“What are we? Humans? Or animals? Or savages?” – LOTF
My kids tried to kill each other last night. In the shower.
Sam and Max are like most boys. Two years apart in age, they play with the same toys and the same friends. They conspire together and wrestle in the family room. They get mad at one another and scream, “You’re so mean!” on a regular basis. They turn selfish and refuse to share toys and elbow each other when I’m not looking.
They’ve never hurt one another, though. That is, until last night.
They were in the shower (yes, they’re still young enough to shower together) and I was in the other room. I heard them laughing and screeching (yes, they’re still young enough to screech). Sam’s laughter morphed into a cry and my Mom ears knew it was a cry of pain.
I ran into the bathroom, pulled the shower curtain back, a la Psycho, and saw watery blood running down Sam’s chest. He had a scratch from his collarbone to his stomach. He was screaming that his face hurt – It burns! It burns! His face? I hadn’t noticed his face. All I could do was stare in disbelief at his chest and at Max, who stared in disbelief at Sam too.
“Did you do this?!” I yelled?
“Did you DO this?!” Again.
“Yes, but he scratched me first!”
Boys out of shower. Inspect Sam. Clean scratches. Clean up dog pee because during all this mayhem Emma peed in the kitchen. Yell. Threaten severe punishment. Yell some more.
Hold back tears.
Sam had two raised scratches down both cheeks, like streaks of tears that wouldn’t go away. Max broke the skin over Sam’s eye, starting at the inside the corner down to his cheek. Did he scratch Sam’s cornea? God, I hope not.
What was I supposed to do now? Never had my kids hurt each other. Never had they drawn blood. I couldn’t believe that Max, the happiest kid on Earth could do this to his big brother. Sam is the one with the temper. But Max? No way. Couldn’t be.
Was I making a bigger deal of this than necessary? I mean, they’re boys for God’s sake. They’re bound to fight. Right?
I’d been in some pretty bad scuffles with my brother as a kid. Once, he smacked my head so hard he knocked me out of my chair. I threw the 7-pound cordless phone at him. Another time he pissed me off so I chucked a pencil at. His. Face. The lead embedded in his skin under his eye and I’m pretty sure if you look closely you can still see it. I was a thrower, apparently.
But this was new territory for me. I’d never dealt with this as a Mom.
The boys dressed in their pajamas, hiccuping sobs as I lectured them. I made them hug each and not let go. When they started to pull away, I said, “Keep hugging.” I made them look at each other the whole time and say, “You are my big brother and I’m sorry for hurting you.” “You are my little brother and I’m sorry for hurting you.”
Max felt terrible. He was wailing alone in his room. I told him to get in bed and that I would not sing to him. He cried harder.
Twenty minutes passed and I checked on both boys. Sam was awake, but quiet. Max looked like he was asleep. I closed his door behind me and his wailing and incomprehensible talking started again. I opened his door and asked, “Max, what are you saying?”
He ran into my arms. “I just want a hug and a kiss. I can’t sleep unless I get a hug and a kiss.”
I lifted my son into my arms and held him. He clung to me like a baby chimp.
Before they fell asleep, I talked with each of my boys.
“Don’t ever do anything like this again. Even though I’m very upset with you, I love you more than anything in this world.” They both cried and hugged me.
I’m not raising Drama Queens, I swear. I’m enough Drama Queen for both of them. Though, I’m surprised at how emotional I feel about this. My kids hurt each other. This is a complete Momination.
They’re both grounded. I’ve banned them from playing with friends and each other. I want them to know what it feels like to not have each other around, to feel lonely and bored without each other’s company.
How do you handle it when you’re kids physically hurt one another?