Apparently Elsa is half-baby, half-wolverine.
I used to think her biting phase was the result of a long and uncomfortable bout of teething. She managed to sprout something like ten teeth in five hours, and for a while there would lunge like a ravenous crocodile after anything dangled before her.
The other day, however, Rollie snatched a puzzle piece from her sticky hands, and instead of letting out a shriek like she usually does (and thus alerting me to intervene), she went after Rollie like he was made out of ham. The mark on his back looked like a tiny moray eel had gotten ahold of him--four little holes on top and four little holes down below. Rollie howled and cowered under the coffee table, trembling in fear. Elsa calmly picked up the puzzle piece Rollie had dropped in his retreat and continued gnawing on it, a triumphant little gleam in her eyes.
I guess in a way it's good that she fights back. She's got some feistiness in her. She's a little spit-fire. When she's an adult she'll stand her ground, stick to her guns, and if someone tries to mess with her, she'll just rear back and bite them. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I hope.
But this new streak in her personality also means that if I'm not around to intervene, most of Rollie and Elsa's scuffles will end in outright disaster. Several times lately I've listened to Rollie say something like, That's mine, Baby Els, and I've rounded the corner just in time to see her open her sweet little mouth and lean in to clamp down on whatever bit of exposed flesh she can sink her baby teeth into.
"No, Elsa!" I'll shout, hurrying over to stop her from having Rollie as an appetizer. And she'll stop and look up at me with this expression like, What do you expect me to do? He's a big bully and all I have are these teeth.
"What's she doing?" Rollie will ask, oblivious to the fact that he almost landed a role in Jaws V--This Time, It's Really Really Irritating.
"She was about to bite you."
"I guess because you took something from her."
"Why did I take something from her?"
"I don't know, you tell me."
"Because I don't want her to have it." "It" could be anything from a Matchbox car to a book to the TV remote to a pair of undies. Whatever it is that Elsa finds, Rollie will take and act as if he's protecting the Holy Grail itself from her thieving little hands.
"Listen," I'll say. "You need to be nice and share with her."
"Why do I need to be nice and share?"
"Because she'll bite you if you don't."
And for once, Rollie seems to accept this answer without question. He knows what happens what Elsa bites. He's got the scars to remind him.
The only good thing about this is that at least he doesn't sit on her anymore. Now that she can plan a brutal counter-attack, I don't have to yell at him nearly as often.
Now I get to yell at both of them.