Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thrice Bitten, Twice Shy?

After my first few experiences, I found myself comparing the Wobbler room to a room full of little zombies. When you first arrive, you see the children tottering around slowly with their arms out on seemingly aimless paths, nearly avoiding collisions as they pass by one another. But if you stand in one place long enough, you realize they are all honing in on your location. And soon you'll find that you're surrounded - a swarm of little drooling smiles eagerly looking up at you, reaching out.

Lately, however, I'm inclined to describe the Wobbler room as more akin to a vampire nest. In the three weeks that Rose has been a Wobbler, I've had to sign two accident reports as result of her being bitten by a friend. In addition to the reported bites, twice I've discovered bite marks on her back during bath time. Marks clear enough to take a dental imprint and hunt down this unlikely friend. If you look very closely, you can see the first ones I found here in the center of her back:

In talking to daycare, they report that this is not unusual at this age, unfortunately. The Wobblers are too young to understand appropriate biting boundaries and are not biting out of malice. They are also quick, making adult intervention difficult prior to the event. I'm sure Rose has doled out her fair share of bites.

Yesterday, I received a call from daycare while at work. "It's not an emergency, but we just wanted to let you know that Rose was toppled over by one of her friends. During this tumble, her friend scratched her a bit on the face. She was a real trooper and only cried for thirty seconds. She got lots of ice and seems to be doing fine. We just wanted to let you know." That was odd. In retrospect, I think this was meant to prepare me and lessen the shock of the "scratches" when I picked her up. When I arrived at daycare after work, Rose was resting her body in a row of four other kids also resting their bodies. While I waited for her to wake up, one of the teachers warned me: "It looks BAD. She's fine and had a great afternoon, but it looks BAD." I talked to each of teachers to try to get the real story of what had happened. Everyone seemed to have a different vague version, then added the caveat "Well, I wasn't here when it happened."

When Rose woke up, I was shocked. Her entire right cheek was swollen and red with marks in multiple spots. This didn't look like a scratch. As I cuddled her and got her stuff together, I asked one last teacher "So what happened? Do you think she might have hit her face on something?" - gesturing to the swollen cheek.

"No, she was bitten. Three times."

Apparently, this friend was so frustrated with falling down on top of Rose, that he dished out three bites before a teacher could separate them.

Not that Rose seemed to mind or even notice. She reportedly had a great afternoon at daycare and she was a happy girl last night. Here she is enjoying her bath with her war wounds.

Rose continues to learn about her environment. Putting things inside, on top and around other things to see what happens. The other day I watched her open a drawer in the kitchen, put my wallet inside, close the drawer and crawl away. Later, when I was unloading groceries into the fridge, she pulled herself up, found her bottle on a shelf, took a gulp, then put it back. Pretty funny. Here she is right after that stunt. Notice all the beverage options - and she still opted for the breast milk.

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