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May 13, 2014

Babies, Violence, Help...and Beyonce

Look at how good I am at giving Dylan "space"
Have you seen the video of Beyonce’s sister Solange getting all crazy physical with Jay-Z in an elevator? It’s pretty intense. Solange’s kicking and swinging reminded me of a tantrum prone toddler I have living in my house named Dylan. Violence is a total no-no in my book and is forever inappropriate, so a few months ago when Dylan began slapping my face, I didn’t know what to do. I knew it was wrong but I froze up. 

Dylan has always been a little brat. Before he was a mushy-gushy-cushy-cuddle face, he was selectively cruel to me. There were a lot of hand flopping threats but the aggression was so minimal that it was almost funny. Oh look, the little baby wants his way- how cute. Yeah, “cute” until someone gets hurt. And one day it happened: I picked Dylan up from the floor and he smacked me across the face, hard. My blood instantly boiled. Toddler or not, I was livid (but non-reactive). I did the “no hitting, hitting hurts people” thing for weeks with zero results. Before I knew it, I was being head-butted and kicked regularly. Being beat up by a sadistic toddler is humiliating and I feared he’d hurt another kid at some point. People told me it was a phase and that children go through all kinds of behavioral stages….but I didn’t want excuses for Dylan’s aggression, I wanted needed help. 

Then I remembered Jennifer, a gentle and childrearing goddess who translated Dylan’s behavior for me back when he was his own victim, banging his head on tile floors and all that. So I emailed her, whining about the Godzilla of babies and begging asking for direction. She responded with a myriad of approaches that might work, including “gentle hands.” So I put gentle hands to the test: When Dylan got slap-happy, I grabbed his hand and moved it across my arm and said “no hitting, gentle hands.” Then I asked him to show me and he repeated the motion. The results were mind blowing, Dylan went from pissed off to calm and intrigued. Huh? 

Since campaigning for gentle hands, the violence has almost completely subsided. And when Dylan does strike, a “crap, I’m not supposed to do that” washes across his face and he immediately rubs my arm gently, hugs me, and gives me a kiss. Jennifer is the bomb! And even though she would never in a million years admit it, she’s a baby whisperer. Yesterday she blogged about rolling out help to all of her readers by offering “Ask The Deliberate Mom” posts. I squealed in excitement. So to Solange, Jay-Z, and Beyonce, please see Jenn. She’ll fix you, just ask!