Petra walked over to him this afternoon and bit him on the thigh (she’s never been a biter in the past; I’m not sure why she decided to be a biter today, but bite him, she did). Travis let out a pained and surprised yell and lurched backwards. Petra lost her balance and ended up on her knees on the floor. Travis and I exchanged “oh my god, did that just happen?” looks. Then he crouched down to say to Petra, “When you bit me, I jumped backwards and then you lost your balance and fell over, so the takeaway message is that biting me is not a good idea.” Or words to that effect. Petra stayed on the floor – she didn’t cry, but she didn’t get up – and Travis moved away. After a moment or two, he crouched down again and reached out to her. She turned into his arms for a hug. They stood up together, and all was well again.
Lots of points to Travis for keeping his cool and for handling such an unexpected situation without making a big drama out of it. He explained the consequences of her actions to Petra, left her to her own devices for a minute, then reconnected with her and carried on, all very smoothly and calmly. He’s not a big reader of parenting books or analyser of parenting strategies either, so he did it all spontaneously. I was and am impressed.
Petra’s going through a particularly vigorous boundary-testing phase. She’s trying things out now that she’d never even have considered a few months ago, to find out how we’ll react. It makes for an exciting home life!