Thursday, October 30, 2008

"There was a little bit of blood in my ear"

That's what 3B reported to us this morning. Although we were able to reassure him this morning that he no longer has any blood in his ear, when Mama went to get him after his nap earlier this week, his ear was full of dried blood.

She was able to clean it up enough to see that it came from a small scratch in his ear, which was probably self-inflicted by 3B's razor blade fingernails. Of course, he wouldn't let her completely clean out his ear, so I got to do that during bath time.

Ever tried to pour water into a rambunctious toddler's ear?

So that was fun. It was also fun to try and cut his fingernails. I managed to get two trimmed by myself. Mama and I were able to work together and get the rest cut, which means that I was able to distract 3B somewhat while Mama cut his other eight fingernails. 3B now knows that "You cut the white part."

It's a good thing too, since he was starting to look like he'd been in a fight with a pack of angry cats. I had started a serious search for a good cutman.

Overall, it's been a long week for everyone, especially 3B, who is doing well handling going back to school and Mrs. K's and not being able to walk through the forest and fields. Perhaps that's because I was able to repair the broken necks on his ukulele and guitar.

But he has reached his limits at times, like coming home from Mrs. K's after not napping all day.

Although we've been getting plenty done as we try to settle back into our home, we weren't fast enough with the fingernail cutting to prevent 3B from slicing open my cheek as he pinched me in anger on the way to the car. I have to admit that my immediate reaction was not nearly as good as Mama's. Startled, I yelled, "No! That really hurt Daddy! Ow!"

When we came around the corner to the car, where Mama was, she ran over dramatically, and made a big show of fussing over my owie, and how bad it was. I honestly didn't know how bad it was, other than that it was bleeding, so I handed 3B to Mama to buckle in while I looked in the mirror.

Of course, with a face like mine, a small scar would only be an improvement.

As I've looked back on it, and as 3B has continued to talk about this event, I realize that it would have been far more effective for me to react like Mama did--by focusing on the hurt, and by showing how hurt I was rather than showing anger. This is something we've talked about doing and are trying to practice more often--showing concern for the person hurt rather than paying attention, even negative attention, to the person doing the hurting. Only, this time, my anger just popped right up.

Anger assumes that there's someone to blame, and focuses the reaction on that rather than on the root of the problem--the hurt that person caused. Reacting by just showing my hurt focuses on what's wrong and what can be corrected. 3B can see the hurt, apologize for it, and learn not to hurt. So much for my nonviolent parenting. Hopefully I can get it right next time.

Mama's reaction seems to have worked well though, judging by 3B's reaction. However, it hasn't kept him from continuing to hurt himself, which is how he woke up this morning with a huge scab on the bridge of his nose just in time for his first school photo day.

This is after we cleaned it up...

At least it's not filling his ear...although, that wouldn't show up in a photo...

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:


  1. At least we know which candidate the boy supports. Maybe they have retake day at school.

    I worked on it for a long time before the kids would believe me that I would hurt the fingers less if they would just hold still. In fear of the pain, they would pull the finger away, which would cause me to pinch harder when I pulled it back. Now they do their own, something you can look forward to someday.

  2. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Somehow I've never had trouble trimming my kids' nails. Perhaps because it always fell to me, because at first Anthropapa was scared of cutting them, and now he's too farsighted or some such excuse.

    My girl always gets scabs on her nose in that exact place, or right by her eye, when I don't notice she needs a trim.

    It's hard not to react with anger when you get physically hurt as opposed to other kid behaviors. It seems so automatic that it's hard to prevent.

  3. Nail cutting was always my job. As they get older, I would let them cut their toes and when that went well I would let them move on to their fingers. Then to cover things up, we now paint them pretty colors, well not the boy fingers any more, just the girl ones. There was lots of yelling and screaming, like that near death scream that I was hoping the neighbors wouldn't hear, but nice short nails in the end. Now I just point out that if they don't get cut soon, we will have to paint them and call you a girl, and the screaming has stopped too. (13 years later)

    I think that pictures need to reflect the true person, blemishes and all. Little scabs on the bridge of the nose, so you can tell that story for years to come. With perfection comes a very boring childhood. I know we had pictures with faded writing on a young swimmer's arms because the picture appointment was the day after a swim meet. Try not to cover up who we really are, instead let it shine through.

  4. #3 says, "What a cute cousin I have." hearts