Yesterday was a little sad.
It’s funny how you have this instinct to want to protect your children from everything possible. Of course, that’s not possible, but you make a silent vow the moment your little one enters the world. You vow to always keep them safe (to the best of your ability) and to always assure them of how much they are loved.
Let’s face it. I cannot always protect my children.
A few weeks ago, Addie fell down the stairs. (gasp!) I know, wth was I doing that I missed that? Oh, just putting homework in folders for school. I had my eyes off of her for about 30 seconds because I “thought” she was playing with her puzzles and I “thought” she did not yet know how to climb stairs. She was fine, it was a wake up call for myself to never stop paying attention, and she learned not to climb the stairs without Mommy. Yes, her perfect little world now had a blemish and it was ultimately my fault for not watching her as closely as I should have been.
But yesterday Addie had a different type of sad experience. She experienced another child being mean to her. She was in the child care room at my gym and a child bit her. Like, really bit her. On her little face. She learned about cruelty yesterday. It’s hard, because you never want to experience someone hurting your child. My initial reaction was, “who bit her?” which the staff (who are wonderful women) aren’t allowed to disclose. Why? I wondered the same thing! Then I realized that if I knew who bit her, I would instinctively hold a grudge against this kid forever. I’d probably give him or her a dirty look every time I say him or her, because she tarnished the perfect little world my baby lives in. I’d probably want to yell at his or her mother and tell her to teach her child to be kind and of all things, never to bite a baby. I’d probably “accidentally” park next to her and slam my car door into her’s. Ok, ok, I’m kidding. I would never do anything like that! I’m passive aggressive, but that would just be classless.
So after a few deep breaths, some sighs of mom guilt and thinking “I would have never let that happen,” (haha, yea, says the same mom who let her baby fall down the stairs,) I came to a few realizations. This child, whoever it is, is just that, a child. This child is not some evil spawn of Satan, like my motherly instincts would instantly assume. He or she is just a kid who bites. We’ve all known biters. This child is no worse than my child who throws rocks and “accidentally” hits his cousin in the head. (Yea, that happened.) Kids are kids. They’re not perfect. They don’t understand self control and it is a long, painful, embarrassing (for the parents) road until they get there. I’m sure the kid will never remember the terrible thing he or she did because it wasn’t pre-meditated. It wasn’t like that kid went into the room looking for a child to target. The kid is just a biter. In the future, however, I hope he or she doesn’t bite my baby on her face.
I also know how quickly things happen, even when you’re watching. I never blamed the staff in the room for “letting” it happen. I know it was not their fault. I cannot begin to count the bruises and bleeding that have occurred on my watch. It would have happened eventually. I was bit by a dog. Dog, kid, what’s the difference? Biters are fast, and let’s face it-you never are waiting for a kid to chomp on someone else’s face.
So although my little baby learned that all in the world is not smiles, rainbows, and butterflies, she is still her sweet little self today. And best of all, she still smiled at every complete stranger that she saw this morning, which assures me that she does not, now believe the world is an evil place. She still is her outgoing, happy little self. The part that saddened me the most is that this was just the first time, in a lifetime of experiences to come, that someone will hurt my little girl.
I almost feel bad for the man that will break her heart someday. If I could go to the future and warn him to stay far away from Addie I would. Because it won’t be myself rationalizing the acts of children, it will be her father straightening that boy out. If you could have seen how mad he was someone bit her….oh I hope that boy never comes!