Hi all! Hoping to get some ideas or input about what I am going through...
DS1 is 31 months old and DS2 is 6 months old. Lately, DS1 has been getting physical with his brother. He started off with sort of punching the air and saying BAM very loudly when DS2, who is starting to "wake up" from infancy and get more active (scooting, sitting up, etc.), smiles or makes a noise or, well, does anything other than sit on my lap and be a baby. This seems to frustrate and annoy DS1. Then it escalated a week or so ago to slapping. DS1 started slapping his brother's hands and feet, sort of "testing the waters," waiting for my reaction. In the beginning, my reaction was firm but calm. "No, we do not slap. We do not hurt, we need to be gentle, just like we do with our pets, etc." Most of the time, his reaction to this was a big smile and then a move to do it again. At that point, I would make a move, such as pick up the baby and move to a different room (he would follow me) or block him with my arm from making contact with DS2... DS1 thinks it's funny more than anything and I have to distract him with something else so that he loses interest. That's been the most successful tactic so far, but it is hard.
Then, today this all seemed to escalate because DS1 was really making a game out of it. Trying to slap his brother, slapping his legs when he was in the Moby (and when I tried to walk away or turn around, he would follow and "chase" us, trying to slap), and then, when I had DS2 on the bed during our feeding (where DS1 usually has his bottle and DS2 nurses) my oldest jumped up suddenly and before I could even move the baby, smacked him right on his face between his eyes, leaving a red spot. :(
I exploded. Yelled at him louder than I ever have before (I don't typically yell at all) and told him he needed to go away, that we don't smack, and the kids were both crying. It was a total nightmare. I shut DS1 out in the hall for a bit while I checked out the baby's face, then gave them both baths and sent DS1 to bed without his usual story time (a first).
Any suggestions from moms who have been through this would be great. What can I do? I want to practice GD more than anything, but I am feeling my patience/endurance starting to waver. I have a need to protect my baby but also a need to show love and support to my oldest son. I feel that this situation is pitting them against each other and that I am in the middle. :(