March 12, 2008
James has a new trick up his sleeve, and I'm not sure if I should blame it on the fact that Jared is a stay-at-home-dad or on the fact that James is a male. In the long run, I suppose the reason for the behavior doesn't matter so much. The truth is, my kid has a hitting problem and it seriously needs to stop.
Yesterday, when I walked in the door from work, instead of being met with a joyful, dramatic hug like I usually am, I got sucker-punched. As soon as James heard the door creak open he bolted down the hallway, arms flailing like a man on fire, and greeted me with a big, fat whack to the side of the head.
I'm thoroughly embarrassed to admit that this problem is not limited to hitting and punching. In recent days it's expanded to pushing, head butting, and body slamming as well. When I brought the issue up with Jared, he simply added:
"Oh, I know! You should have seen him this afternoon. He was outside, hitting the car with a stick over and over and over for like FIVE MINUTES STRAIGHT!"
"Oh my gosh," I replied. "Why'd you let him do it for that long? He's gonna knock all the rust off the side of the Blazer and we'll have nothing left to drive!"
"I tried to stop him, but he couldn't hear me through the window."
I have to admit, it took me a moment to process that line. It's turns out that Jared gets James all dressed up in his winter woolies and sends him into the harsh New England elements to play while he sits inside, watching our two-year-old through the window. My husband knocks, smiles, waves, and gives our little buddy the occasional thumbs up while he sits inside and snacks on gumdrops and saltines. How very manly.
I wrapped up our brief lesson on the basics of appropriate parenting by saying, "The bottom line is this: When James hits, you've got to tell him that it's not nice, even if you have to unlock and open the window to do it. And if he doesn't listen, he gets a time out. It's that simple!!!"
Later that night, James did it again. I refused to give my toddler hot fudge for supper, so he wound up and walloped me in the side of the leg. I've got to say, Jared was right on it with the discipline. He put a very serious look on his face, pointed to the dreaded time-out chair and said, "One more time an you'll sit in that chair for three minutes straight."
And without pausing for a flash, James picked up his florescent-pink teddy-bear, used it to smack Jared in the gut and said, "I not do it. Da bear hit you. Et was da bear." I don't know how many timeouts we had last night, but I do remember being assaulted by Lightening McQueen, a pull-along duck, and a stuffed pony. I was also bitten by a picture of my mother--very unfortunate.
If you have a good military school suggestion, go ahead and leave it in the comments. Thanks.