Last night, Elvis deliberately grabbed Squeak’s face with his claws and scratched, leaving a red mark by his eye.
I wanted to smack him
upside the head, but I did not. I told him he was wrong, picked him up, and
changed him for bed with a fierce scowl.
It’s pretty surprising that I did not lose my cool, since this was a culmination of several incidents, which are becoming a daily occurrence. There’s taking and screaming and hitting and generally not liking Squeak to do anything mildly enjoyable.
During tooth brushing, Elvis grabbed Squeak by the arm and when thwarted in that, pushed him down with his foot. That was it. No book reading, straight to bed. In his room, I started to repeat the messages I’m trying to get through: He has to listen and do what we tell him. And No Hurting Anybody.
After a few minutes, Elvis says “Mommy please, please sing a song.”
Crap. This is not getting through. I repeated me message once more, sang a song, and put him to bed. We try again tomorrow. We’ll do positive reinforcement, lots of cuddles and attention, special time alone with each of them, yadda yadda yadda.
Now it’s tomorrow. At 3pm, Elvis threw a heavy toy at Squeak’s head. I sent him to bed and brought Squeak up and tried to get them both to take a nap. Squeak struggled and Elvis chatted and wiggled around. I scowled and told Elvis “Not one word. Lie down.”
Elvis says “Mommy, please be nice to me.”
Crushing. Not that he thinks I’m being mean; I’m okay with that. It’s crushing that the message is bouncing off and he’s just suffering my bad mood.
I’m at a loss, folks. I can’t reward bad behavior with “being nice”. I also can’t punish bad behavior when I’m not sure he even remembers it anymore. But someday soon, the little heathen is really going to hurt Squeak. He’s also teaching Squeak this behavior, which should be fun down the line.
Aside from an ass-whooping, how do we get the no-hurting message through and engraved in his mind, quickly?