Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: a place where freedom lives
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We went through this when dd was that age, but with our dog and cats as the victims. I don't think 23 mos olds can really comprehend why you are taking the toy away other than it is taken away and gone from their reach. Try instead to teach your child how to use the toy and how to play with the baby. It took a lot of time for us to teach dd how to be gentle with the pets. We are still working on it and she is now 33 mos. It is a process.
A 23 mos old is most likely not trying to hurt the baby and does not understand exactly what is going on. He is just exploring how to use the toy and how to play with the baby.
What we do now, which I learned from a book recommended in the GD book list, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be by Laura Davis and Janis Keyser, is to teach dd how to play with the toy and also tell her that I am not going to let her hurt the pets. Tell your ds that you are not going to let him hurt his baby brother and then teach him, over and over, how to play with the toy and the baby in a gentle way. It will take a long time but taking the toy away is not going to teach him anything except that you take toys away for reasons he does not understand. When he plays in a rough way, move the baby away. If he still plays in a rough way, go to him and show him exactly how to play gently with the toy. As a last resort, get him to switch to something more gentle, like sitting in his high or booster seat and coloring or playing play dough.
When my dd got closer to 2.5, I started realizing that she did comprehend the idea of taking the toy away. So, now we do all of the above but when she is still playing roughly, throwing things, banging the furniture, etc, we do say, while we are showing her how to play gently and appropriately, that the toy may have to take a break from playing if she cannot play gently. Every once in a while we have to do this. I hate to do it and more often than not I don't. It is a last resort only when I am really fed up and do not have the energy to try anything else. My prefered method is to get her to switch to another activity and distract her from the rough play. Divert and distract, that is my mantra. (reference: Sears Discipline book)
Another thing I have done, as a last resort, is to hide the offending toy for a while. But not in front of dd. For example, I got her a wooden pound-a-ball. What a stupid idea! She just throws the balls and uses the hammer to bang everything except the balls. So, that toy mysteriously "disappeared." I did not lie to her or anything. In fact, she never noticed it was missing. Phew!
It is hard and I cannot imagine how you deal with having two babies but that is my advice. Good luck!