Saturday, January 21, 2012
the slap heard round the nursery
I'm horrified at myself. The partner and I see no reason for physical punishment. What does a slap or a spank really solve, besides inspire fear? There are better ways to address negative behavior. And here I am, slapping my baby.
Here's how it went down: We were laying on the bed, and she was nursing. I was daydreaming about something- I don't remember, probably imagining taking a nap or a hot bath or something relaxing like that.
All of a sudden, there was a hard bite on my already sore nipple. I reacted without thinking. My hand flew out, and slapped her little cheek, much like you might do when you suddenly feel a mosquito biting you or hear it buzz suddenly in your ear. Bite- automatic reaction- slap.
Immediately after it happened, I gasped. The sound of flesh slapping flesh resonated in the air. I swear I heard an echo. I couldn't believe what I had just done. What had she really done wrong? It was just a bite, after all. Had I scarred her emotionally, irrevocably? Would this slap be burned into her psyche forever? Would we find ourselves in group therapy in twenty years as I tearfully explain to her that it was just an automatic reaction? Would the therapist accuse me of hiding behind excuses and justifications?
Perhaps I might have felt even worse if she had started whimpering or crying after the slap. No- Baby S started laughing and smiling. Am I raising some sort of masochistic role player? A sociopath that delights in being bad? I certainly hope not.
Jeez, parenting is difficult. The emotional roller coasters and what-ifs are enough to drive a mama batty.