When my wife went to pick up our 19 month old daughter from Kindergarten yesterday she had to complete an ‘incident report form’. Our daughter got into her first altercation (with a boy), which she proceeded to resolve through violence of action. She decided to settle the dispute by introducing her canines into his forearm.
I am conflicted about this. Fifty percent of me says, ‘We are such bad parents’. The other fifty percent says, ‘Damn-right, if another kid tries to take your crayon he needs to pay the price*’. Fortunately, ceteris paribus, these thoughts cancel themselves nicely and I feel largely neutral about the whole thing. Small mammals bite each other. We spoke to her about it and we think she understands that this is (mostly) unacceptable behavior.
*what price? The blood price.
Δ ‘Steal my crayons I bite your face off’ (this is actually a screen-grab from two guys who used to teach a form of ‘street’ fighting based on a Spanish-Gypsy ‘style’. I learnt a lot of cool stuff from them)
My sales manager laughs and says that she can see me biting someone… and then having to be sprayed with a hose-pipe because I won’t let go. I take it as a compliment, even though it probably wasn’t meant to be one.
I got kicked out of Sunday school for biting this kid I didn’t like. It was a re-enactment of Daniel being thrown to the lions. I was relegated to playing the part of a lion (the chorus in a Greek tragedy). In the original God sends an angel to protect Daniel from certain death. In our version that kid clearly didn’t take his job as seriously as I did. Sufficed to say the whole thing was quite awkward because my mother was the Sunday school teacher.
So maybe its hereditary. I find toddlers fantastically primordial. Like tiny little feral ape-people. Which I realize is what they are, but I tend to anthropomorphize (I use the term loosely) my offspring, and forget that they are exceptionally basic with few if any social graces. They still have to learn all this stuff. Situations where I can bite and eye gouge and hurl my own excrement are relatively limited. On a monkey that’s your go-to reaction when someone takes your banana.
Our whole lives are about suppressing our natural instincts to lash out and maim the person who upsets us. Although now, being the story-telling social animals we are, we can find other outlets for our rage. Instead of tooth and fist we can slander, deride and cheat our enemies. Cutting them off in traffic also works.