Saturday, 27 April 2014: One Year, Three Weeks and Four Days Old.
Ayla got her first ever smack on the hand today; it didn’t hurt, she didn’t cry and it was an absolute last resort.
Ayla and I were at the airport saying goodbye to her Grandma, and there was a guy sitting on the couch behind us.
Ayla discovered that he was there and somehow thought it would be fun to hit him as hard as she could on his back, his shoulders and neck.
At first I tried distraction; turning Ayla around and showing her other things to look at and play with, but she kept returning to her “hitting the strange man” game.
Then I tried removal; moving Ayla off the couch completely and putting her on the floor, but after a couple of minutes Ayla returned to standing and cried to be picked up.
Then I tried ignoring; hoping that Ayla would find the whole game boring if no one was watching, but instead her hits on the poor man got harder and more determined.
Then I tried restraining; catching Ayla’s little hands mid hit, looking her in the eye and telling her no.
But instead of looking apologetic Ayla kept throwing her head back , shutting her eyes, pursing her lips and scrunching her nose in what was the cheekiest, most undeniably defiant expression I’ve ever seen.
So with no other places to sit in the airport, a cheeky little devil on a mission of violence beside me, and still twenty minutes til boarding time, I had to come up with a new approach.
The next time Ayla went to hit the man I grabbed her hand, told her no (again) and said that if she did it again she’d get a smack on the hand.
Ayla did it again.
I took hold of her hand calmly and said that I’d asked her not to do that. Then I smacked her little hand and said no.
My heart cracked and I felt instantly guilty, Ayla looked at me wide-eyed for a second and then pulled her cheeky face!
I couldn’t believe she was being so obviously naughty and I had no idea what options I had left. I was spewing that’d I’d pulled out my trump card to no avail!
Then miraculously Ayla turned away from the man, sat down and asked to be put on the ground, where she sat happily playing with her Grandma’s suitcase for the remainder of our time together.