B is for biting

Since returning from our holiday, Little Chick has continued to be unsettled. There could be so many reasons for this and often it is a matter of guesswork as he isn’t fully able to communicate his emotions to us. I’m assuming that staying in another house in another country has been a large contributor to his dysregulation. We emphasised the temporariness of our vacation by constantly calling it his holiday house and never using the word home, but maybe this overcomplicated matters. Home is a building, but it is also when he is with us, or at least that is what we have tried to show him over the past year or so.

His dysregulation is, unsurprisingly, more apparent when he is tired and is mostly taking the form of biting. And it bloody hurts. Little Chick has clean strong teeth, sparkling white and in good condition. This can be unusual for care experienced children, so I take it as a double blessing, though not when those pearly whites are gnashing on my flabby bits, of which there are many. My backside is his favourite target. I realise that this is a sizeable target, but it also means he avoids eye contact. Little Chick is full of shame. I am not always clear whether he knows what he is doing or is in control of his actions, but on the occasions he is, I can see a mix of anger, sadness, fear, and remorse in his eyes. That is what I need to remember as my buttocks throb. Anger is a secondary emotion; it has been labelled the bodyguard of fear. And as his teeth sink into my wobbling flesh, I need to remember that he is afraid. Of course, there are better ways of expressing this. Hopefully, we can help him with those, develop them over time. I’m not suggesting we grin and bear it for now, but we do have to have some understanding of the thought processes flying around his synapses.

It is easy to get lost in the thought that A is for aggression, B is for biting, C is for controlling, etc. Rather, I need to remember that A is for anxiety, B is for bewilderment, and C is for cowering. Little Chick is a gorgeous wee boy who has experienced things no one should have to. That’s not an excuse, but it is an explanation and that should give me pause for thought, to remember that under the anger, frustration, and aggression is a small scared boy who is trying his best. B is for beautiful, brilliant, bold. And that’s what Little Chick is.

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