Monday, September 5, 2011

Destructo Baby

Hallie is remarkably gentle when she pets animals and combs my hair. Hallie is remarkably destructive when she does ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ELSE.

Hallie hits members of her family, her toys, the furniture, the walls – anything within reach, really – when she’s even a bit bothered.

And even when she’s not bothered, Hallie rips the eyes off stuffed animals and dolls and pulls the heads and extremities off Will’s superheroes. She throws toys out the window of the car, jumps up and down on board games, and walks on books.

Oh, the books. The poor, poor books in our house. Nearly from birth, Will was as gentle with books as a child could possibly be. He graduated from board books around his first birthday and has literally never torn – accidentally or on purpose – a page of a book. Will used to insist that we check ripped books out from the library so that we could take them home, repair them, and return them to the library in better condition.

Hallie, on the other hand, destroys an average of three to four books a week. And we’re not talking about simple, easily-reparable rips; Hallie tears book pages into 20 or 30 teeny, tiny pieces. She then brings me the books and the 20 or 30 teeny, tiny pieces and boldly states, "You fits (fix) it, Mama." As if, Hallie. I'm not a miracle worker.

You’re probably pretty worried about Hallie, and about what kind of child and adolescent Hallie will become, after hearing all this. You can bet I’ve done my fair share of worrying about her. There’s a positive in all this though, and that’s that, with the exception of the hitting – which is pretty normal two-year-old behavior – none of Hallie’s destructive behavior is done out of malice or in anger. I actually think she’s just incredibly curious about how things work, and what happens when things are taken apart.

It’s because I believe she’s not out for blood that I was able to forgive her for this:

Day 1

Day 2

That’s right, folks. Hallie broke my toe. (I wish I would have taken a picture on day four or five - that's when it looked REALLY good.)

I’ve broken seven toes (competitive soccer was not kind to my feet), so this, my eighth broken toe, wasn’t really a big deal to me. I treated it as my nurse-mom used to instruct me to do when I was in high school: take Ibuprofen and put ice on it. Thankfully, 24 days post-break, the bruising is gone and the swelling and pain are almost gone.

My goal in the coming months is to (continue to) teach Hallie to treat books, toys, and people a little more tenderly – I certainly don’t need another broken toe!

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