My youngest son Myers is quite small. As a 21-month old the little dude still comfortably fits in his infant bucket car seat and is swallowed by clothing designed for an 18 month old. His health is fine and his cognitive development is normal, he is just tiny. Both of his great-grandfathers were vertically challenged, they topped out at only 5 feet 5 inches tall even in cowboy boots. He gets it naturally.
When the MyMan began tracking lower than the 5th percentile on the growth chart, I began to secretly worry that because of his diminutive size he would be picked on by bigger children as he made his way through the rough and tumble world of pre-school and beyond. Several weeks after moving from the baby room to the early toddler room it appeared my worries were coming to fruition. The poor little guy began coming home with bite marks from his classmates, sometimes multiple bite marks in a single day. Early on the biting incidents were unprovoked, my little guy was serving as a toddler chew toy.
Although it’s school policy for bitters to remain anonymous to the chomped upon’s parents I did some detective work and solved the mystery. After checking teeth marks from my sons arms against multiple bite marks on bananas and apples at the daycare I positively identified the most offensive bitter as big bruiser of a kid 6 months his senior. “Jaws” was about to move up to the older toddler classroom so I was hopeful the violence would soon end. Thankfully after Hannibal Lecter moved on, the biting waned. But as kids are prone to do my son got older, if not bigger, and moved on to the next toddler classroom as well.
A few weeks into his stint with the big kids, the biting has begun once more. But it’s different this time. “He likes to take toys from the bigger, older kids and they bite him” say his teachers. Supposedly the little dude has figured out the art of aggression. He pushes big kids down, pulls out chunks of their hair and doesn’t seem to care when they chomp on him. Most of the kids in the room are at least twice his size yet he constantly wails on them and pushes them around. The Director of his pre-school told me other day that Myers is actually becoming the Bully of his classroom! Yikes.
From bullied to bully; what to do? Both his teachers and Liz and I are looking for creative ways to redirect his behavior when he wallops a classmate or his big brother and sister. So if you have good ideas about effectively dealing with toddler bullying send them my way. Unprovoked aggression at any age is unacceptable.
Although I certainly don’t want my child to be a bully, I am glad he has a little fire in his belly. If he remains small in physical stature it is possible that he will face some rough times growing up and a bit of toughness and spunk can make it a much easier road to travel. I want my boy to be able to take care of himself. Here’s hoping his hero is OWEN MEANY instead of Napolean!