With the way Holden has reacted to my pregnancy thus far- I thought we pretty much had it made as far as how he would treat his little brother. He’s protective, he’s sweet, he’s caring… but I suppose the part I forgot was that he is all those things to my stomach, not an actual baby.
Even though he knows where his brother is if you ask him, he’ll tell you his brother’s name (only the first syllable, so don’t get your hopes up), he’ll give his brother kisses.. he seems to understand his brother is a baby- I don’t think he 100% grasps the full concept.
How Holden reacts to other children seems to vary from day to day and child to child. There are some he completely ignores, some he stares at, some he wants to snuggle and kiss, and then there’s about 50% that he seems to want to roughhouse with. He still hasn’t figured out that he’s MUCH stronger than other children, and that they don’t appreciate roughhousing as much as he does. That’s always been my main concern- that he’ll pull what my brother did and just start beating on his little brother as soon as he comes home from the hospital because he doesn’t realize it isn’t fun for everyone else.
Yesterday we went to visit some friends of ours who just had a baby a few weeks ago. This was the perfect test run to see how Holden would act around a tiny little infant. Sure, he’s been around kids a little bit younger than him- but I don’t think he’s EVER been around a newborn… not since he was a newborn.
It was going swimmingly at first. I’d ask him where the baby was, he’d point. I asked him to go say hi, he’d wave. Didn’t want to give any snuggles or any kisses.. but that may have been due to the fact that he was in someone else’s house, which meant ALL kinds of un-baby proofed things to tear through and couches to jump on.. and two dogs that scared the piss out of him (literally).
The only problem seemed to be that he wanted to play on ALL of the baby’s toys. Tried to climb in the bouncy chair.. which i’m pretty sure would have broken under the weight of his massive ass, tried to push around the swing.. wanted to play with all of the toys. The thought of him wanting to mess with baby stuff had crossed my mind but I hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into it until now. That could definitely pose a problem.. probably another reason to get this house in order and the nursery set up so he can have time to learn that his little brother’s things are not things he can play with.
After a little warming up, he started to become interested in the baby- and very sweetly so. He wanted to touch her legs and her hair.. and was surprisingly gentle about it. Then he gave her a little smooch- and I thought “SCORE!”- that is exactly how I want him to be with his brother. Curious is not a problem, i’d be surprised if he didn’t poke & prod, but he didn’t hit and that was the main goal.
Everything was great until after dinner. I’m not sure if it’s that he was getting tired, too worked up, over-stimulated or what.. but he started getting way too aggressive and even balled a fist up and tried to whack at the baby’s head. Luckily her mama was holding her and has quick reflexes. Holden did not appreciate being told no, or being reprimanded in the slightest and it was basically all downhill from there. Mega-brat all the way around.
It’s not that I think he’s purposely trying to hurt other kids when he acts that way, I just don’t think he knows that it’s painful no matter how many times I tell him it is or how many times he gets in trouble for pulling that kind of crap.
I’d do what my other friends have done when about to pop a 2nd child out when they still have a toddler in the house and buy a doll so Holden could have some ‘practice’ time watching me hold another ‘baby’ and maybe learn to be more gentle… but knowing Holden as well as I do- he’d know it was a doll and try to tear it out of my arms constantly so that he could drag it around the house and snuggle/play with it.. which I know he’d never do with an actual baby. He always knows the difference between fake and real. We even gave him a REAL cellphone without the battery in it, and the kid knows it doesn’t work and goes after the working ones. Too perceptive for his own good.
So now I have to rethink ways to try and adapt him before i’m really able to adapt him to his new brother. He’s gentle with the cats now, although it took a while.. but I didn’t care as much when he body slammed a kitty as much as i’ll care if he tries to body slam a newborn.
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