Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What would you do?

Christmas. It started out being the best day ever with, Max was sooooo excited that Santa had visited. But it ended in the most bizare circumstances, resulting in us driving three and a half hours back to Brisbane in the late evening (we got home at midnight).

Late in the afternoon (after we'd all had Christmas lunch), Max was in the pool with his Nona & Pop along with Sean's Aunt and Uncle. I was up in the house reading a magazine and the rest of the extended family were all taking a nap.

I could hear Max being silly in the pool and everyone laughing along with whatever he was doing. Then he started bawling his eyes out. Not that unusual, he was tired and full of sugar and he normally cries when he hurts himself (like most three year olds). I saw Aggie (Sean's Mum) bring him up the steps so I went out to give him a hug and find out what happened.

Between Max and Aggie I found out that Max had thrown a hard plastic toy and hit Sean's Aunt in the head (she was sitting right next to him). Her reaction was to lash out and hit him back. Hard, and in the throat. Max was completely inconsolable, Sean's Mum was so mad that she was shaking and I can't even begin to describe what I was feeling.

I woke Sean up and he was gobsmacked. Once he understood what had happened he was furious. Sean and I handle things very differently, I was crying and yelling and shaking and ready to fly off the handle, but Sean was quiet and still and the most angry I have ever seen him. We could not believe that his Aunt had hit Max. Not smacked (which would still make me angry anyway), but she had reacted in anger and hit him.

Aggie wanted me to go and speak to her straight away, but I knew if I did I would lose my temper and say something I would regret. So we handed Lincoln (who was sound asleep) to Aggie and took Max out for a drive to get some ice cream. Once Max was distracted Sean and I had a chat about what we were going to do. We decided that I would let Linda know that we were sorry Max hit her with the toy, but that her reaction was way out of line and that she was to never lay another hand on him. Then we were going to pack the car and head back to Brisbane (unless she decided to leave, then we would stay).

We went home and let Aggie know what we were going to do. She immediately started crying because she loves Sean and our kids more than anything else and didn't want us to leave.

I called Linda aside and started off by apologising for Max hitting her (to be fair he threw a toy that accidentally hit her, but I was trying to be nice seeing as I was about to give her a piece of my mind). She mustn't have been able to tell how furiously angry I was because she tried to hug me and say that she forgave him. I started to lose my temper at that point, but tried to hold it together. I stepped back and told her not to touch me and that I wasn't finished. I said that she had no right to hit my child and that there was absolutely no excuse for what she had done.

She exploded and started yelling at me that he had hit her first and that I was doing a really bad job of raising Max. I absolutely LOST MY SHIT. I screamed at her that she knew nothing about raising a child (she and her husband chose not to have children so that they could focus on being buddists*) and that hitting Max like that was unforgivable. She reacted by saying that she had trained kids at karate and knew more about children than I did.

I don't remember exactly how things went next, but she stormed out of the room yelling that everything was always about me, and I tried to follow her (whilst yelling at her), but Sean held me back so I couldn't. (I'd already asked Sean's brother to take Max outside to play so thankfully he didn't hear or see any of this).

I cried and vented to Sean for a few minutes and told Aggie that we would be leaving (she was crying even more by this point), she told us that she would ask Linda to leave instead. We took both kids this time and left the house for 45 minutes so that she could pack her stuff and go.

When we got back her car was still there so Sean went in to see what was happening. He came back out ten minutes later and said that she had decided that seeing as she'd done nothing wrong(!!) she wasn't leaving. Sean and I agreed that we would just pack up and go. That process took a good couple of hours because Max had a million Christmas presents spread around the house, Sean's Mum was crying and begging us to stay, Sean's grandparents were trying to smooth things over and convince Sean and I that we could all stay and forget anything had ever happened. At one point Sean's Mum asked her to leave again, but his Grandma told her to stay (I think).

Eventually we had everything packed up and we got in the car and left.

I still can't believe how it all happened. Nothing like this has ever happened in either of our families before. In our family no one is violent, no one has ever hit anyone, something like this is completely out of left field. Sean told me as we were driving home that his Aunt had said to him that she hadn't meant to hit Max as hard as she did. Sean said to her that she should've hit him at all and she again responded by saying 'he hit me first'. And Aggie told me that the Aunt thought she was justified in hitting Max because she felt that he threw the toy deliberately and with malice. She could not see that she had done the wrong thing... Unbelievable.

So we're back at home, Max is sad that Christmas is over, Sean's Mum is still devestated that we left and Sean and I are still reeling.

Most bizare Christmas ever...


(*I don't know much about buddists, but I don't think they're supposed to hit three year olds.)






