William took his first steps the other day! He suddenly stood up in the middle of the room and took four very wobbly steps towards me. It was lovely, I clapped and cheered (rather over-excitedly) and he thought it was really great/funny/clever.
Charlotte, on the other hand, found the whole event rather ‘different’. All of a sudden she started acting quite aggressively towards the family; she would clench and shake her fists, growling or roaring through gritted teeth, she’d kick and lash out, refuse to eat and run away when it was time to get dressed or have dinner. She was disruptive, destructive and very, very naughty! Holding hands was more like a vice-like-grip; strong enough to stop the circulation. A loving, playful tickle would end up being a bruise-like pinch or scratch, then there was the violent kicking and sting-like slapping – it was so unlike Charlotte and I began to worry not only for William but actually for my own safety!!
The trouble was; I wasn’t sure how to handle this behaviour. I tried punishment and timeout, but that made no difference. Yelling and shouting back just scared her and made me feel so awful afterwards. Worst of all there were times when I was SO frustrated and angry that I would lose my temper and smack her legs, when instead I should have walked away from the situation. Restraint didn’t work; as I discovered that she’s actually stronger than me! I was running out of ideas.
Then my friend Tamsin came over with Ella, her little baby. Tamsin encouraged me to ‘observe’ Charlotte and how she interacted with Ella, William and the two of us as we sat at the end of the room. Charlotte would share food and toys with Ella; but NOT with William. She would watch Ella play and touch her gently with soft words and a smile; but obstruct William with a growl and a firm push. Tamsin suggested asking Charlotte WHY she behaved the way she did, I hadn’t even thought about this approach. When I asked her, she replied “Don’t like William walking”.
So there you have it, William was standing and reaching the same height as Charlotte, taking steps and getting attention and praise, attention that Charlotte was jealous of and craving. Tamsin suggested “mummy-and-daughter” time was needed, so I made arrangements to take Charlotte (only) to Paulton’s Park. We had such a lovely time, she was polite, affectionate, funny, excited and cute.
Charlotte was back to her old self, well, that was until we arrived home and she kicked both me and William in the face! I’m sure things will improve, or she’ll grow out of it, but have you experienced something similar? What worked for you? I would love to hear your stories…………..