send you or what to do. 


  • Ouch, Lauren, what a tough position to be in!  To want to soothe the hurter and the hurtee because of course they are both your babies! 

    I haven't had this exact experience, but there have been a couple of times when Cedric has tried to touch Graciela in the eyes or has wanted to hug her too hard and she cries, and I have had to take her away from him and tell him that I know that he wants to touch the baby because he loves her but that what he was doing hurts and that he may not do it--that he can touch her leg with one finger or with the palm of his hand, that sort of thing. Then I make him do it in front of me, and when I catch him doing it on his own, I notice it out loud ("oh, look, you are touching  your sister so nicely on her leg!"), and he smiles.  It doesn't stop the other touches entirely, but it helps.

    I have read (I don't know if it was in Parents mag or what) that when one kid hurts another one, that the parent should try to give attention in that moment to the one who got hurt and ignore the hurter so as not to reward the hurter with attention--that many kids seek attention, even if it is negative attention, and that they will repeat behavior that gives them attention.

    I don't think I would go to the therapy route just yet.  I might mention it to the pediatrician, but I would wait to see if it happens again before bringing in any sort of expert (not that you want it to, but you know what I mean).

    I think Kris's description of biting her aunt sounds more along the lines of what was happening, at least from Alex's answer (that he loves him and he is so chubby he just wanted to bite him), so maybe you can teach him to give kisses instead of bites?  Assume the best--he was trying to show love, just in a way that happens to hurt.  So tell him that you know he loves his brother and that Max is so delicious and chubby, but remind him that biting hurts and then tell him that there is a better way to show love to the baby that won't hurt him.  Make him practice in front of you, and praise him when he does it.

    Hope Max is okay and that Alex learns a less painful way to show his love to his brother!


  • Hey, I am sorry you are going through this.  All I can tell you is that my Alex was never one to bite or be bitten and when Brandon was about 5 or 6 months old he did bite his legs on random occassions.  I scolded him and made sure he understood it was wrong.  I think your Alex is right, it was his way of showing effection.  It did not last long and it only happened about 5 different occassions.  Anyways, I don't think it is something that you should worry about for two reasons, one, because he understood it was wrong, apologized and explained his action, which means he totally understands what he is doing, and second because, I truly believe it is just a phase, there are changes going on in his life and he is a very smart kid, so he is doing transition actions that in my mind are completely normal.

    About having a bad day, unfortunately, they will have a lot of bad days throughout their life and as much as we love them, it will always be a bad day for us too.  I am sorry today was one of those for you.... hope it gets better as the day goes by.

  • Oh honey my heart is melting for you all! Here are my suggestions.

    I would talk to the school first and have them put Alex in his back in his age group. It's great that he is advanced and all but I think until he actually turns 4 then they should move him along with his classmates. Gaby's school did this too which was okay but she was moved with her best friend. So she kinda had a "buddy" and wasn't alone.

    I would strongly suggest having a ALEX DAY! Have someone watch Mr. Max and just focus on Alex. I bet he will be super trilled to be "spolied" for one day. Have him choose the place and just run wild with his ideas. 

    For the him having something to put him his mouth, I would suggest having him chose a fabulous new big boy toy at the store. Something that he can carry and show it off ;) Besides who dooesn't like to show off once in a while! You should even name the toy and pretend the toy is sleepy, hungry, ect. This will teach him to take care of his toy just like he needs to becareful with Max. You might also want to introduce him to germs and how our fingers have germs and they don't belong in our mouths. (Gaby has a song) "Our hands are for clapping, coloring, waving, helping. We call our hands HELPING HANDS"

    For the biting, I think your best bet is just to talk to him. Tell him showing our love for each other is by hugging, kissing, screaming "I LOVE YOU MAX", he can even make a big brother card for Max and you can put it in Max's room! 

     Best of luck to you and hopefully everything calms a bit.

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