38 comments

  1. Oh Tamsyn I'm sorry your Christmas wasn't the day you or your family had hoped or planned for. In my eyes the Aunt was out of line. I had a similar experience with my brother not long ago about my child - no hitting involved but a lot of criticism with how I parent. He is married and childless but had the nerve to tell me that I was doing it all wrong when it came to my daughter! I blew my top and let him know he had no right to tell me how to handle my child! I told him to go and have a child and then come back and tell me how to parent! No one has the right to criticise what happens in your family.

    I had to laugh at the "he hit me first" comment! Tell me who's the child and who's the adult in this situation?!!!!! It seams like she's a bit of a stick in the mud that see's herself as doing no wrong! Being Buddist or not... I don't think anyone has the right to harm a child using physical force!

    Sophie xo

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    1. Isn't it funny how those without kids are so quick to give advice on how to be a parent. Parenting is one of those things where things might seem good in theory, but you'll never know until you actually do it. I'm glad you stood up for yourself too :) xx

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  2. This is just awful. I'm so sorry that you spent your Christmas like this. So, so sorry. What she did was absolutely wrong, and unfortunately it sounds like this will affect the family dynamic for a long time to come. Not that it excuses anything, but when I don't understand the behaviour of others, I try to consider that maybe they are going through something privately that is very difficult. Still not acceptable behaviour, but hopefully with some time she will gain some perspective and the family relationships aren't irreparable/permanently strained. Thinking of you guys, as I'm sure this has been mentally exhausting.

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    1. I wish I had some of your compassion Andrea! I can't see past the incident at the moment, maybe in the future I'll be able to try and understand what made her do it. Thank you xx

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  3. Oh Tam that is terrible what a bitch!!!! Sorry your christmas turned out so bad :(

    Also sorry we didn't get a chance to catch up while you were here xoxoxoxo

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    1. I wish we'd had a chance to catch up too xxoo

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  4. OMG. That's horrendous. Hope you're all ok. Glad you've vented here. Xx

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    1. Thanks Melody, me too :). I wasn't sure I should, but it was definitely therapeutic!

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  5. That's horrible behaviour, and completely uncalled for.
    Even if he did throw the toy with malice (which he didn't) you do not respond to violence with violence.
    I am just horrified that it happened.

    I am also devastated it ruined your family's Christmas :(

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    1. Thanks Tara, the earlier part of the day was good and Max still thinks Christmas is lots of fun. Hopefully he just forgets this ever happened.

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  6. Wow, Sean's Aunt was completely out of line - I don't think anyone could argue otherwise. Was there any reason why Sean's Mum didn't ask her to leave? (I'm assuming it was your in-laws house here)... So sorry your Christmas turned out like this :(

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    1. She did ask her to leave, but there were other family members getting involved and it turned into a pretty big drama :(

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  7. Oh my God Tamsyn, I'm so sorry honey! What a horrible thing you had to go through, and on Christmas Day too. It's awful that you had to leave, but since she didn't you did the right thing by taking Max away. You poor things, I hope you're OK. Sending love xx

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  8. I'm so sorry to hear that this happened! I don't know if I would have handled things nearly as well as you did. It sounds like you did an amazing job of handling the situation.
    "He hit me first." Has never been an acceptable reason to hit someone. I would have had a hard time not smacking her and saying "You hit him second." (Which is just as good a reason to hit someone.- aka no reason at all.)
    I guess something to be thankful for is that your aunt doesn't have children. I would feel so terrible for them. You should be proud of how you are raising Max and what you taught him about conflict resolution yesterday. You go mama! xo

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    1. I can't imagine you smacking anyone Mel!! It's amazing what happens to us Mumma-bears when someone hurts our child. xx

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  9. Unbelievable and so completely wrong!! I'm not sure what the laws are like where you live, but in the U.S., what his aunt did would also be considered ILLEGAL. Has this aunt no heart? Even if it was an unthinking reflex, one would think she would be devastated by what she had done and be incredibly apologetic. Buddhist indeed. No truly spiritual person acts like that. You were completely right in how you reacted. So sorry you have to go through this. Family should provide a sanctuary for our children. No matter what they do. Best wishes to you as you work through this. As the mom of a 4 year old, my heart goes out to you.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Michelle xx

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  10. There is absolutely no point putting yourself through the trauma of dealing with people like that who are never going to see your point of view. Your children are the most precious things and as this person clearly does not appreciate being around young children, arrange separate gatherings in future or invite your mother-in-law to your home for Christmas.

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    1. Great advice, we will definitely be doing that. Thanks Val!

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  11. Owh Tamsyn, so sorry to read about your horrible day! Please go out and buy a ham, some salad and have yourself a late Christmas at home. You all need to have your day, but a happy one. Hope Max is ok.

