My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Trouble Child

2006-12-01

Sometimes I wonder whether that old fashioned parenting style doesn’t have something going for it. You know, where the parents are ADULTS and put their adultness before all else and do not carry loads of what-if’s and guilt and is-there-some-better-way-to-do-thisness. They just say, “To hell with your shitty behavior, brat! I’m going out to the bowling alley and you’re just gonna have to stew in your own juices. Because I said so! Now go to bed!”

Because sometimes this new-age parenting thing where we fret over behaviors and our reactions to those behaviors (or lack thereof) gets very tiresome.

Case in point: Red. Do I worry about this child’s aggressiveness? Do I worry when she throws and hits and maims members of her family? Because she’s not trying to harm anyone on purpose. She might be Psycho Baby but she’s not a sociopath. Or, do I just pass all this off as toddler immaturity and continue to do what I’m doing and hope she’ll become less aggressive in the future?

I know I sometimes describe her to people in a somewhat unflattering light and I don’t mean to, really. It’s just I’ve never had to OWN a child quite this challenging before so I’m more trying to describe my helplessness more than her craziness. Dusty is nuts but she’s always been calm and willing to go along with anything. More or less. She’s not lobotomized but we’ve never really had to punish her or give her a time-out. She’s always been able to check her behavior and reign herself in before disaster strikes. Mostly. She doesn’t lash out at people when upset. She doesn’t throw things or hit people.

But Red! When I talk about what this child is capable of, they don’t believe me. Why? Because she often only acts in destructive ways at home while no one’s looking. Except, of course, when her grandparents got to witness the Poopaganza last weekend. They got a small taste of what we’re up against. And she does this kind of thing not out of anger. She often doesn’t understand her own strength when playing and somebody always gets hurt in the end.

Last night, Red and Dusty were playing limbo with a used wrapping paper roll. They were having a great time crawling under the roll and Red was holding her sippy cup and a soy nugget – you know, her walking-around food.

When suddenly she just lobbed the sippy cup in the air and it smacked Dusty right on the bridge of her nose – the part of the nose that hurts really, really, super bad when hit by a hard plastic projectile.

Dusty started wailing. I began to yell at Red even though, while I was doing it, I knew it was no good even bothering to yell. She was just not old enough to fully comprehend what she’d done. Nor had she thrown her cup at Dusty ON PURPOSE. She hadn’t been aiming for Dusty, she’d just decided – for whatever reason – to throw her cup. But all the same, Dusty was injured.

And then her nose started to bleed. And bleed, and gush, and oh my god! The blood, it was everywhere!

Thank goodness I am not one who faints at the side of massive amounts of blood pouring out of the nose of my first born. I held Dusty tight in my arms with a kleenex up against her nose until we needed something more. By now, Red was in hysterics – confused and frightened. I gave her to my husband to deal with while I took Dusty into the bathroom to clean up the gore.

Once the bleeding was under control, we both stripped down and I did a load of bloody clothes laundry. Which is always a good time.

Dusty was better and back to laughing and being okay but she kept herself locked in her room until Red was put to bed.

Sigh. I feel bad for Dusty. She really likes to play with her sister but fears her all the same. I don’t know why Red is like this. I don’t know how to make her stop. I keep thinking she’ll outgrow this kind of thing but when? When?

I love her to death but she’s so trying. We’ve all been not-on-purpose hurt by a hand, a foot lashing out, a thrown object, etc. And I sometimes wonder if the way I am with her makes any difference in how she behaves. I have a feeling it doesn’t and really, I don’t think I can become someone who spanks a child to teach them not to hit. That’s pretty insane logic. But raising my voice – not something I like to do – doesn’t make a difference either. It’s also a bit retarded considering Red’s age.

I guess maybe Santa should bring us some football helmets to wear around the house and some of those teeth protector things football players wear. Or maybe the mask a baseball umpire wears – that cage thing. Until she grows up a little more and can maybe learn not to kill the people she lives with.

Who the hell knows?


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10:58 a.m. ::
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