Bad Milestone. Bad, Bad Milestone.

Thalia wanted my attention while I was getting Sage dressed this morning. Frustrated, Thalia popped the baby on the top of her head, palm open. It was not enough to hurt, but enough that I reacted, instinctively.

And did it right back to Thalia.

I shocked her. I shocked myself.

“You don’t like it when I do this to you, right?” I said, fighting back my own tears. She shook her head. “Well that’s why we don’t do it to Sage.”

She didn’t cry. I think she was too stunned. She hugged me. She hugged Sage.

And I felt like shit.


57 thoughts on “Bad Milestone. Bad, Bad Milestone.”

  1. don’t feel like shit, you did something that is instinct – you won’t react like that next time…ahhh motherhood.

  2. We’ve all been there. Hang tight and give yourself a hug.

  3. I’ve done something similar, I felt horrible about it ( I still kind of do) but it’s not something I will do again. Thalia didn’t understand it, but you hugged her, she was reassured, and I’m sure it was forgotten when she moved on the next thing. kids are like that.

  4. It’s OK. I’ve felt like shit when I’ve had those moments, too, but instinct is sometimes impossible to overcome.Just breathe and don’t be too hard on yourself.

  5. Funny, How different life is these days. I don’t want to even say how often I was “bopped” as a kid by my parents and I don’t think they felt guilty and I don’t think we felt abused. Different rules these days.Bonnie

  6. Every single one of us has a moment we regret. Whether it’s like yours or not (in my case it concerned a poop accident in an unfortunate and inconvenient location).Maybe we need it to help us understand where we must never go again.As if it’s a line we now know never to cross.xxoo

  7. Been there. It sucks. Hopefully you won’t follow it up by forgetting to pick up your kid after a field trip, as I did. (I think he’s forgiven me, but damn.)

  8. Hang in there… how odd.. I did the same thing today. Our son was fussing getting in the car and slapped me and then gently hit his little brother (6 weeks). I gave him a thwap on the top of the head and then started to look for witnesses. We don’t hit in our house but it was in the moment. He too didn’t cry, just looked at me like “What the HELL was that!!!” and then immediatly said “sorry Mommy, I love you!”Then my tears came. I feel your pain!

  9. I’ve done it too. Just once. I felt the same but never did it again. I doubt you will either. My children don’t remember. But I do and that’s all the matters. Hugs to you.

  10. Do you ever read Bub and Pie? She wrote a post called something like, “Mummy will smack,” which I think, if you read it, might help.We all cross the line at some point, or react, or wish we’d done otherwise.Hang in there.

  11. Liz, I know you feel bad for this now, but the feeling will pass and you’ll know it wasn’t anything that will scar Thalia for life.If anything, you got the point across and Thalia will most likely never do that again. When Dawson bit me after he didn’t get his way, I bit him back (within reason) and he realized it hurts and he never did it again. I wasn’t exactly proud that I did it, but I didn’t really know how else to get the point across.

  12. I felt like shit when I pulled Oliver’s hair after he pulled the cat’s hair. But he hasn’t done it since.

  13. We all have those moments. None of my kids remember them, but I haven’t forgotten a single one. Be kind to yourself.

  14. I’ve done that exact thing before so don’t feel bad…you taught a good lesson and sometimes lessons are hard to learn (both for children and Mommies). It’s only gonna get harder…*sigh* before it gets easier.

  15. Hit that milestone myself a couple of weeks ago – and I still can’t get over how quickly it all happened, how little volition was involved and yet suddenly, my perfect record was gone, just like that.

  16. I’ve popped my kid before, and I’d do it again if I felt it were necessary. I don’t normally spank him, but that just means it takes less of a smack to get his attention when things get to that point. Also, I bit him when he was a baby. Pretty hard, too, but it wasn’t in vain. He stopped biting me. I was tired of being bruised.I wouldn’t feel bad. You taught her a good lesson. Do unto others and all that.

  17. yeah, well–no one ever ended up in therapy because their parent bopped them on the head. yelling at your crazy kid after sitting with him in the ER for 3 hours only to be told there’s nothing anyone can do for him except refer you to an inpatient mental health facility–now THAT’S feeling like shit. consider yourself forgiven.

  18. I think most of us go through that at least once. You feel awful, but learn that they forget faster than we do, so no damage is done. Besides, a small bop on the head isn’t that bad. There are parents out there who do far worse when they lose their tempers. You still knew how to hold back, no matter how angry.And it’s only instinct to protect your own, even if the one doing the damage is one of your own, too.

