Yup. It's happened. I've hit my child. And you know what? I can't promise it's not going to happen again.
What happened today was after Bobby repeatedly pushed his brother on the ground and smacked him, I smacked Bobby on the top of the head. He cried. I put the baby in the other room and drew Bobby on to my lap and explained he has to be nice to his brother, if he doesn't want him touching his toys he needs to just move them, that hitting hurts, doesn't it? That we're a family and we need to do just hugs and kisses and no hitting because it hurts. I asked if he understood and he said yes. I hugged and kissed him and told him I loved him no matter what. And then he went into the other bedroom and smacked his brother on the head.
I hit him today because after yesterday I was so frustrated that he just didn't get it that I felt like the only thing I hadn't tried was showing him how bad it felt to be hit. But I know this wasn't the right thing to do because how can you teach someone not to hit by hitting? I get it. But nothing is stopping this shitty behavior. Nothing.
It's so maddening because everything was going so well - he liked to play with him, would hug and kiss him, maybe was a little too rough sometimes, but I could let them play together and mostly it was fine. In the last week or so something has taken a very sinister turn and now Bobby just loves to kick, punch, hit, and jump on top of his brother. It's shocking and awful. And he does it all with a big smile on his face, and when I angrily tell him to stop he just laughs at me and does it again. What the fuck do you do when your child acts like this???
I spent all night googling this question and the answers are all things I did (other than the hitting - nobody advocates that!) - the explaining, redirecting to proper behavior, giving more special time together, etc. I bend over backwards, and always have, to make sure Bobby never feels slighted by the arrival of the baby. And yet here we are nine months in and I am seriously worried Bobby is going to kill his baby brother.
The only thing I'm going to have to do now is keep them separated. No more crawling around together on the floor, no more baby playing in Bobby's room, no more letting Bobby hang out in baby's crib while I cook breakfast. Nope. Baby is going to have to be in the carrier at all times unless Bobby is restricted somehow (he seems to want his high chair again which is awesome) or just put in another room and left to scream there until I can come pick him up. It's all horrible but it's the only way to keep him safe right now. And the only way to keep me from smacking the shit out of his older brother.
How did we get here? He used to be so sweet and kind, giving baby his pacifier and wanting him to be put on the floor so they could "cwawl awound". Then all of a sudden this week pushing his brother onto the floor, stomping on his chest, smacking his head, kicking his head when he's standing up. Awful! I've yelled, I've begged, I've bargained, I've said I understand how he feels, I've modeled proper behavior so he knows what to do instead, and now I've hit him to get his attention and nothing stops the behavior. So for now I just have to separate them. That's all there is to it.
Of course right at this time I had to listen to a podcast about the Uni Bomber and how his brother turned him in and how toxic their relationship was - and now I'm terrified my boys are never going to get along and instead are going to grow up constantly fighting and hating each other. We got off to such a good start and now...I don't know. Let's hope this is just some weird phase. Bobby also hauled off and smacked me across the face the other day, too, which he hadn't done in ages. What gives?
Don't tell me he needs more love and attention and special time from me without the baby. That's all we fucking do. I'm beginning to wonder if all this attention focused on Bobby is what created this monster.
Right now I am that frazzled, impatient, angry, raggedy single mother I never wanted to be. Regretting everything. Hating my life. It sucks. I am utterly exhausted and worn out and there's no relief in sight. Just more of the same, day after day. Once Theo is too big to be carried or restrained I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. I feel like in a very short time it's going to be like living with a lion and a tiger in my house.
I hate to say it but I so wish I'd had girls. I am entirely unprepared for this amount of aggressive male energy and I really, really hate it. The constant destruction, climbing the walls, and now this aggression towards me and the helpless sweet baby (who in a few months will morph into a little destruction machine, too) just makes me want to cry.
Oh yeah - Happy Thanksgiving.