Baby Bully

Rocco does this thing lately that is ripping my heart out.  It started a couple weeks ago when I was reading him a book in the nursery and Vincenzo came over, as he often does, to join us. Rocco yelled, “ENH!  ENNNHHH!” and physically shoved Vincenzo away.

It’s gotten worse over the weeks; now Rocco starts yelling and being physical as soon as Vincenzo walks into the nursery, or when he comes in the kitchen after he’s first woken up.  Rocco settles down after the initial ENH! and shove, but I could really do without either.  I make sure that Rocco gets some alone time with me each day, but it seems he wants the whole day to be alone with me.

I have an arsenal of peace-keeping tactics I draw from during these instances.

I tell Rocco it’s okay for brother to be here.  We share Mama.
I say, “No push.” 
I tell Rocco, “Be kind,”
I say, “There’s enough of me for both of you.” 
I help Rocco sign “sorry” to Vincenzo and ask if he’s okay. 
I say, “Brother loves you.” 
I say, “Rocco loves Brother.”

I don’t say them all at once, every time, but I’ve had lots of chances over the past few weeks to get the message across.  We love each other.  We are always kind.  We share.

A year ago, Vincenzo was Rocco’s hero.  The minute his big brother walked in the room, Rocco’s eyes were on him like white on rice.  No one could make the baby laugh like Vincenzo could.  Vincenzo took pride in that.

Vincenzo has handled the rejections pretty well for a kid who says “ow” when your bathrobe accidentally brushes by him in the hallway.  But last night, when Vincenzo walked into the bathroom where I was helping Rocco take a bath and the ENH-ing started up, he looked at me sadly and said, “Rocco only loves you and Dad.  He doesn’t love me.”

I hugged my oldest son and told him Rocco does love him; he’s just going through an independent phase.  He still thinks Vincenzo is the funniest person alive.  He’ll grow out of it.  We’ll keep teaching Rocco how to be kind and in a week or two they’ll be buddies again.

Now I’ve just got to convince myself of the same thing.

Spaghetti and meatballs
Salad with oranges, craisins, and toasted almonds
One-bowl chocolate cake


3 thoughts on “Baby Bully

  1. Wow, you sure captured the “enhhh” perfectly. Graham is starting to do the same thing. Here’s to hoping it won’t last long for either of us.

  2. I know that is so hard. I remember the period of time where Lexi first realized that Madison was potential competition for toys and time. I promise it gets better – slowly but surely. For me, Ifound that it helped immensely when I stopped making it so big and showing my emotions about it. When Lexi would get upset withasison I would still neutrally say one of your above comments and usually something along the lines of, “Bummer, I really wanted us all to play together.” Then I would proceed to start playing with Madison and lightly asking Lexi if she’d like to join us. I tried to switch the focus to if she would like to share and act nicely then we could all play together. That way the reward for cooperative behavior was that she got to play with me too as opposed to the negative consequence of hurting Madison’s feelings (which I decided was a concept beyond her understanding at that age). The changes happened fairly quickly after I figured that out. They’ll figure it out and if you let Vincenzo in on the new plan then maybe he will feel better knowing that he’s working with you to help. Good luck – the hardest part is not letting them see that it rips your heart out.

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