Today a child bit Darcie. It was the most heartbreaking moment I’ve had since she has been born. Even writing that makes me realise of course how lucky I have been with her so far, but that doesn’t take away any of the emotion I felt today.
We went to a new Soft Play Centre which I had chosen because of its specific Baby Area. A lot of these places are just a general free for all for 0-5’s so it can be a worry when your child is on the younger end of the scale and there are bigger kids climbing all over them but this one looked like it had eliminated this problem which put my mind at rest. It was pretty quiet as we arrived quite early in the day and Darcie was just sitting and playing with a toy, minding her own business when a boy probably of about 2 came over and started playing with get. I felt so proud of her because she went through a phase where these sorts of situations were very intimidating and overwhelming for her so to see her playing so nicely was amazing. It started out really sweet, with him trying to teach her to play with the toy and her sort of coyly ignoring him. But then in a split second he turned on her, pushed her to the floor and bit her face, hard. It all happened so fast I didn’t even realise he was biting her until I pulled him off her and saw the red raw tooth marks in my precious babies face. She paused, clearly shocked and then starting sobbing. As a parent you know your babies different cries, and this was one I hardly ever hear, sheer pain and upset. I picked her up and rocked her trying to calm her down, all the time holding in my own tears. She was so confused about what had happened and so hurt that it absolutely broke my heart. The Mum of the boy came over and apologised and made him apologise too, I said I was sure he hadn’t meant any harm and went back to calming Darcie. But that wasn’t what I wanted to say. I wanted to say ‘How dare your child hurt my baby!’, ‘How could you let that happen?’ But rationally I knew that it wasn’t the mother’s fault, as much as I wanted someone to blame, I couldn’t. What did anger me though, was when she commented ‘he doesn’t have a good track record around babies’, so why was he around my baby? In the moment it was such a blur and my main concern was trying to console Darcie but looking back now I do wish I had challenged that remark.
My response to the situation was to leave, I just needed to get my child out of that situation that had caused her harm. We went and sat in Costa, I had a coffee and she had lots of cuddles until we both felt much better. But every time I see that red bite mark on her face it makes me want to cry again and I feel a horrible wash of emotions. I start to wonder if there was any way I could have prevented the situation, maybe if I had reacted quicker she wouldn’t have been so hurt, but logically I know that I did everything I could and I reacted as quick as I possibly could. I think as a Mum, it’s just easy to beat yourself up. The reason that today has affected me so much is because it was the first time. The first time that something out of my control has hurt my child and I wasn’t able to prevent it. But I know there will be many more times and each one will bring with it all of these emotions again. To be a Mother is to be strong, you feel a fierce protectiveness over your child but sometimes things will happen that you can’t control or predict and then you have to be strong for your baby and make it better for them in any way that you can.
I didn’t write this post to try to tell other people what to do in these situations, to be honest I still wouldn’t be sure how to react if it happened again. I just needed to write this post to get it out of my system and hopefully there are some Mum’s reading this that can relate. I’m also sure there are some Mums reading this who have been the other Mum, the one whose child has hurt another. I don’t know how that feels, and at the moment I hate to admit that I will every know how that feels. I know a lot of children go through these phases, of biting or hitting, so the chances are that one day the boot will be on the other foot. I hope I will be more apologetic than the Mum today and I hope that I will do my best to prevent these things from happening to another child.