  19. I’ve been there. It isn’t pretty.My kids now refer to it as the time I went all Bunny Foo Foo on their heads. (Stupid kid song about bopping them on the head.)

  20. You did not commit abuse. She will survive and maybe she will think before she hits her baby sister again. Sometimes children need to learn how things feel.

  21. I just tell my kids there was a mosquito on their ass.Okay. I’m kidding.We all have those moments. You’re a fantastic mom. I remind myself that if there are one of those for even just every 10 fantastic loving interactions (see, you’re like 1 for 10,000,000!), you’re fine.xox

  22. Forgive yourself the way your forgive your kids everyday.I’ve had moments, make that days, where I regret almost everything I do.Luckily, we immediately have new moments to work on becoming the mothers we want to be.

  23. I’ve done it, too… except she knocked him off his chair, so my arm just shot out and knocked her off her chair. Yeah. Worst mother of the year award, for that one. (I think the kids were only slightly older than yours are now, when that happened.) It was the first and last time I hit. The shock was enough for both of us.

  24. Ooh, those times we act on pure instinct. It got me the time Pumpkinpie slapped me and I slapped her right back on the hand before my brain even engaged. ohgodohgodohgod. But no permanent scars, it seems, so you’ll feel terrible for a few days and move on.

  25. Honest to god, dont worry! We all have done an INSTICTUAL act just like this with our children. Its instinct. Its what makes you Mamma and they are children learning consequences of their actions. Better you teach them with love than they never learn such harsh life lessons. Kudos to you for sharing this, it has or will happen to all of us at some point. Mine is 14 and has survived my teachings so far. Dont worry, you are doing a damn great job from what I’ve read!hugs!

  26. I am with the others, don’t feel like shit. In nature, mommies bite and bat at their babies when they are in danger, or when they are endangering other babies. Hitting the baby is not good, and your instinctual reaction was likely the most effective way to teach her to not do that again. So, hug her a little extra today, and then hug yourself. Then hug yourself again. And please accept a hug from me.

  27. Gosh, don’t feel like shit for too long, it happens. Most moms would do the same as you. I have, and felt bad but what can you do?Give her an extra hug, and I am sure she’ll just love the hugs.

  28. While I don’t believe in spanking a child as the usual response to bad behavior, sometimes it’s the thing that gets the message across. Particularly in the case you describe. You were showing Thalia how it felt because Sage could not. In a year or so, you won’t have to do that — Sage will whack her one right back and then you have another problem 🙂Watch animals raising their babies. Like us, they are teaching their children proper pack behavior and sometimes they bite to make the point. Not hard, not to hurt, but just enough to make the point.

  29. Aww, that’s hard but yeah, I don’t think you reacted inappropriately at all. I got whooped all the time by my parents when I was a kid and for good reason usually! I think it’s ultimately good that you showed her exactly why she shouldn’t be hurting Sage. She may not have fully understood it otherwise. And yes, like others have been saying, I’m sure she’ll appreciate some extra hugs now, too.

  30. Oh, good. A chance for a confessional! Today I found myself in the kitchen cutting up Krazy Straws with scissors. I felt like a lunatic. The reason? My kid threw then at me during a tantrum. We have a rule in our house: you throw it, you lose it. And for some reason, it wasn’t just enough to get rid of the Krazy Straw…I had to DESTROY it. Right there in front of her.Someone said to me the other day that she had said to her own mother, “I just worry that I’m screwing my kids up.” Her mother’s answer: “Of course you’re screwing them up. You’re just not doing it in the ways that you think.” But then I cut up Krazy Straws, and I think…”Hmmm. Actually, it’s probably in the way I think.” Why have I not read your blog before? Hilarious!

  31. I’m with Scylla (In more ways than one: Hi Misty!) and the many assorted others.I always think of these as my Momma Cat moments. You reach out a paw, claws sheathed and pop! Kitten changes their behavior, momma licks kitten and everyone goes about their day. Lesson learned.Remember that you love her and she knows it. No harm done.Parenting is tough enough as it is.

  32. have done it…yes.the good thing is that it’s only YOU who will remember…;) hugs.

