Monday, March 30, 2015

Nice Screaming!

Parenting offers new and exciting adventures every day. Yesterday I said something I never would have believed possible in my fevered, pre-child, parenting delusions: "Good job! You yelled at the baby!"

Flynn has a one year old brother, Calvin. Quite frequently, Calvin gets overexcited and presents Flynn with genuinely challenging behaviors, grabbing, pinching, hitting, the patented toddler two-hand-slap. Flynn has always had extreme tactile defensiveness and frequently has lashed out in response to even incidental contact from other children.

With his brother, Flynn has gotten so confused. He loves the baby! So much love! So many hugs and kisses! But he is scared of the baby, too. He is scared the baby will hurt him, scared of hurting the baby, scared the baby will hurt himself.

True stories:
Baby crawls rapidly toward Flynn's room.  Flynn pushes baby's head down into the floor.  Baby screams.  "What are you doing?"  "I didn't want the baby to go in my room!" "Why not?" "There might be choking hazards on the floor!"

Baby toddles happily toward Flynn, babbling excitedly.  Flynn pushes baby over. "Why did you do that?" "I was afraid he was going to bite me."

Actual physical contact from the baby . . . escalated quickly. Let's just say the boy knows how to retaliate.

To say that it has taken some adjusting for him to tolerate the baby would be to significantly understate how hard he is working.

Yesterday, after some prompting from me, Flynn was doing a puzzle with his brother - you know the kind - big heavy wooden blocks made just for a baby.  This one, as a matter of fact:

Calvin picked up the triangle piece tried to put it in place, failed, then watched Flynn lean over and put the oval in place. Thunk! Calvin smacked Flynn right on the forehead with the corner of the heavy wooden triangle, where Flynn already had a bruise.  I'm sure it hurt like hell.

You guys! Flynn didn't hit back! Instead he looked right at the baby and screamed. The baby cried. Flynn cried. I was so proud of him. "Good job, buddy.  Nice screaming."

Baby steps.

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