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Toddler phases are stupid

I meant to write this yesterday and then I got sidetracked updating some stuff around here and by the time I remembered I wanted to write about this it was time to go to bed and not sleep.

Seasoned moms, I need your help.

My child is really into this game of slapping me in the face any time I want him to do something he doesn’t want to do. I get bopped upside the head or smacked in the eyes with this loose-limbed, over-handed maneuver of his and I just want to scream because sometimes this really hurts. And even if it doesn’t hurt, it’s still bad behavior. Where he has learned this, I have no idea. But it’s getting really frustrating and sets my teeth on edge.

Take yesterday, for example.

It was naptime. I grabbed his milk, picked him up, and headed to his room. He says “no…No naptime!” To which I replied, “Yes, naptime. Joshie’s gotta rest!”

To which he raised his little toddler hand and whapped me, knocking my sunglasses off my head. And then he laughed.

Sometimes he laughs when he does this which tells me that he thinks this is a game of some sort. Sometimes, he’s clearly doing this out of frustration as he’ll be crying the whole time.

I grab his arms and hold them away from me, or crossed over his chest, and say “NO. HITTING.” sternly, and he laughs again because mama’s scary face must not be too scary to him. Meanwhile the insides of me and I feel horns sprouting out of my skull and smoke pouring out of my ears.

I cannot stand to be hit like this. Out of anger, or fear, or in jest.

I cannot stand it.

When he hits me, I have to really check myself because my gut reaction is to hit back with a swat on the bottom or the hand or the leg.

But that makes no sense at all to me.

You cannot teach a child NOT to hit by HITTING. How, in the mind of a 2 year old, is that supposed to make sense?

And I don’t know if I necessarily believe in corporal punishment for my child. I think it’s completely possible to raise a respectable, awesome, non-spoiled, non-bratty kid without hitting him and because of my visceral response to being hit, I want to try to raise my child to be these things without spanking him.

But I’m really to the point where I don’t know what to do.

Is this just a phase? Did your toddler go through it? What did you do?

Help, Mamas.

Update:: Because Dan is a Google genius, he found this post on Breezy Mama that deals with toddler hitting. I’ll try it. You try it. We’ll compare notes. Though I maintain that the phrase “criss-cross applesauce” is the DUMBEST PHRASE EVER. Because applesauce DOESN’T SIT.

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Thursday 14th of July 2011

Criss Cross applesauce is such a silly phrase, but catchy, and apparantly more PC than Indian Style like they used to say back in my day.

Anyway - youngest did this from the time she could control her arms with purpose until she could talk in full sentences (she turned 2 in March). I would grab her hands and tell her that we use "gentle hands" and then I would pet her face and show her what gentle hands feel like. At the same time I also told her that we use our words and not our hands. When she finally was armed with words like "Me No Like That" and "Chloe not ready yet" or "Chloe need space." then she hit less. It's tough getting there, just like working through the biting phase, or hair pulling (she did all of those). It'll happen, it's more developmental for him than it is about parenting on your part. He'll out grow it and you'll survive it :)


Monday 11th of July 2011

I've been saving this post for when I had time to read it. This is our biggest problem and, sorry to say, he's been doing it FOREVER. We've done just about everything in that post and he still hits. I think it's due to a lot of things - needing attention, me not being present enough for him, having lots of energy and excitement and not knowing where to direct it. He definitely does it at certain times so we're trying to re-direct as noted in the last part of that post.

But yeah, I get it. This - THIS - is the thing that sets me off. It has been the source of my PPD-fuelled rage for, oh, two years at least (because he used to swat me in the face while nursing, which, though a different sort of hitting, drove me around the bend).

Also...I don't know how to sit criss-cross applesauce style.


Saturday 9th of July 2011

Oh come on, we say criss-cross applesauce in First Grade! ;-)

JDaniel4's Mom

Saturday 9th of July 2011

JDaniel did this for awhile. When the reaction he got wasn't the one he planned for he stopped. It got lucky that it didn't last long.


Saturday 9th of July 2011

I haven't read ALL of your comments yet, so I'm not sure if someone has said this already, but my two year old is doing this right now too. When we went through this with his older brother, we would put him in time out, for about a minute or two, each time he hit (with a firm "You don't hit"). Eventually he grew out of it, so it may be just a stage that they all go through?

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