My youngest son favours hitting or biting as a way to get things done. Won’t let me turn on the oven on its hottest setting and put my play pasta in? Take that *brutal slap across the face. You want to strap me into this restrictive straitjacket of a car seat? Not on your nelly – how about this *sinks teeth into my wrist.
What? What’s that you say? I am not allowed to precariously carry these piled up glasses I’ve hunted from the cupboard by pulling my highchair over so I can teeter on the edge to get them? I think you should revise your opinion *throws all the glasses on floor and punches my leg.
He is often violent with his brothers, pulling their hair or biting them when they snatch a toy or berate him for destroying their intricate lego games; he has experimented with hitting smaller babies and – yes, well he just keeps hitting me. I get a good whack or scratch in the face for just about everything I do, bar breastfeeding, although once he also got pissed off with my boob and hit that too.
He’s an angry young man, and it appears to be his default mood. Of course, I blame myself. I was monumentally cranky in the third trimester carrying him and it’s hard not to wonder if all the Tupac I kept listening to had some kind of effect on him. Tupac blasted out during labour and even up to the point of birth; I have no idea why, all I knew was that I had to listen to something that was the opposite of gentle to distract myself from the pain I felt.
Now he is like a small and angry rapper from the ghetto himself and I know I have to love it out of him. It is going to have to be severely loved out of him, just oodles of extra stretchy infinite love. Just like I have to love all the irritating unhelpful (straight up understatement) qualities out of myself, I am acutely aware that I have to love this tendency out of him.
I’ve been pretty angry with him a few times, usually based on the level of pain or surprise experienced in relation to the latest wallop, and obviously unleashing anything on the rage spectrum works the opposite way. More anger from me, tenfold back from him. Getting all shouty is clearly not going to bring out the sweeter qualities in my little ball of frustration. So it’s all about love. And I love him so much but gentle is not my default mode in any of these situations.
So I have work to do. Countless times a day I have to catch myself, ramp up the gentle, scoop out the love, set my inner Tupac firmly aside and channel – I don’t know – Celine Dion instead (alternative suggestions welcome).