I currently have the most grizzliest, cryingest, saddest, moodiest, teethingest girl in the world. Lately I’ve been discovering that she’s building a super sensitivity to lots of things. She cries when other kids cry, she cries when kids scream or squeal at her, she cries when they growl at her. She cries, I pick her up, soothe her and let her play on my lap a while.
Recently, baby A and I we’re at a support group for other mums who have postpartum mental health issues. There was a 3 year old there and this child can get quite possessive of all the baby toys. Let’s face it, it’s a bit of a monopoly and this kid is Angelica to the rugrats. Baby A got a bit close (but I didn’t think she was too close) and he hissed at her, growled at her, but she just stared. I could see the sensitivity building, the bottom lip quivering. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw the child ball his hand into a fist and punch her. The 3 year old punched my 8 month old. The bottom lip quivering turned into a wail and I was in there like Barry Allen to scoop her up for cuddles.
It made me think a few things:
– “aaah my poor baby”
– “man I can’t wait to parent a 3 year old”
– “say sorry you meanie!!”
– “my baby just got hurt by someone.”
– “should I be telling them off??”
At this stage in a baby’s life, you get pretty used to them hurting themselves but this is the first time I’ve seen her get hurt by someone else. It got me thinking about how you even parent through that stuff. When you’re dreaming about having a child, you imagine all the fun you’re going to have making cupcakes, making playdough animals, painting pictures, splashing in puddles, cuddling, etc, but you don’t imagine how you’re going to feel when some other kid punches them, when they get rejected from the school Musical, when they’re sitting alone with no friends. I sometimes wish the only pain she’d ever feel is the pain of her favourite wiggle moving on but the reality is, this is just the beginning.
Plus I don’t even know what the done thing is here. I did tell the kid off but I dunno if it was right and got zero cues from the mum. It was hard for me. I’m naturally pretty non-confrontational, unless it’s absolutely right or necessary (I mean I am a social worker after all). I find it hard to stand up to people, even 3 year olds. I know how ridiculous that sounds and I don’t know if it’s an anxiety thing or what, but lately that’s how I roll. Nevertheless, short of teaching my daughter fight moves (as my sister suggested) so she can fight back, I have no idea.
Just some thoughts for today. I don’t know who reads this but if you do and you have some pearls of wisdom, please tell me. Everyday is a case of “I have no idea what I’m doing but this seems like it won’t damage her forever”.
Also as a side note, seeing my baby’s wailing face made me feel so sad that I went and bought a frozen coke. Damn you McDonald’s and your cheap freezies!! Ultimate wholefood fail.