Confession: Parker has been behaving in a way that does not make me happy.
In the last two days my sweet boy has had two aggressive incidents, which he provoked, that required us to leave play dates. In both cases, we do not know the families very well, but I foresee, or foresaw, blossoming friendships that would stick around for a bit. I hope that is still the case with both sets of people.
I'm brave enough to tell you that much. I am too upset to go into too much detail about the specifics of the events. I will say hitting was involved, well hitting was all that was involved.
This is new territory for me. He is usually on the receiving end of aggressive behavior. I have rescued him from quite a few bullying sessions. I have dried his tears when his feelings were hurt. I have kissed his boo-boos, told him he was okay and sent him back into the world to play.
I am taking this bad behavior personally. Like a X caused Y situation. We don't hit Parker and we don't hit each other- we don't even play hit. I am puzzled by where this is coming from, seemingly, out of the blue.
Kids are not always a product of their parents, I know that. There is a degree of nurture and nature in all of us. Toddlers go through stages and sometimes those stages involve testing new boundaries. Part of it is he is way in to babies (read: anyone remotely smaller than him) and does not truly understand "gentle" yet.
As I caught him being a prick to these two kids, I immediately snatched him up, made him say sorry- which he did, thankfully- and marched him straight home.
I told him he was not being nice and when you are not nice you don't get to play with your friends.
We...discussed, as much as you can with a 2 year old...what nice was, how to be gentle and how if you want to have friends you have to be both nice and gentle.
Then we painted quietly together with watercolors.
I do not want to be one of those parents who seem uninterested in disciplining their children. When he acts like a brat, I will remove him from the situation. However, I am someone who lets things cut deep and then I let them fester. I pick and pick and pick at the emotional wound until I am consumed by it. Parker got over it once we kissed and made up. The kids he hit probably got over it before P and I were even in the car. The parents probably think I overreacted by leaving so quickly.
However, I'm sitting here on the couch on a Saturday night- hours after each incident- blogging because I just need to get this out.
Things I know:
I am a good mom.
My son loves me.
He is testing limits and seeing how much jerky behavior I will tolerate as the parent- which is damn near none.
Parker is still sweet.
This will probably happen again.
I need to do what feels right to me as Parker's mom.
I do not need to pull him out of pre-school. (Yes, I actually considered this.)