Yesterday, I experienced one of the deepest disappointments in my experience of motherhood thus far.
Yesterday, Claire got physically violent toward her younger sister.
Aerin was trying to climb onto Claire’s chair — the seat she practically considers to be her throne — and Claire expectedly became upset. She then proceeded to KICK Aerin.
It wasn’t so bad. It was more of a slow shove with the foot than an actual kick, and I was right behind Aerin so she fell into my lap. Aerin seemed unfazed by the event and went about as if nothing had happened.
But while the kick/shove did not cause any physical harm to my younger daughter, I felt as if I had been kicked in the chest.
J and I immediately took action.
“No! You do not kick your sister! You never hit another person!”
We’re not entirely sure if the message went through to her. She certainly seemed downcast after the reprimand, but it was hard to tell if she was thinking about her wrongdoing, or if she was angry at us for defending Aerin.
Motherhood is full of “firsts.” The first tooth. The first steps. The first day of school.
What I hadn’t realized is that I should also brace myself for the unanticipated, and oftentimes unwanted, firsts as well. The first fever. The first knee scrape. The first tantrum.
And in this case, the first time I have been disappointed in my child.
I know that at 22 months of age, Claire cannot be fully held accountable for her actions and deeds. And as her mother, as her primary caretaker as well as the person she loves and looks up to the most, I can’t help but wonder if I had failed in some way.
These are all normal mommy experiences and feelings, to be sure. But man, if only kids came with instruction manuals…