Yesterday I was hit with a Kid’s Kindle Fire tablet, punched on the leg and then whacked fairly hard across the face and nose by one of my sons. All done in temper, but all in a day’s work of being a parent to them unfortunately. Especially when they’re tired, which they were having spent the day at playgroup.
When something like that happens we tend to cradle the offending son like a baby (but never TELL them it’s like a baby because “I’m a BIG BOY NOT A BABY” would be the response). While holding them like that isn’t always externally welcomed it also helps them calm down more quickly than if we did anything else. Of course that actually leaves us in the firing line for more physical abuse (which is when I got whacked in the face).
Externally I stayed as calm as I could, but I have to admit when he hit me in the face my anger boiled up and I really wanted to hit him back. I didn’t, I wouldn’t, but the thought was there. I wanted to retaliate for what he just did, but the thought of hitting my son in anger is repugnant.
Instead I told him he’d hurt me and that hitting people wasn’t nice, still cradling him in my arms (honestly I hope we don’t have to do this much longer as he is getting HEAVY!). I told him that I was going to hold him until he was ready for me to let him go and asked if he needed a cuddle. I know he usually needs one as immediately after hitting me he tends to get extremely upset with himself as he didn’t really want to hurt me, he was just venting frustrations and I was there.
I waited and then through a few tears my son uttered those magic words “I’m ready Dad”, so I stopped cradling and commented again that he had hurt me which wasn’t nice, and he said he was sorry. I asked if he could kiss my nose (which still hurt) to make it better after being hit, which he did. Then we had another cuddle and all was good again.
Dinner went well, both boys ate their pie and mash very nicely (it’s a favourite, Eldest even had a second helping of mash with gravy). Then it was bedtime, and my turn to read the son-guilty-of-hitting-me’s story – we alternate boys each night. I was expecting a bit of conflict as he was very tired which usually means he tends not to settle, and while it did take him sometime to sit still for his story, once it was finished he laid in bed and said “I’ll stay in bed tonight, Dad”. I didn’t believe him as he never stays in bed, but he said it, so I told him that would be a good thing to do.
I tucked him in and gave him a hug. I said “I love you” in his ear, which I do now and again, usually after we’ve had some conflict. I never expect him to say it back, I’m not sure he quite understands what it means anyway, but that day he responded with “I love you, Dad”.
This parenting thing is a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs. I may be a punch bag to vent frustrations, but apparently I’m one that he loves.