Toddler violence is ugly. This morning at 4:30am my 19 month old found a torch en route to our bed. She hit me on the head with it, then she put it in my eye socket and switched it on, screaming “Eye! Eye!” More like blind eye I thought, still stunned, and with my one good eye I located her and grabbed it from those tiny monster hands before she could unleash it on any body parts of my sleeping son or husband.
I’m used to being woken up by being hit over the head. I think my survival skills are on the high average range compared to non-parents out there. A few months ago my son hit me on the head with a wooden dragon. This was also around 4am and it was really, really sore. Stories of violence in our zoo are plentiful. There was the one time when Kai was seconds away from using my Epilady on Bailey’s head. Like a superhero I swooped in and stopped him just in time. Beast (our dog) can tell you some stories; his tail is continuously being pulled, not to mention the poor guy’s tottie (penis for those non-South-Africans out there). My husband has lots of chest hair, and I mean lots. Bailey loves to grab a handful and hang on when he is least expecting it. Any parent can tell you stories about being kicked in the face, how sore your knees get when they turn your legs into a horse and about being bitten on the softest part of your delicate pink inner arm.
The main aim of my post today is to tell you that you are not alone. I’ve had several conversations with our baby-daddy that went something like this:
Baby-daddy: “Our kids are crazy. There is something wrong with them”
Me: “There is nothing wrong with them. They do what toddlers do. Trust me – I belong to a massive moms group. They are all suffering. We are all going crazy together”.
Baby-daddy: “Ours are the worst. Have you ever seen another kid hit his own head against a wall like that? We need to go see an occupational therapist”
Me: “Here, have some wine. It will all be better in 5 years”
Between 13 000 and 20 000 is the amount of words we adults speak every day. I can express my sadness, frustration or delight with words. But when my daughter takes my son’s rope (most favourite toy) or touches his shoes without permission he has to ‘speak’ with his body. It is normal. I’m not saying don’t discipline them and I’m not saying don’t intervene. What I am saying is that it is a phase and it will pass, the challenge is to not be scared of them. The challenge is to keep your cool on very little sleep. The challenge is to find that last bit of resilience and milk it for all it is worth. So dig deep and keep calm. Cry a little if you need. Go for a run and even brag with your wounds. Most of all swap war stories with other parents so that the quiet parent can rest assured in the knowledge that they are not alone and that they no longer have to suffer in silence.
Please feel free to share your stories of violence here.