When Toddlers Attack, There’s Usually a Reason

K. Emily Bond

shark week discovery channelWithin the past couple of weeks, I’ve sustained a head injury, superficial flesh wounds, loss of property, and incredibly foul moods.

I adopted a rabid dog, you must think?

Nope. I just happen to be the mother of a toddler -- a toddler who is extremely ticked off about day care, his lack of booby access, and other frustrations he doesn’t have the words to fully explain.

The head injury came about when, extremely exhausted after my son spent yet another night chomping at the tit, I had the audacity to steal a few extra moments (not minutes, mind you) of sleep. His grandfather gifted him with a portable DVD player and box set of Sesame Street and I thought wearily, “What’s the harm of closing my eyes if only for a couple of seconds while Elmo sings ‘la la la,’ ahhhh …”

Right as thoughts of sugarplums and other pleasantries entered my semi-subconsciousness, wollop! A fire-engine red matchbox car met the side of the head in a most ungracious manner.

I sat up, head stinging, hot tears welling in my eyes, and cried, “Why would you do that to mommy? Why???” as if the boy had dumped a bucket of pig’s blood on my head after I’d been named prom queen. For a better mental picture, try this:

Carrie sissy spacek Please note that I was not soaked in blood like our heroine Carrie, only that when I cried, “Why???” I did so with the same agony as Sissy Spacek in her most famous cinematic scene.


My husband rushed in and I fled the scene without incident.

The flesh wounds are really nothing special, standard fare when you’re a mom. And the loss of property? Well, it’s only a change jar. And a picture frame. As well as a mobile phone, iPod, and computer screen, but those latter three were broken a few months ago so they don’t quite fall under the purview of ‘the past couple of weeks.’ They’re just on my mind of late because I really am wondering, “Why do toddlers attack?”

They're such darling creatures, aren’t they? Such a joy. Nine times out of 10, rays of sunshine. Occasionally though, they go a bit shark week. It’s like when my sister’s dog regurgitated a rabbit’s entrails on my pillow this summer. “Why would you do that, there?” I asked the dog. “I’m a friendly guest who pets you and gives you treats.”

Don’t tell me it’s because the dog liked me. To this day I contend she went shark week, too, and I’ve felt uneasy around her ever since. My son, though, seemed to get where she was coming from. He was with me when we discovered Coco’s spoils and his attitude seemed to be, “Well, sometimes you’ve got to heed the call of your inner beast.”

My son’s inner beast was resistant to the idea of day care, but he’s coming around. Nor is he crazy about the idea of weaning, which after 18 months of joyful bonding (followed by two months of maternal anguish), he’s begrudgingly adjusting to. I can only imagine how he’ll lash out when he’s reintroduced to his own bed in his own bedroom.

He’ll manage to quiet the feral animal within eventually. But daddy beware, mama’s taking cover.

What has your toddler’s inner beast broken, injured, maimed, or destroyed?

Images via Discovery Channel and 411Mania.com

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