Kendall likes to hit himself… in the face, and sometimes he follows that up by bashing his head against the wall, doors, floor, etc. I especially love how after he freaks the fuck out on himself he looks at me, as if to say, “See what YOU made me dooooo!!” Yes, it is totally my fault that you just slammed your head into the pantry door when I wouldn’t give you that second helping of Goldfish. Totally.
At first glance it seems this is all brought on by a fit of uncontrollable rage that takes over his body and mind, leaving him no choice but to abuse himself and to run into walls on purpose, but upon deeper investigation I have found that this is all very calculated, and there is indeed a method to his madness. Exhibit A being the careful manner in which he looks over one shoulder while sitting on the ground in the process of throwing his head back mid tantrum. See, the boy is smart and still has his wits about him. He’s checking to make sure he’s not going to end up smacking his head atop a toy truck or the corner of a wall. Then he lowers his head, but does it in such a dramatic way that you think you are watching the whole episode in slow motion, you know, sort of like The Matrix.
I mentioned how at his 18 month checkup he smashed his head into a giant mirror on the wall in front of the nurse. It was exactly like when that chick in Disturbing Behavior (bad late 90s movie with Katie Holmes, long before she was ever part of TomKat) smashes her head in the mirror, with the same intent and intensity. I was actually really worried he might have cracked the mirror. Then I followed it up by asking the nurse (who was SHOCKED and let her mouth hang open maybe a little too long) if that was “normal”. She didn’t answer, but instead just raised her eyebrows and typed something on her laptop. Great.
Good news is the pediatrician said it was normal. I mean, I guess that’s good news. She basically told me what my mom’s been telling me for a while, that he is doing it out of frustration and as a way of trying to communicate because he can’t find the words to tell me what he wants (she also told me the pea sized lump under his skin on his forehead is most likely scar tissue from the repeated beatings he’s taken to that particular area).
I think that’s sort of crap considering 1. I speak his super secret language of 30 words that mostly sound a lot like “ass” pretty well. My husband looks to me to translate all the time.
“Ahoose” = juice
“AsssAh” = outside
“Ahhhhs” = bath
“Ahhwah” = Dora
“blahlablah” = Elmo
“Oof”= earth (which is really the moon, but we can’t seem to explain to him that we are standing on earth, not looking at it in the sky… the solar system mural in his room is really screwing with his perception of reality)
“foof” = fruit
“BALL!” = Football!! Give it to me now!! Let’s run! Now chase me!!! TOUCHDOWN!
And 2. I don’t speak slap, nor have I ever let on that I do. Really, where in evolution did young humans learn the super cool ability to hit themselves as a form of communication? Not effective anymore.
So anytime I see him start to hit himself I make it a point to get down on his level, look him in the eyes and calmly ask him to “use his words” or point and show me what he wants. He smiles, asks for me to pick him up, then does something like pointing to the Goldfish and saying, “naanaaNACK!” I reply, “Okay, I know you want more Goldfish, but you are going to have to wait until after lunch, which I’m making right now.” Then, as if I have awakened the beast, I see it all play out again. He turns red, stiffens up, yells, “AhhhhhhhHHHHHHH!!” He looks at me, as if to say, “But I used my FREAKING WORDS and POINTED! And I want Goldfish NOW!!” Then smashes his head into the pantry door, and I do the only thing I know to do… I walk away and try not to let him see me laugh.
Kendall is 18 months old and the pediatrician says that scar tissue may go away in a few years, but I’m not convinced