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    1. Thanks Brooke :). We missed out on dessert so on boxing day I made us a big Pav and we indulged in that! xx

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  12. OMG Tamsyn! I'm so sorry to read about your Christmas! How can anyone who has even spent 5 minutes with your beautifully natured son ever think he could act with a inch of malice! I am devastated for you, for max, for Sean and for Aggie! I must say I am not sure i would have held it together as well as you. Good on you guys for protecting your son from someone who clearly has no idea how to appropriately interact with a child. Even if it was intentional and with malice and the tenth time he did it she had no right to lay a finger on him let alone act in such a violent way. I'm sorry she ruined all of your Christmas' :-(

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    1. Thanks so much Cat. She definitely wont be spending Christmas with my boys ever again... xxoo

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  13. Oh Tamsyn, I am so sorry to hear that your christmas ended this way.

    What an odd woman is she normally weird/out of her mind?

    I think you handled it just as I would have and the only way a loving mumma could.

    Unless this aunt writes you a letter pleading for forgiveness with a letter attached from a doctor confirming she was having a mental breakdown I would just forget she exists and try to never see her again.

    I hope this Christmas sticks in your memory as Lincons first and not for this horrible incident.

    xx

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    1. Before this all went down Max and the rest of us were all having a really great day and Max seems to only remember the good stuff (which is a relief). I won't be forgetting anytime soon (if ever), but I'm really glad Max has put it behind him :). xx

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  14. Am so saddened to hear this story, what an inappropriate action to take action to take against a child. I hope that the rest of the family can support you in a time like this. Thinking of you...

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    1. Thanks lovely, everyone else has been great :) xx

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  15. Wow, just wow, he hit me first, I would have seen red! There is no excuse in the world that would make what she done anywhere near ok, I imagine it would have broken his little heart. As a parent you work so hard to make Christmas full of fun and magic and she comes in and tarnishes it with such a nasty act. I'm glad you stood up to her!

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    1. I was really worried about his feelings too, he was devestated and I could just imagine what was going through his sweet little mind. I was preparing myself for the questions from Max about why she did it, so I'm quite glad that he seems to have forgotten about it.

      I hope you had a lovely Christmas xx

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  16. Oh no Tams, I'm so sorry to hear about this!! That is just jaw dropping. That is full on bizarre, just like what you said, I can't understand how she still can't see that the way she chose to react to Max was completely wrong. And karate?! Ok... I can totally see how training a billion kids at karate makes you Super Nanny instantly (even more so that the kid's mum). ;p
    She should not have retaliated and should have just informed you about the incident about Max hitting and left it at that or left you and Sean to talk to Max... then it wouldn't have turned out so crazy... :(

    I grew up in a generation in Asia where parents saw hitting as an ok way to discipline. BUT having said that, we knew that our parents did that because we were naughty and we knew that our parents still loved us. They didn't hit out of anger. I don't judge or blame them because it was acceptable in their generation to do so. Having said that, I don't think any of our parents took it upon themselves to hit other people's kids, if that kid had done something wrong in that moment. I don't hit my kids and I certainly will not judge or take it upon myself to be the one to discipline other people's children. My parents and in-laws also understand that we have our own methods of disciplining our kids.

    He hit me first!!! Nice one. So if someone walked past her and deliberately shoved her on the pavement and said get out of my way, she would shove him back???!!!



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    1. Her reaction is incomprehensible isn't it :( Both Sean and I grew up getting smacks from our parents and I don't judge them for it either. But to hit someone elses kid out of anger is just crazy. I've never had something like that happen in my life before and I certainly hope nothing like it ever happens again. Staying away from that Aunt is going to go along way towards making sure of that. I hope you and your gorgeous family had a great Christmas xx

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  17. What a crazy story!! My mom definitely gave me some spanks when I was young (lord knows I deserved them ;) but for someone else to hit your child, NO WAY!! You handled it really well, not sure what I would have done. I can only imagine how awkward it's going to be when you are at another function with her. Glad Max got over it so quickly!

    xo Cindy

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    1. Mine too Cindy, but I don't recall anyone I know ever being hit by another adult. Crazy huh! xxoo

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  18. OMG, Tamsyn! This makes me so angry. What a bully! A grown woman hitting a child... in the throat? I just can't even believe it. I am so glad you didn't let her get away with it like some of the other family members did... just because she is family. I don't care who you are, if you ever lay a finger on my child, you just made a horrible mistake. I am so impressed with how well you handled the situation. I would have lost it. And the "he hit me first" crap, really!? I can't believe those words came out of an adult at all. Especially one who is applying it to a child. This seems like it could be so traumatizing for him, having someone he trusts hurt him like that. So I'm glad to hear that he has taken it so well. Your family is beautiful and precious. Don't ever let that lady around to hurt any of you again! She obviously doesn't think she did anything wrong so it wouldn't surprise me if she did. GRRRR!

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    1. I'm so relieved that it hasn't traumatized him too, it could have been so much worse. Thanks for the support xxoo

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