Little Dude, oh Little Dude, you are not going to grow up to be a serial killer – so quit acting like it.
PJ went through this same phase… the biting Mama, petting the cat harder, HaRdEr, HARDER, then swinging your foot “accidentally” at the dog, phase. Or, what I unfortunately think of as, the budding psycho killer phase.
It freaked me out A LOT when PJ did this stuff. It is when we first started doing time-outs with her, months before her second birthday (when most experts agree a kid actually starts to understand time-outs.)
Mostly the time-outs were for me and the animals. Although PJ did seem to understand the consequences and why wouldn’t she? These same experts all agree, experimenting with hurting the animals and Mama is about exploring cause-and-effect. And a time-out is about cause-and-effect. So maybe it wasn’t such a rookie move on my part. Regardless, we are also starting to do time-outs with Little Dude.
The time-outs for Little Dude are different. With PJ we put her in her crib (I know, I know, not an appropriate place for a time-out). With Little Dude he just has to sit on the floor in the living room with his back against the couch. When he sits there he looks so contrite (and so damn cute). And this seems to give him and me the space we need without adding any challenges to our attachment efforts.
What I hate most about this phase is the look Little Dude gets on his face when he is about to do something naughty to the animals. (I honestly can’t remember if PJ got a similar look or not.) The look is one of glee. I know it means he just got my attention – which he wanted. And he is feeling powerful – an important and rare thing at 20 months. I know he is too young to understand compassion and empathy. But I hate it. Hate the look. Hate the phase. HA-A-A-TE IT.
I am sure there will be many, many other difficult times while my children are growing up. But this phase, where my beloved, tolerant,
not-as-housetrained-as-they-should-be pets are being badgered is really tough on them. And it is really tough on me.