Day 337: Throwing Biting and Pulling

Throwing, biting and pulling. It sounds like I’m listing the behaviors of a pissed-off horse, doesn’t it? My 2 year old son, Arlo, is the thrower, bitter and puller. When he’s done with a meal (and I use that term as loosely as possible – maybe “eating session” is better) he throws whatever is left onto the floor, piece by piece, like he’s challenging us to find it all. “I’m gonna throw some of this under the fridge, then some under the radiator, and I’ll gently place this half-chewed wheat thin right here on your knee so you don’t think I’m a dick.”

Any discipline is met with smiles and laughter, which is the most adorably psychotic way to respond to negative feedback. If you could see how cute this kid is, you’d understand how conflicted we are. I think the cuter the child, the more mercurial he is. It’s the same in adulthood – hot chicks don’t have to behave or work.

He also pulls his older brother Silas’ hair, and laughs while his victim screams. It’s partially Silas’ fault because he refuses to defend himself. I think calling attention to Arlo’s transgressions is a little more important to him than not having his hair pulled. “Arlo! YOU DO NOT PULL HAIR!” we say, firmly. He responds with another shriek of sociopathic delight immediately followed by another attempt at weeding his brother’s head. We know it’s because he wants to get Silas’ attention, but really, that method is better used in 5th grade to tell girls you like them.

He also bites people very occasionally. He just gets excited and chomps on their arm. He did it to his little friend yesterday and actually broke skin. Everyone reprimanded him, but again we got only giggles from the burgeoning cannibal.

All PR is good PR in his book, I guess. It’s not like the kid is starving for attention; he gets plenty. He just thinks he’s playing, and no matter how much we tell him that he can’t run full speed into the fireplace doors, he does it again and again. But holy shit is he adorable while doing it. If Stalin looked like my kid, no one would be mad at him.

We know the right thing to do is ignore the behavior so he learns they won’t garner him any of the heat he’s been so oddly enjoying over the past 2 months. My mom and dad are coming in a couple days and I feel like we’ll have to prepare them. “Hey, listen. Arlo is gonna do some really ridiculous stuff, and it’s gonna seem like we’re not doing anything, but we’re attempting a “less is more” method here. So, if you don’t mind, if he happens to bite you, could you try not to react? Thanks.”

P.S. No parenting advice needed here. We have it all under control and we don’t do timeouts.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

22 comments On Day 337: Throwing Biting and Pulling

  • So? Arlo can bite me if he wants to.

  • Haha I love this.I have heard of the bite them back, had to use it with my little sister because nothing worked and she did it until she was 3,but the using fake teeth is GENIUS! HAHAHA!

  • Oh good golly, My one year old is a swipper and thrower. And puller and picker. He swipes EVERYTHING off his tray when done, and always, always throws the sippy cup. He is find one tiny hair and pull it out and then try to pick off moles and freckles with his dagger nails. I often look like I've been caring for a young Edward Scissorhands. And he's a crazy psycho too – Says "ah ah ah" (no) and then laughs and does it.

  • Dude – your kids are EXACTLY like mine! My 16 month old is a lunatic, especially in comparison to my 3 year old. He was a saint, and in a 3-year-old way, sort of still is. But the little one… holy crap! Laughs his ass off when we tell him no, or pull him away from whatever he's not supposed to be doing. Then when I finally pick him up and remove him from tearing off yet another ornament, he smacks me in the face. Pure awesomeness!

  • You can try the old, bite him back thing. Just use some plastic vampire teeth leftover from Hallowe'en so that if CAS investigates, there's no proof you did it. The dog or another kid bit back is all you have to say.

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