...or at least my latest worry.
M is growing. This is obviously a good thing from a health perspective. However, it also reminds me that with a growing stature also comes strength. Though my little man does have low muscle tone and little stamina, he is remarkably strong. His will seems to aid what his muscles may lack.
I am fortunate in that M is not what you would call an aggressive child; though this year has shown a bit of a testosterone increase that we had not witnessed prior to five.
He gets a look in his eye on occasion around his little brother and I know that he is about to pounce. I won't lie, B sometimes asks for it, and frankly it was a long time coming. But now, even though it is nice to see M sticking up for himself sometimes, it also concerns me. Because M lacks the ability to communicate appropriately with words--and because I don't think he really gets the fact that B is little and he really could hurt him--I find myself getting upset with him more than I probably should. I truly try my hardest to put the ownership of the problem on B if he pushed M too far unnecessarily. I don't want M to think I am always favoring his brother, but I fear I do not do a good enough job with this reassurance.
A few weeks ago M and B were sort of sloppily wrestling. Since I was in the midst of worrying that I put a stop to 'normal' brotherly play too quickly I let it go on for a moment. I wasn't really paying that close attention as they took their interaction to the couch, at which time B started screaming bloody murder. I looked closer to see that M had B's forearm clenched tightly in his teeth. I physically had to pry one child's mouth off of my other child's arm. B's flesh was the color of ground beef in the perfect shape of a mouth. I was horrified. So horrified that before I could address B's obvious pain I had to drag M to his room for an extended time out. He was hysterical and I still wonder if I did the right thing or not. I kept my cool as much as one could in such a situation and just kept telling him (between gritted teeth) that Mommy was very, very upset with him for biting his brother, and that was why he was going to spend quite a bit of quiet time in his room until he could rejoin us. I went back to his room every so often to remind him in the simplest terms a wordy girl like me could muster...'We don't bite. Ever.'
Three days later, as I was bent over, trying to wipe his bottom, and at the same time keep him from rubbing his hands on his tushy, he got angry and bit my side-- right under my rib cage. Both B and I still have slight marks from our bites. B reminds me still each and every day, 'M hurt my arm.'
It sucks. It sucks royally. I know why he's taken to biting. (and I also know we are very, very lucky to have only been on the receiving end of such a behavior twice) He is frustrated because he can't communicate to us properly. His expressive speech has improved somewhat over the past month or so. There are more, spontaneously appropriate utterances; and yet, there is clearly so much more in that beautiful brain of his that he CAN'T tell us but really and truly wants to.
Tonight we went out to dinner with a friend and her son. M was perfect at dinner, as he so often is at a restaurant. However, when we were leaving he adamantly refused to step off the sidewalk and climb into our car. I had one hand holding his cup, my keys, and our leftovers, which left me with one one hand to control him. It just wasn't happening. Thankfully I had someone else there to make sure that B didn't run out into the parking lot. M was very, very upset, but I had no idea why. I still am not quite sure, though his sour tummy after we got home may have been the culprit.
My child is 5.5 years old. He weighs 45 pounds. What will I do when he weighs 145 pounds? How will I get him from point A to point B? I have no freaking clue and that scares the living crap out of me. It horrifies me to think of the what if's that could occur in the future. We already deal with stares over negative public behaviors because M doesn't look like he is different on the surface. Can you imagine if I was struggling with a teenager--or worse, a grown man--in public this way? Would someone think he was hurting me? Would they hurt him in turn? Will someone call the police? Will they take him away from me??
And so all I can do is send yet another plea out to the universe: Please, please help my little boy. Help his body to feel more sound and his mouth to find his voice. Help him to remain the sweet-natured, loving boy that I know him to be, and give him the means to deal with his emotions in a rational manner.
I don't ever want to get to a point where I cannot remain his caretaker. The thought is too much to bear, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn't one that has crossed my mind.
I know how lucky we are. M is generally a gentle, sweet, old-soul of a child. I sometimes have to remind myself of the things I am blessed with rather than letting the thoughts of what I don't have overwhelm me and send me into self pity.