Tuesday, April 07, 2009

We Had an Altercation OR Atta Girl

You get to pick the title for today's entry.

Last week, I was met at the door by the babysitter (we'll call her D) when I went to pick Emily up after work. As usual, Em came running at me shouting, "Mommy!" and then D was quick to fill me in that there'd been an "altercation" earlier in the day.

An altercation? Hmmm, interesting. My gears started turning... Who was it this time? Certainly it wasn't my little angel.

D is very good at telling us about things that happen throughout the day. She understands our kids very well and knows that they "talk" about their day with their parents and that they might not always get the facts straight... especially when the aforementioned kids don't have a good grasp on vocabulary yet... especially Emily who uses a combination of words, signs and pantomiming to get her points across.

Yeah, yeah, you don't care... you just want me to get to the point of the altercation, don't ya?

So, back to my story. D informed me that she and the kids were reading books and the kids were taking turns getting books and bringing them to her. Emily had gone to the shelf, picked out a book and a little boy (we'll call him J) not only took her book from her, but pushed her to the ground, sat on her and then proceeded to scream at her in his very high-pitched scream (which he knows scares her). D said that Em was shouting at him and saying, "No! No! No!" and when he wouldn't stop or get up, Em hit him. During all of this, D was trying to get the little boy to stop and to get off of Em and was also trying to get other kids and books off her lap so she could go split them up. She said as soon as Em hit him, she had a look of panic, that she knew what she did was wrong... but D didn't feel right punishing Em for defending herself.

The little boy did get disciplined and Em sat on D's lap and they talked about why it wasn't nice of J to do what he did and she asked Em if she knew that it wasn't nice to hit. She said that Em absolutely understood it but that it definitely stressed her out and she was more intraverted the rest of the day.

The next morning, Emily went to speech therapy and as we were pulling away from there she kept repeating, "D's, no. D's, no." until I figured out what she was referring to and asked if she was afraid to go to D's. She said she was and when I asked if she was afraid of J, she said "yes" to that as well. I talked with her for the next 5-10 minutes as we drove to D's and told her some things to do if J was acting mean. (Go to D, play with someone else, play in another room, etc.) She was still pretty clingy when we got there and I stayed with her a little longer than I normally do. Before long she was back to playing with the other kids like she normally does and all seemed well with the world again.

Overall, I think Em handled herself pretty well and did the only thing she could do at the time. She seems to be over the initial fear of what happened, but over the weekend while reading some new Dr. Seuss books with Tom she seemed to be overly obsessed with the "mean fish" in "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish". She wanted to keep talking about it, wouldn't let him turn the page, wanted to show me the mean fish and wanted me to talk about it.

One thing's for sure and we've seen this with so many other situations with Em. She's fairly quick to forgive, but she doesn't forget... ever.

1 comment:

Connie said...

Sounds like you & Tom (as well as Emily, bless her little heart!) handled this as well as was possible. I've come to believe that self-defense is OK. Sometimes flight or avoidance invite further intimidation. Giving Emily other options is always helpful. She's not only a smart little girl, but she seems to have good common sense.

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