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Being Bitten

By Catherine Young, Clifford, Ontario

Rebecca was fuzzy headed and laughing at seven months. At eight she hiked up on wobbly legs and giggled at me in the kitchen. She was a love-bunny, the darling of my heart, the joy of my life, and then she bit me.

“Ouch!” I hollered, more frightened than hurt, and instinctively jammed my finger between her gums. She cried, and I did too.

We went for walks in the park with our sling. She joined me on her sheepskin while I baked. We nursed. She grinned. I cooed. She stretched her legs in a baby ballet. She fixed blue eyes on mine, stopped in mid-suck and bit me again..

“No!” I admonished, this time not as surprised but still pretty darn mad. There were repeat performances, a good dozen times, until we both learned two things. She had a certain look that would precede a bite, and she would stop sucking for a second before the big chomp. I would immediately follow a bite with an action that ended access to my beloved nipple; I was mother, not an apple.

I have been bitten again. By more babies, neighbours, salesmen, lovers, teachers, relatives, and a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. I try to convey the same message to them all; I am not an apple. Depending on their size and shape, I will convey the message more than once (with my babies it was always over and over and over) and as lovingly as

Catherine Young lives near Clifford, Ontario and has a flock of sheep. They have no upper teeth.




by Melanie Fike, Lytton, British Columbia

Biting came at about nine months. Sequoia would bite me at least six times a day. Startled reaction, stern voice, taking her off the breast momentarily - nothing worked. She would smile; she wasn’t getting it.

So what I did was, every time she bit me, I took her off the breast, gold her what was happening, and left the room for as long as I could stand it; usually a minute. She would cry, and I would feel terrible hearing her cry, but after doing this for about two weeks without fail, she totally stopped biting.

She realized that biting meant no mommy.



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