The Little Guy is testing his limits lately.
I know he should be because he’s going to be a year old soon and that’s what babies that age do. Logically, I know he’s exploring his world and getting to know it, and us, through his actions. But emotionally it’s been tough.
When we picked him up from school (daycare) today we got some news that has been swirling around in my head for these five hours. Apparently he’s been hitting a girl in his class. Not slugging her out of meanness, but smacking her like he does to the cat, or any surface when he’s excited. We were told that he only does this to the one girl, who is about four months old, and that they’ve been working with him on it, trying to distract him when he rolls near her. But he’s intent. Apparently he rolled to her and smacked her about a dozen times. Finally, they put him in a baby swing.
So, tonight as I got him ready for bed I explained something to him. I told him that it’s not OK to hit, even for play, especially someone younger than him you doesn’t know what you’re doing and especially a woman. I told him that hitting is not the way to show a girl that you like her and I even suggested he paint her a picture instead. I took the opportunity to practice having a talk with him that might actually happen one day.
And it actually helped me to keep my cool when I put him in his pajamas and he wanted to be everywhere but where he was. I explained that if I let him fall I wasn’t doing my job. He didn’t seem to get it at all. But he likes my voice, and snuggled in close while I sang to him.
Someday he’ll understand what we say and start to make his own choices. It’s a big job to raise a son. It’s a big job to raise any child but today, especially, it seems a bit daunting to raise a son. I hope he becomes a man I will be proud of. A man who knows how to treat women, who is a valuable member of his community, who is a steward of our Mother Earth, who does what he says and believes in what he does, who leads by example and is actually someone worth following.
For now, I’ll keep having “big” talks with my 11-month-old. Practice can’t hurt.
UPDATE: When I dropped him off this morning I had the chance to visit with other teachers about his interaction with the other little girl. I was told that sometimes he has smacked like he was excited. Other times, they said, it seems he’s jealous that she is playing on the mat gym and acts out of anger. I wish an 11-month-old could be reasoned with.