  33. I’ve done that before too (only it was my son bopping the dog on the head). I felt like shit too.It is comforting tho, to hear other people talk about this stuff. Because when I do it I beat myself up over it for days afterward. But when I read about someone else doing it, I want to hug them and give them brownies because they are human and it happens sometimes.SO thanks for posting about this. You’re still an amazing mom. Please don’t beat yourself up over it. Just baked some brownies. Sounds like you could use one. I’m sending a virtual brownie your way. And a hug too.

  34. Can I be the 40th or so person to tell you we’ve all been there?I lost it with my son last week b/c he won’t let me brush his teeth properly. My husband had been working late nights and weekends for four weeks in a row. Leaving before we got up, coming home after bedtime. Sometimes not seeing us for two or three days at a time. and I had just HAD IT! There I was holding my little son down in his crib forcing a toothbrush in his mouth and yelling.I stopped myself and ran out of the room. I came back a few minutes later and cried and apologized and cried and apologized again. I’ll never forget how that felt and I think it will keep me from doing it again.Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just start over the next day, fresh and clean.

  35. Please don’t feel so bad, although I know there must be no way that you won’t feel bad. It was a involuntary reaction. Perfectly natural and no harm done. I am a survivor of childhood abuse – physical and emotional, and I can tell you there is absolutely no similarity between what you did and what is abuse. And there is a big difference between a parent with a bad temper and an abuser. Love yourself for the wonderful mother that you are!

  36. You have to feel like shit occasionally in order to realize what a wonderful mom you truly are.That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

  37. Sometimes the only way kids learn is when they have to experience the kind of behavior they’re dishing out. That said, you didn’t plan this response. It was, as you said, instinctive. You had/have a need to protect Sage from harm and you were addressing the act itself…not so much the person delivering it. I know you feel crappy about it. I would, too, but sometimes the most significant lessons come around in moments just like this. Hugs to you. And another one for Thalia.

  38. I’ve done that too. It’s the “protect the baby” instinct.Actually, it was probably for the best. Neither of you will do that again.

  39. God I hate when our animal instincts overpower our nurturing hearts… it’s like a kid sticking their finger in an outlet… “they will never do it again after getting that shock”- and so, I imagine you won’t either.Many many “been there myself” hugs for you…

  40. Unfortunately, I have to raise my hand and admit that I, too, have reacted like that on more than one occasion. I always apologize to my kids for losing my temper, and I always tell them that even when I am upset about their behavior, that I still love them no matter what. Please don’t be too hard on yourself, you are a great Mom!

  41. I so did this too. And I so felt like shit. It’s okay. Really, it is. It’s one moment out of 10 million good ones. But I get it, I do.

  42. I think when there is an infant involved, sometimes the protective instinct really is too overwhelming to control. Once when the old, fat, arthritic cat I used to have jumped right on top of my son, when he was just a month old, (and about half her weight) I picked her up and threw her clear across the room before I even knew what I had done. I could have picked her up and set her down, but no, I picked her up and HURLED her without a conscious thought; it was like it wasn’t even me hurling her; it was like she was being tossed across the room by the sheer force of my irrational rage. And then I immediately felt terrible, because she hadn’t meant to hurt him; she’d been purring. But it was my baby, damn it. She could have cracked his ribs.(The cat was fine, btw.)(Obviously cat does not equal child, but you didn’t toss Thalia across the room, either.)

  43. Without even reading through the other comments, I have a story for you too. My mom used to tell of my older sister, who was a biter when she was little. My mom finally got to where she’d had it, and one day when she was on the phone and my sister came up to her and bit her (on the arm? hand? lost in the mists of time!) my mother immediately dropped the phone and bit her back, on the arm. Tears all around, and the absolute end of the biting. My DD also was a biter when she was little, and I used to tell my DH that story. One day she had bitten him a couple of times, and he calmly turned to her and told her if she bit him again, he was going to bite her back, and she wouldn’t like it. She promptly came up to him and bit him on the butt (yes, really!) Whereupon he turned to her and bit her arm. Tears ensued, but no more biting ever occurred (he was right, she didn’t like it).Very occasionally, tit for tat can create the best learning experience.

  44. I smacked Hollis on the butt once. He ran away from me near a river in a crowd and I couldn’t find him. When I got him back I didn’t even think about it. I hugged him and then I smacked him on the butt. Then I cried. We’ve all been there. (((hugs)))

  45. Been there, done that. The good thing, for most of us, is that we learn from it. You’ll be fine. It took me a couple days to get over it though. Hang in there.

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