nice or naughty hands

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Ollie not needing his highchair anymore.

Another blink and I’ll miss it moment. monster #1 seems to have shot up suddenly. He has recently been able not only unlock and lock the doors, but also remove the keys out of the key holes. Darn. So much for minimising the areas that he can go to. We ended up placing the keys on the space above our light switches. It makes entering the rooms A LOT more inconvenient now.

Thanks a lot, growth spurt. *grumbles*

Today was one of those days where Ollie was in a bit of a mood. He was pretty good most of the day, but when he got bored whilst I was in the midst of doing something, usually cooking, QT would bear the brunt of it. The worst being this evening when I was in the midst of cooking some veggies and QT got smacked on his tummy multiple times in a row. I exclaimed a “hey!” and Ollie looked at me before turning back and smacking QT again.

monster #2 burst into a wail. The kind that said he got a shock and it hurt. And my heart ached.

I have been reading up a fair bit about managing toddlers with a new sibling. The most common theme was that this is a phase and will pass; that we need to acknowledge the toddler’s feelings and involve him as much as possible. Ollie has been a great help when it comes to QT. He will very gladly grab the wipes, diapers, tissue and even a towel if I ask him too. He will throw the diaper away if I hand it to him.

When Ollie wakes up in the morning and sees QT, he goes over to give QT a couple of strokes on his head, smells him and may be give him a kiss. Sometimes when QT is fussing a little, Ollie would imitate me and tell QT, “oh-la oh-la, don’t cry. it’s okay.“. Or if QT is on the play gym, Ollie would lie next to him and swing the toys dangling above them.

Which is why the sudden smacking absolutely baffles me. And I cannot find it in the heart to yell at Ollie despite wanting to right the wrong. On one hand, I don’t want Ollie to feel that I am isolating him by yelling at him because of his brother (which may exacerbate his negative feelings about his brothe, if any). On the other hand, I feel so sorry for QT although I know he probably won’t remember any of this when he grows older. It is just that, at that moment, it pains to see QT getting smacked and in pain.

Recently, I read an article about the use of “nice hands”. Basically I would tell Ollie that he has nice hands and that nice hands do not hit. I struggled to find a word suitable for the opposite of nice hands, and decided on naughty hands. Each time I saw the signs that a smacking was imminent, I would fend of the blow and then asked Ollie if he had nice or naughty hands. He would always reply that he has nice hands, and I would reiterate that nice hands do not hit, and that QT was small so it would hurt if he got hit. Tonight, the message seemed to have finally stuck cos I asked if he had nice or naughty hands and he replied “nice hands and nice hands do not hit.

So far, all sets of grandparents and one great-grandma have witness QT getting smacked by Ollie, and they feel the pain for QT. To the extent that my maternal grandmother would hover around and fend off Ollie if he got too close to QT, worried that Ollie may decide to strike randomly. Yes, I do understand why they do it. But I am worried that Ollie might feel a little outcasted. I have seen the expression on his face post strike. A little wary, and a little guilty. May be I am in denial, but I do believe those strikes were not done out of malice or spite, nor jealousy. Most of the times, it seems to be done when he is bored or borderline cranky due to lack of sleep.

I guess it is hard for me to imagine that my little boy would not think twice about hitting someone so defenceless. He has lashed out at me before but those moments were mostly before his nap, if he has not had a nap or he is being forced to do something that he doesn’t want to do. There was a sorta decent reason for it. But this, is entirely new to me and I am trying hard to understand it. Hais..hopefully this phase will end soon!

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