In Defense Of The Child

July 16th, 2008

I suppose it’s a major occupational hazard of blogging that the writer posts something negative about a loved one and then second-guesses doing it. After all, the blogger cares deeply about the person in question and doesn’t want to make him/her look bad… at least not often. I find myself grappling with this right now, as only someone so psychotically and obnoxiously full of self-doubt as myself can.

Oh, I’m not talking about any posts concerning Hubby. He’s already been informed that my blog will be featuring his most doltish qualities, in a loving, respectful way, of course. (Yeah, right.) I mean to say that when posting about Babyzilla, I don’t intend to convey that he’s Demon Child From Hell or that I don’t love him as ridiculously as I do. I just want to be honest about what it’s like raising a child like him. If I can be a voice that parents of spirited kids can relate to and parents of non-spirited kids can understand, then I suppose I’ll have accomplished something positive with this blog.

One thing about Babyzilla that I feel I should clarify is that when he hits, he’s not balling up his little fist and smashing kids full-force in the face. It’s an open-handed slap on the arm or torso, sometimes a shove, and usually delivered with moderate force. I’m not saying that this makes it okay in any way, shape, or form. I just want to dispel any idea that he’s bloodying noses and blackening eyes like a mini Mike Tyson.

Another thing I want to make clear is that Babyzilla is not a violent, angry, or malicious kid. Far from it. If anything, he is rather shy and gets overwhelmed by the presence of others. A lot of the “aggressive” behaviors seem to stem from an innate need to protect his personal ‘space’. As an infant, he was over-stimulated very easily and often didn’t even want to be held. He was at least six months old before he would rest his head on my shoulder. (A moment that made my weary heart soar when it finally happened!) He also gets over-excited fairly easily and can have a hard time controlling his body when that occurs. Obviously, this is all stuff we are working on and have been for a long time.

My husband sometimes thinks I’m making a bigger deal out of the hitting than it warrants. Maybe sometimes I am, but he doesn’t have to hear the reports from school or suffer the evil stares from other parents. In all honesty, most parents are very understanding and realize this is just a phase some kids go through. But it’s those few, the ones that have ‘You’re a horrible mom and your kid is a serial killer in the making’ written all over their faces who make you feel gutted. They don’t know how fortunate they are to have been blessed with a child that they can smugly pat themselves on the back about, thinking what great parents they are. Inborn temperament is the key, and it’s all a big crapshoot. You got lucky, Smugparent.

Yesterday, Babyzilla’s teacher told me that he got in a bit of a playground scuffle over not wanting to share something with another child. It ended with him pushing the kid and then being sent to the classroom to chill out. She said he didn’t push hard; the other child definitely wasn’t hurt. She observed that Babyzilla was making an effort to control himself, and, most importantly, assured me that this behavior is “totally normal” for his age. Apparently, he’s not hitting or pushing constantly or terribly roughly. I think I always assume it’s happening more and is more dire than is usually the case. You know how when you have a chip on your tooth or a canker sore in your mouth and you put your tongue on it, it feels GINORMOUS? But then you check in the mirror and see that it’s actually quite small? It seems like my brain is to parenting problems as a tongue is to a canker sore.

Did I just compare my kid to a canker sore?

I luvs ya, Babyzilla…. fists of fury and all.

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