Saturday, July 17, 2010

I need to call DFACS on my kid

DFACS - Department of Family & Children Services

The agency that protects the economic and social well-being of families. And protects children and adults from violence - from other adults.

Which department protects the mom & dad from their child's violence?

I could worry myself sick over Amelia's behavior. Yes, she's two years old. Yes, I know tantrums are normal. I know she has difficulty handling emotions. And a serious dislike for the word "no". But Steve and I have more scratches and bruises on us than we care to count. It is unacceptable.

Today, Amelia and I were at the mall. She didn't want to leave the play area, but it was time to go. She had 5 minutes of ample warning to get psyched up to depart. Did it help? Oh did not. She threw herself on the ground and screamed. I gave her a minute, but when she didn't calm down, I picked her up and carried her out. Her response? She slapped me across the face so hard it made three people near us gasp in horror.

Two days ago, Amelia ran towards the street. Instead of stopping when we yelled to her, she laughed and kept on going. Steve picked her up and brought her inside. What did he get? A bleeding eyelid! (Yes, apparently your eyelid can bleed. And it's not pretty.)

About a week ago, Amelia pulled my hair so furiously that I was screaming in pain. Steve had to come to my rescue and pry her nasty little fingers apart.

What breaks my heart is that these are not the only examples. Amelia hits, pulls hair, and pinches on a daily basis. This behavior seems to be directed entirely at her parents (lucky us). Thank goodness she doesn't do it to kids... but I REALLY don't want to suffer anymore.

Timeout doesn't work unless we bring her to her room where she can be closed in by the gate. But to get her to timeout, we have to carry her - and suffer the wrath of those flailing arms and fingernails. And if we're in public, there is nowhere to secure her. The car, maybe - but again, flailing arms and vicious fingernails. We've begun to spank her (and explain afterwards why we had to do so, and how it's different than hitting from anger). I don't think she understands that, either. We've tried ignoring the behavior, but when 1/3 of my hair is about to be ripped from the follicles, I definitely can not ignore it.

To be fair, Amelia has her share of adorable, sweet moments. For the most part, she is a funny and energetic kid. She takes care of her stuffed animals with a gentle touch and soft voice. She does the same for me sometimes. But those moments of anger can take an otherwise wonderful day of togetherness and erase it from my mind.

I know I won't be getting any mommy-of-the-year awards. I have a lot to learn. But I try to show love and respect to Amelia at all times. I try to be consistent with my rules. Have I done something so wrong to cause this violent behavior? Or did I just manage to give birth to a bloodthirsty little monster? I'm seriously terrified that she's messed up. And even more terrified that I did something to cause it.

Is there a boarding school for 2-year olds?
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