Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DS Hurt DD

My heart is heavy. My 28-month-old son managed to take my almost 5-month-old daughter's bottle and pummel her little head and nose with it while I was in the bathroom (with the heaviest period ever). Thankfully her bottle is lightweight plastic. I came running out when I heard her screaming. She has a huge purple knot on her forehead and about 8 bright red lines across her forehead and nose. And she cried like I have never heard her cry before. Then she drank some milk and went to sleep. I've been checking on her constantly.

I feel like I see my son much differently now, all of the sudden. He didn't seem to even realize that she was hurt. Or care. I'm grappling with how to discuss this with him. He is usually so loving and wonderful. It is just so shocking to me.

And I am also regretting having my kids so close together. I know this spacing has worked really well for others, but my son is turning out to be quite a handful. Even compared to other boys, he is a bit more wild, and yet always very sweet and full of spontaneous hugs & kisses.

Somebody please tell me things will be ok.


Cloud said...

Oh, Hush, things will be OK! I think toddlers at this age just experiment, you know? I read somewhere that they don't have all the cognitive capabilities they'd need to really understand what is going on. In fact, I think Isabel's Bedtiming book (which has a fascinating summary of developmental psych in it) says empathy doesn't come on board until after 3. I can't remember exactly when, but I think it may have been after 3.5.

Pumpkin (34 months now) has intentionally done things that hurt Petunia (5 months old now). Yet she regularly expresses how much she loves her baby sister, and I believe she really does. I think she just wondered what would happen if she twisted Petunia's arm.

I have a cousin with kids of similar ages, and she reports something similar.

Don't feel bad. He is still loving and wonderful!

When Pumpkin twisted Petunia's arm, we talked to her about how that hurt Petunia, and how she shouldn't do that. But I don't think we can really trust that she gets it yet.

Anyway, don't judge yourself or DS based on this. I think it was a totally normal thing.

paola said...

My kids are spaced like yours I think ( 23.5 months to be exact). They are the best of friends, even though the are constantly bickering, which drives me BATTY! My brother and I bickered all the time too and we were even more closely spaced ( 16 months) and we never grew out of it as we still don't get a long that well as adults. I'm hoping this will not be the case with my kids

Anyway, I could never trust my two together till the little one was around 18 months. Once when we were on the bed together Noah kicked Zoe in the head ( she was around 3 months old) and boy did she bawl. It was totally deliberate too. After that, she came everywhere with me, till she could crawl away to her bro, who she clearly prefered.

I still have to keep an eye on them, but for a different reason. They play rough, Zoe is petite, Noah hefty and I'm afraid he will smother her or something. He would never intentially harm her now, but back then, he certainly would if he'd been given half a chance.

hush said...

@Paola & @Cloud - Thank you so much for your kind words and reassurances. I need to take the long term view of things. I am still getting over the initial shock plus I have my period, so I am extra emotional! Thank you again!

caramama said...

Surely this is all normal development and adjustment to having a sibling. It reminds me of the couple of times my daughter hit our dog. She was about 2, maybe a little younger, but it was while I was pregnant. She hit the dog, then looked up to get my attention and said, "Mommy, I hit [the dog's name]."

I was floored, in a bad way. I asked if she was supposed to hit the dog, and she answered no. Then I asked the dog if she was alright and made a big deal about the dog being okay--focusing on the injured party (who was not really hurt) and not on the instigator.

Fast forward to this morning. My daughter was playing on my bed next to where the dog was lying. She threw a little, light-weight plastic ball on the bed and it hit the dog's paw. I don't know if she threw it at the dog on purpose or not, but as soon as it landed, she looked up at me, and looked at her with a wide-eyed expression on my face. My girl immediately went to the dog, apologized, asked if she was okay and gave her a hug and a kiss.

So all that to say that I think it's a normal developmental thing and that they don't really understand the consequences until a certain age. I mean, my girl told on herself! And now she seems much more able to understand and be gentle and apoligize and all that.

It'll be okay. It really will!

Anonymous said...

Things will be OK. Even the sweetest, most loving child is going to have moments that aren't, and a year or two might reduce them but won't eliminate them.

I read a book recently that quoted Shimon Peres: "When a friend makes a mistake, the friend is still a friend, and the mistake is still a mistake." Your son is still a kind person. Toddlers and preschoolers are still ferocious little beasts sometimes.

Don't worry. Brace yourself, but don't worry.


hush said...

@caramama - I know you're so right! Been there with the hitting the dog, too. Thank you!

@Slim - Thank you so much. Awesome quote; one I won't soon forget!

I'm getting over it. The thing that gets me the most right now is just how bad her little face looks. It is a constant reminder of my carelessness!

Jac said...

Ooo - I have nothing here since I only have one little terrorist- go easy on yourself. It sounds like this is another one of those parental rites of passage. At some point down the road, it will somehow turn into a funny family anecdote.

My brother shot me with my dad's BB gun when I was 4 and he was 6. Absolutely horrifying when you think about it (and lucky he hit my stomach instead of my face) but we joke about it now.