Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Artist, San Francisco Bay Area

Watch Out Baby, He’ll Chew You Up

You know that song “Maneater” from the 80’s? Yeah, so, my baby is a Babyeater.

It’s horrifying. Disheartening.

I try to warn parents. “No, really. He really like babies. Like, biting babies.”

I thought I should make a t-shirt for him that reads like a warning lable “Keep Away from Infants and Small Children.” And it was still a funny idea until I got back to the gym childcare to find out he had just then bitten a baby on the hand. Left teeth marks.

I know he’s sweet inside. Most people know that.

But maybe the t-shirt idea isn’t funny to me anymore.

So, I arrive at the childcare to hear of the Biting Incident, and I find them deeply concerned. As was I. I know some kids can go through this phase, but Enn never did, at least not towards people he didn’t know. He only bit his best friend and me. Perhaps Zee loves all people deeply? So they are all open season?

Yeah, one childcare lady, she was mad with ME. Seriously. What, does she think I coach him at home? “Zee, make sure you bite at least one baby today, and choose the smallest one. Not too small, or they might arrest me. But smaller than you, OK, sweetheart?”

Does she think she has to scold me in order for me to care that my kid did this?

Does she think I am not sufficiently agonizing about his over-physical tendencies?

As should be expected, I got The Talk. If he does this again in the near future, he is Kicked Out of their childcare until he’s out of this phase. I would ask the same of any child that did this to anyone else, I don’t expect different treatment just because I am Nice.
I am sad that Zee launches at kids so spontaneously. He doesn’t make the connection.
“Zee, should you pull Hil’s hair?”
“Yuh!”
Try this again.
“Zee, should you pull Hil’s hair?” (quick pause then I say the answer for him) “No!”
He squeezes in a “Yuh.”
One more time. No, actually five plus more times.
“Zee, should you pull Hil’s hair, No!”
I have to say No! as he is saying Yuh.
Over & over again.
Until he starts to get the game and how he’s supposed to say No.

That works until Hil walks up to him with her sweet strawberry blond wavy hair, and all bets are off. He lunges. (What was that game mama was playing with me again?)

I love him. Really he is a sweet boy.

He goes out of his way to make sure people are included.
Passes out toys to anyone who’s left out.
If he hi-fives one person, the next gets one also.
He hugs people if they seem to be leaving the house.
He shares his food.
He loves to laugh, and to draw people into his happiness.
He catches your eye and laughs some more.

So, if he so loves to make people happy, why does that take a back seat when he has the sudden urge to grab, bite, hit, push? What is the draw for him? Why does that input so fire-up his neurons?

Zee loves life. Loves music. Loves to Dance. Loves to Yell.

Maybe all Amazing Expressive Talented People went through this?

I hope so.

I’m hoping time passes quickly and I awake to find a perfectly socialized, adorable, self-controlled, keeps-his-hands-and-mouth-to-himself 25 month old.

Here’s Billy Collins’ “Invention.”

2 Replies to “Watch Out Baby, He’ll Chew You Up”

  • I really really love that poem and I really really love Z. Even though he IS a babyeater. He’ll grow out of it. All the baby’s he “loves” will survive. I know it’s hard though, but you know he’s good. It really is just a phase. I am thinking about arming Rocky with pepper spray though, just so you know 🙂

  • I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for this, but I’m certain that he’ll get through this phase quickly! : )

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