Diana plants a smooch on Bolshy
Diana has become very affectionate lately. She'll blow kisses, give hugs - unprompted - and assume a funny sort of expression where her mouth puckers and twists, a sign that she is ready to give someone a huge smooch. Mwah!
The main recipient of her caresses is Bolshy; as someone who is always snoozing on the ground, he is an easy target for a toddler wanting to practice her new snuggling tricks. Stuffed animals, mum and dad and selected friends and relatives are also on the list.
The other day, we met a five-year-old girl (our cousin's wife's niece), and D decided to give her the full-service enraptured toddler treatment, which involved Diana flinging her arms around her new friend in a cuddle and not wanting to let go.
It was the sweetest sight to behold - and cuter still was that D just kept on hugging. Over and over and over again.
This whole encounter was amazing for me especially - not only was Diana acting super sweet and happy and gentle, as a result I sleazily looked like an amazing parent (I was so convincing that I even believed it myself for a second!) And D was so distracted by her hugging that she forgot her other passion, which she enjoys in equal measure: hitting.
The random acts of violence that my toddler perpetrates have become a daily source of stress for me; as soon as Diana doesn't like something, her response is to hit it away. So I get whacked all day long - when I'm putting her clothes on, trying to wriggle her into the buggy, pulling her away from whatever toxic poison she's desperately trying to ingest...
If only I were the only one getting hit, though. She will bat other toddlers on the face - for no discernible reason - and she's even marched up to friends of mine and given them a substantial whack. Hard.
I reprimand Diana each and every time, explaining why she shouldn't hit and showing her alternative ways to express her emotions, like gently stroking or hugging. She then 'says' sorry, by offering a hug to the person she's punched, and then waving merrily at them until they smile at her (i.e., in her mind, forgiving her). This technique of hers is deceptive - often, as you're smiling at her cute waving, unsuspecting, she is gearing up to hit again and when you least expect it... BAM!
There are times when I tell her "No" and she responds in the hysterical way that I would: her face crumples, her jowls sag and she starts sobbing. Note: If her hand is raised to strike, she won't put it down. She'll just cry because she's upset I spoke sharply to her but she's still planning to hit me - or whoever else is in her path.
I thought Diana's blows were random displays of toddler frustration, until I witnessed her throwing toys at a snoozing Bolshy and purposefully trying to hit him - and heard encouraging shouts of "Good throw!" and "Nice arm!" from Diana's father in the background.
As we know, she devoutly follows the gospel according to Daddy, so of course this encouragement has made her confused about the occasions when hitting and aggressively throwing things are/are not appropriate (i.e. never). So, despite my husband's chat of a 'united front' when it comes to parenting, his obsession with cricket has resulted in him conspiring with D behind my back. So much for my attempts at discipline.
It turns out that Daddy is determined to make D the world's next champion fast bowler at any cost, including maiming our dog and turning Diana into an antisocial juvenile delinquent.
So if my daughter hits you, I apologise in advance - I'm working on it.
If, on the other hand, she hugs you and behaves impeccably, yes, she is really that sweet all the time. Aren't I so lucky?!