Lately, my toddler has been a little aggressive. What I mean by this, is she is pushing other kids when they try to play with her. Is this normal toddler behavior? Yes, but still it’s not okay. She is also not the best listener. Is this normal toddler behavior? Yes, but still it’s not okay — and especially coupled with this whole being aggressive thing she’s been testing me with. Not a killer combination, to say the least. Bottom line, I’m not sure if she thinks this whole pushing thing is a game, but it needs to be stopped—like game over.
One morning we decided to try out a gym class with her cousin. She, my strong-wild child, was, of course, rebel at large. She doesn’t like to participate in what the rest of the class does. I had the baby too, so I decided to do the class with the baby and let her do her own thing. Honestly, we leave so many classes early because of my strong-willed child misbehaving, and I wanted my baby, who was enjoying it, to be able to stay and enjoy for once. I was all about baby’s rights.
Well, she was doing her own thing, and then I saw her and her cousin playing out of the corner of my eye. Very cute, I thought, as the baby pulled herself up on me. And finally–she hardly glanced at him twice, but now she was making up for it.
All of a sudden, my toddler’s arm went up.
I saw a devilish toothy smile. Then her other little arm rose like a zombie and in slow motion before I could do anything — she pushed her cousin.
I saw him fall to the ground. BOOM. He is more of a sweet and passive personality so he looked at her — and then tears.
“Now you are going to timeout,” I huffed, grabbing the toddler, who seemed pleased with herself until I put her in toddler prison. Then her attitude shifted completely as she tried to get out of the spot that I placed her. This usually involves a wrestling match between the two of us. She came out of it a little disheveled because two minutes of timeout is hard time for toddlers.
“Sorry,” she spat out to her cousin. And that was that.
Well, later karma caught up to her, and I don’t know if I am completely horrified about it if I’m honest.
Let me explain…
My toddler ended up not taking a nap, so when the baby got up, I decided to kill some time by taking both of them to a play space to burn some before bedtime energy.
All was going according to plan. The toddler was going down slides and burning some energy, and the baby and I were trailing her, playing close by, and then…
My daughter met her match, in a 3 foot tall little girl.
While driving one of the play space cars, this little girl came up to her to check out the car too.
My daughter’s response—she shoved the little girl. And the little girl fought back pulling at my daughter’s arm.
My response: I blew my referee whistle!
“Woah. No hitting. Both of you,” I said pulling the girl away from my daughter. Then I looked at the little girl, “She is using the car right now, do you mind using it after her?” Then my daughter drove it away with her feet—very Fred Flintstone of you, Fisher Price. The little girl burst into tears, and I comforted her and showed her another car behind her and helped her in. Because, of course, when there are ten cars, every toddler wants the same one. Because that’s the toddler mentality, the one you have I want.
Later my daughter was playing with some blocks, trying to assemble them. This same little girl came over to us. My daughter was trying to play with them, and the little girl shoved her. My daughter pushed her back. Time for me to referee again, I thought, picking up the one-year-old and heading to them.
My daughter started pulling a block away from her as I got closer. They were both pulling. Then…
The girl bit my daughter.
My daughter turned to me and her whole face contorted. I could tell she was prepping for a big wail. I gave my daughter a hug comforting her, while the tears started streaming down her face. The other girl didn’t break the skin but there was a mark. Her dad came over, and I told him what happened. I told him the truth though. Look, I was mad that she bit her, but they were both misbehaving so I thought he should reprimand accordingly. I mean, my daughter wasn’t innocent. Biting is worse than pushing, but both girls were in the wrong.
As my daughter continued crying and I rubbed her arm, I told her how if you are going to shove other kids, some are going to be aggressive back.
“When you push, it gives other kids owies too like you got today,” I explained. I only went on for a little while, because my poor girl was hysterical—but honestly, after her aggressive behavior lately, I was glad that she met her match in some ways.
I was hoping maybe it would help her realize that being aggressive is not how we communicate our needs. Who knows if she learned her lesson. She hasn’t been as aggressive since, so maybe she is thinking twice about acting aggressively towards other kids. Or maybe she hasn’t had anyone piss her off as much since then. Perhaps a little of both.
However, she did recognize that she had an owie and it hurt, from another kid, so we got somewhere. This is why I am not completely horrified by my daughter getting bitten.