New Mama Musings

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

When Babies Attack

There's a dark underbelly to this mothering business that no woman ever discusses: the tiny human who needs you the most sometimes treats you the worst.

I'm not talking about the strain of pregnancy, or the agony and ecstasy of labor and delivery.

I'm talking about when babies attack.

Henry is a very loving, cuddly, sweet little guy, but he has a few habits I could live without.

One of them involves his index finger and my toes. Have you ever had someone repeatedly, no matter how often you say "no" or how diligently you move your feet, stick their finger in between your toes? I think the only reason people were put on the rack in medieval times is that they never thought of the "toddler-sticking-his-finger-in-between-your-toes" method of torture.

And then there's the frantic burrowing into me in the middle of the night when Henry wants to nurse. Yes, I know you want to breastfeed. Yes, I'm trying to pull up my shirt, unhook my bra, and expose the boob so you can latch on. But I can't do that if you keep bulldozing your arms and head into my body.

Also, while I appreciate that Henry is an affectionate baby, sometimes he takes it a little too far. Occasionally, in an insane person's version of kissing, he likes to lunge at my face with an open mouth, all sharp teeth and glistening drool. Even when I try to move away to avoid the onslaught, he just keeps on coming. It's like "Jaws," only with babies.

Have I mentioned the pinching? Henry finds it very interesting how my skin lumps up into a little hill when he pinches it together. Very, very interesting.

Along with the pinching, I'm sorry to report, comes the smacking. In the face. Repeatedly.

But the worst insult of all, the one that gives me nightmares, is the biting. Sure, he's only broken the skin once or twice. And yeah, he's usually only trying to nip my clothing and gets me accidentally. But goddamn, it's annoying to be thinking how sweet it is that your kid is hugging your leg while you wash the dishes, only to have him bite you in the back of the thigh.

I know, developmentally speaking, Henry doesn't realize that what he's doing hurts me. And I know that there's not much I can do about it beyond saying the obligatory "be gentle" and then distracting him.

But sometimes it's just not easy being the bigger person.


  • He's not *biting* you at 2 AM, is he?? I shouldn't laugh, but the index-finger-in-the-toes had me giggling. I know this sounds stereotypical and sexist, but it really seems like boys tend to do this more than girls. Not ALL boys and ALL girls, of course. I know one 11 month old boy who is the sweetest thing on earth ... he makes my M look like a raging bully, and she makes him cry on a regular basis! But my other friend's 13 month old son reaches up and rakes his nails across her face when he's mad at her (occurs frequently during diaper changes). Ouch! I get the occasional nip, slap and pinch from M (she especially loves to pinch my moles and nipples), but overall it's not too bad. I am counting my (small) blessings!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:19 PM  

  • "rakes his nails across her face when he's mad at her"

    Just for clarification: His mother's face. Not M's!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:19 PM  

  • No, he doesn't bite at 2am, thank god. I tweaked my blog entry to clarify that. ;)

    By Blogger True Mama, at 10:07 PM  

  • My Kaia bites me at 2am and all hours of the day and night when nursing. Then she sits right up, looks into my eyes, and says "OW". I haven't experienced the pinching or scratching yet though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:26 AM  

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