Last Friday another child intentionally hurt my baby girl for the first time; and a part of my heart just shattered as her face went from confusion to shock to pain and then crumpled as she fell back crying. I get an aching throb in my chest and my throat closes even remembering it and I want to wrap myself around her and never let her go. I started writing this post the evening it happened, but I kept crying. It’s taken me over a week to be able to finish it.
For long time readers, you will remember my first reaction to finding out we were having a girl. Because of my history of being bullied, I was instantly and to-the-core terrified of seeing my child experience that. Seeing that little girl shove my baby girl was a gut punch.
Essentially what happened was when we arrived, the beautiful little terrorist came rushing to my shy little girl, hugged her, took her hand and off they went to play ball and balloons. My heart swelled with joy, as Charly is usually the friendly kid and the others tend to shy away from her constant sharing (she piles all her toys around other children like offerings of love) and enthusiasm. It was so awesome seeing another child close to her age playing with her and bringing the same warmth to it.
About 40 minutes later, after cake and chatting, Charly wanted to go play with the terrorist again and bounded over and tried to climb up onto the couch alongside the child. At first the other child flapped her hands at Charly, which we all had a bit of a giggle at and told the other child to play nicely. Charly tried again to climb up and the little girl pushed her shoulder slightly, which her aunt reprimanded her for, but I was already starting to get to my feet; and then that horrible child shoved my baby so hard she fell back. Daddy got to her first and swooped her up, but as with any booboo she reached for me sobbing “meemeem” and I grabbed her and took her quickly into the garden til she calmed a little.
I wanted to keep going, to just leave and go home; I figured Brett would follow in time. As it is, we were at a virtual strangers house for their daughter’s birthday party and this child was a relative of theirs. There were a bunch of other more or less strangers that live in our area too with their small children. I was out of my comfort zone, I had a headache and I didn’t really want to be there. I smiled and loved seeing the birthday girl’s face light up when she opened our gift. I am learning to be social in strange situations again, but it is difficult for me still – I am “faking it til I make it”.
So, knowing all of that, I wrapped my arms around my girl and stepped back in; I “calmly” gave Brett our signal and he instantly started doing the “time for Charly’s dinner and bathtime” chatter and I managed to smile and thank them and leave without releasing my hold on Charly who was still clinging to me whimpering.
I know it is important that Charly learns that the world can be a nasty place and that not everyone is nice and, most importantly, how to move past rejection and heartache without it breaking you; but at 14 months old?! Really?
I worry that I won’t be able to teach her how to do that, since evidently I have never really learned to fully do it myself. Although during my pregnancy I faced a lot of old demons and laid a lot of them to rest; every now and then I will see a person pop up on my Facebook feed through another friend and my blood runs cold and I experience all the hurt and fear and panic that I did when I was a child.
My biggest shame was the overwhelming urge I had to push that other child, all 20 months old of her. Of COURSE I didn’t! I would never ever hurt a child. But my instinct when I saw Charly falling and looking at me desperately was to rush in, shove the little terrorist out of my way and grab my baby and run.
How on earth do you other mommies handle seeing other kids hurt your child? What do you do? What am I meant to do?