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.