I’m sorry Momma.

My wonderfully sweet adorable perfect monster child has hit the ‘hitting’ stage.  And as with everything else thus far he has met, conquered and defeated this stage with incredible power! He’s the MASTER of hitting! 

I know what you’re thinking – THAT SWEET FACE? NEVER!
Now I being the dutifIul Mother who has wished and prayed for nothing but perfect behaviour from her perfect child – am of course horrified!  AND over zealous to quickly beat the snot artfully curb this undesirable behaviour from my son.

So I began with my, to date, usual treatment for undesirable behaviour – the classic flick the finger move.  To my horror this did not quickly meet with favour! Au contraire – it escalated the hitting action. It would seem (and logically so) that when I flick my son’s fingers and firmly say no, he thinks the following, “Ouch! Mommy hurts me. I don’t like that. I’m going to hurt Mommy back and let her know how it feels.” And so the hitting cycle continues.

I realized this quickly and changed my tactics. Apply pressure to his hands and hold his arms firmly at his sides while repeating, “No hitting. Mommy doesn’t not want you to hit.”  Result: – a vibrating raging child who as soon as I released the pressure – winds up and hits me.

hmmmmmmmm….. this is clearly not working.

SO strategy numero trois (one I was not sure that he was old enough for BUT alas I have to try something)

Time outs – time ins – time away’s (not quite sure what the correct term is for this as they all sortave seem to look the same – but ANYWAY!)

The first one I did was in his crib. (Don’t judge – I really truly have no idea what I’m doing here) – I also must point out that I am trained to work with children with behavioural issues, develop behavioural strategies to help them achieve the Desired behaviour – and yet here when faced with my son… I’m at a loss (granted I’m not trained to work with little little gaphers! But still…….. ) My thought process simply was, ‘He’s too little to sit on a stair or chair somewhere, he won’t stay i’ll keep him contained in his crib.’

My blessed baby screamed murder. Shrieked at the top of his lungs. I was certain I was going to receive a visit from CAS so loudly did he scream.  I was distraught and felt clueless/helpless. I called my friend. She answered and rather than a customary, “Hi! It’s Erin!” I opened with, “So disciplining a 17 month old looks like what again?”

She reassured me and gave me some very valuable tips.  After one minute I entered his room. He looked up at me – eyes filled to the brim. Cheeks flaming red. I calmly told him his time out was over and as soon as he calmed his body Mommy would pick him up.  He took several deep gulps and a few hiccuped sighs then looked up at me again. I reached in and took him up in my arms. I explained to him quietly that I didn’t want him to hit me. That it was not kind and when he hit Mommy (or any one else) Mommy would put him in time out again.  He lifted his head slowly from where it rested on my shoulder. I blissfully thought, ‘He’s really getting it!‘ Then slowly, deliberately my precious angel – slapped me in the face.

REALLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I could have cried on the spot so defeated did I feel. Back into time out he went. This time when it was over I wanted to save him from temptation so I didn’t linger too close to him when it was over.  Guess what happened this time.

He walked over to his books.

Took out a book

sat on the floor,

opened the book.

Looked up at me and

while holding my gaze he slowly ripped an entire page from the book.

Then sat back and

waited.

No one can tell me that children are born pure of heart. THAT was not a pure heart that I witnessed.

At this point – MOMMY needed a time out.

SO it was early nap for baby – close the door – and breathe for Mommy. CUZ I WAS GOING TO LOSE IT!.

Where did my child go? The one who slept 3/4 of the day, who gurgled and snuggled all day long.  Where did the days go that I only bemoaned that he needed to be held all the time. When I wondered when I would ever again have my arms back. (I know, I know, those of you with older children are saying… just wait it gets better – or worse depending on how you phrase your sarcasm!)

Has this phase been defeated yet? Am I going to end with a happy conclusion of ” AND THIS is the secret?” Nope… sadly the battle continues.

BUT I have faith that consistency is key and if I continue he will (hopefully VERY soon) understand and cease to hit. Right? SOMEONE encourage me here!

One very wonderful thing did happen. After many many days of hand over hand teaching of the ‘Sorry sign. The last time Jude hit me, after he got out of his time out. I said again, as I always do, “Tell Mommy you’re sorry for hitting. Say you’re sorry Jude.” He looked at me through tear filled eyes and on his own before I could help, lifted his hand and made the ‘sorry‘ sign.  I rejoiced and hugged him sooo close saying, ‘Thank you baby, Mommy forgives you,’ over and over. In fact, I may have rejoiced a little too exuberantly because Jude started to cry anew! Oops!

More to follow on this new Mommy learning moment.

If you have any tips, words of encouragement, suggestions I would LOVE to hear them!

PS: in other news Jude has graduated from calling me ‘Momma’ to calling me ‘Mee’ (his shortened version of Mommy!)

Your turn! Please share your own stories/words of wisdom :)