February 24, 2011

My son was bitten on the face by a toddler in his class. A small red bite mark on his forehead.

Getting that call from his teacher, prefaced by him saying not to worry (which always leads to worry; all incidents create mother worry even small ones).  At first, I wanted to go in there with my imaginary weapons ready to defend my baby boy.

I did do that.

I spoke first to the teacher, asking him the direct questions necessary to figure out if this was normal toddler play gone wrong or the act of an aggressive child and mine just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He said it was the latter. And I finished the conversation (got cut off actually because my phone died) and prepared myself for battle.

I’ve been on both sides of this. The teacher speaking about and defending a behavioral child and now the parent listening to an explanation about how my son was the victim of this sort of child.

It’s a blessing and a burden to understand both sides. Because, really, what I want to do is to protect my child – from everything.  To make sure he is safe and not the outlet for someone else’s teeth.  To make sure he feels no pain, ever.

But I can’t do that.

From the moment the c-section was performed, my ability to protect my son was significantly reduced because protecting him is no longer as simple as protecting my pregnant myself.

What I could do, as I drive to the school (also thinking of my niece who on this same day was in trouble for lighting fires with friends) was to ask the questions to find out what happened and then look to my son for signs that he is – or is not – ok.

Is he ok beyond the visual – the bite on his head.  Is he now afraid of this child?  Is he upset when I pick him up?  Is he different once we get home? More clingy and crabby?

Thankfully, this time, the answers to those questions was no. He was fine. No different from this morning, except maybe inside some small awareness that, damn, other people can hurt you.


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