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
“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.