My husband calls W “spirited,” and the other day W refused to settle down even after several warnings from dear old mom. (So shocking that he wouldn’t listen to me.) We were sitting on the couch together, and just as my internal voice was telling me to get out of the tornado’s way, an elbow or knee or something came flying directly into my lip. It hurt — badly. I couldn’t help it — I fell to the ground and cried. It felt just like a razor blade had sliced me. My tooth had gone right through my lip and it was bleeding. W started screaming and saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” then HE cried.
It took me about 30 seconds to compose myself and start comforting him, but my lip hurt so bad that I didn’t forgive him immediately.
I recently read something online about how guilting your kids is not a good tactic, but I couldn’t help it. I made him feel bad.
I texted my husband and said I was bleeding, so he called to see if I wanted him to come home. I said I was fine and I put ice on my lip while I calmed down. I did get a fat lip pretty quickly, and while W seemed to be over the trauma, I made him look at my lip and, well, feel guilty about it. He is getting stronger every day, and with a baby sister around I felt he needed to know the type of injury that results from playing rough. He looked at my lip and clearly felt really bad.
“I did that?” he asked.
“Yep” I said.
“Why?” was his response.
I think I said something like, “Because you weren’t listening,” and he seemed to be processing.
Then all day long, everywhere we went, I told people that W gave me my fat lip and I pointed to it. I did it so that he could hear me and see that I was in pain and that other people noticed Mommy’s feelings too. This wasn’t really premeditated; it just kept happening. Probably because I was self-conscious about the purple welt.
Before bed that night, when he was getting a bit rowdy, I said, “Settle down,” and he did! Miracle. Then the next morning at breakfast Elmo had a “fat lip” too, and W told me he was the one who gave it to Elmo. We kissed Elmo and told him to feel better. That little Elmo episode helped me realize W had been thinking about things and maybe, just maybe, he will think twice before going off the rails next time. Maybe?
[Image: Doctor Dan The Bandage Man book cover]