I’ve been MIA from the blog for 14 days now, mostly because of Chanukah and Baby J’s 2nd birthday party extravaganza. Yesterday, I began a blog post with updates and photos from Baby J’s “Finding Nemo” themed birthday party. It was supposed to be this fun blog post complete with my melancholy dialogue about how my baby is no longer a baby. Blah. Blah. Blah.
And then, yesterday afternoon happened and I am still somewhat in shock.
Israel has just survived a 3-day horrible storm that brought 100 MPH wind gusts, sand storms and torrential downpours. The wind in my neighborhood was so rough that it literally peeled away the metal sheeting protecting a construction site at the end of our block. The tree in our front yard shed almost all of its non-ripened fruit and needles all over the path to our front door, and people were actually killed by falling trees. DH wouldn’t let me leave the house on Sunday to pick Baby J. up from gan because of the sandstorm (I’m horribly allergic to sand and dust mites and was having difficulty breathing as it was) and then, yesterday, gan was flooded because of a blocked drainage pipe.
I, however, insisted on walking to pick Baby J. up from gan. I cannot be locked in the home, I must be able to get out of the house and do my errands. Pull my weight in this family, so to speak. So, with the cloud coverage ominous, I donned my ridiculous weather gear: grey and white sweats, bright green turtleneck, blue hooded sweatshirt and baseball cap, and briskly walked to pick J. up from gan. It was cold, the wind was biting and the dampness of the air was actually very refreshing. I made it to gan without a problem, thank g-d, and Baby J. was extremely excited to see me.
Nothing out of the ordinary happened, pick up went without a hitch. We walked home chatting happily and I was in the clear once we walked through the gate to our apartment. That’s where I was very wrong. Baby J. got out of the stroller herself and then tried to open the front door to go play outside. I told her that we weren’t going outside today to play because it was drizzly, cold and everything was wet. I asked her if she wanted to “race” up the steps, as we’ve been doing lately, but she started to get agitated. Then, she decided she wanted to stage a little “sit in” which is when she lays down on the floor and refuses to get up until she gets her way. DH doesn’t give into these antics, he just walks around her and goes up the steps until she follows him.
I’m not that kind of parent, I prefer to go up the steps to the apartment with the child. So, I bent down to pick her up and carry her up the steps. And that’s when she literally unleashed this pent up anger that I’ve never seen before! She started screaming and with mighty little fists just boxed away at my ears. She was this little hurricane of fury, screaming and crying because I picked her up. She was so violent that she even managed to pull out one of my gold hoop earrings.
I was in a state of shock and, luckily, didn’t drop her to the floor. My ears were ringing from the pounding given by this tiny, 24-pound toddler! I couldn’t believe that she hit me! I couldn’t believe that she hit! We don’t hit in our home, ever. Both DH and I grew up with Father’s who were quick to take the belt and show us their displeasure. We both vowed to NEVER raise a hand to our children, and we also try very hard to never raise our voices either. Our philosophy when in comes to discipline is that violent behavior begets violent behavior, so we try to be calm yet firm when we discipline. We are big fans of time out, which seems to be working for us thus far.
But this was something different. This was actual hitting. I finally shook myself out of the surprise, marched her up the steps and into the apartment. I took off her jacket, hat and shoes and walked her straight to her room, put her into her crib, and explained that she was in a 5-minute time out because we “do not hit the Mama!”
I was literally shaking as her cries grew louder and louder behind the closed door. Counting down those 5 minutes was torture. She cried for me, she begged for her pacifier, she pleaded to come out. I stood firm and, after 5 minutes were up, I went to get her out of the crib and explain that we NEVER ever hit. We don’t hit Mommy, Daddy or anyone. I asked if she understood and if she was sorry. She said yes and “sahwee” and then gave me a kiss.
She was exceptionally behaved the rest of the night but I was still so disturbed by her behavior! Is this something innate in children or is she learning how to hit from seeing other kids hitting at gan?
How, as a parent, can we effectively teach our children not to hit?
PS. This blog post was written to Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane.” I felt it extremely apropos, although in this case Baby J. was 100% guilty of the crime!