Cam likes to hit people in the face. It doesn't matter if the target is big or small, parent or not. She hits when she's happy. She hits when frustrated. She hits when the words you say don't make her happy. She hits when she meets someone new.
It's absolutely mortifying. It's been going on for months, but she saved most of her slaps for Rob and I. Or Grammie (my Mom). Now it's everyone and nothing I do about it is working. Mainly I tell her "NO!" very firmly. Or a variation on the same "No hit!". Occasionally I can grab her hand before it reaches it's target.
Today at playgroup she was extremely energetic and excited to be there. Some days I have to cajole her into playing, but today she was enthusiastic about everything. Then they brought the swings out. We go to a place called My Gym. One of those ubiquitous indoor play places for kids. This place has huge ceilings with ropes hanging down to attach baby swings. Cam loves the swing. She saw Miss Sarah bring out an armful of swings, stopped dead in her tracks and started clapping and bouncing. Then she got serious, saw the first swing get clipped on, and a little boy made a move for it. before I could grab her, she very purposefully reached out and smacked the ever-living shit out of that kid. Predictably he screamed bloody murder. The kid's mother was very understanding, but his grandmother was pissed and kept giving me the stink eye. I snatched Cam up FAST, told her "NO! See? You made C cry. YOU SEE THAT? HE'S CRYING because YOU HIT HIM!" I then walked away from the swings and told her she lost her sweet spot at the front of the line because she hit. Whimpering and pointing at the swings, I then felt stupid for thinking my 16 month old could understand what just happened.
Next to the swings they always hang a hammock so that multiple kids can sit and swing together. I made my way over to it just as poor aggrieved C and his mother did. I apologized again, and started to walk away when C got a look at Cam and started wailing all over again. Now we had the hammock all to ourselves. Awkward. Ever time that kid saw Cam, he ran the other way. Pretty much the same thing happened yesterday at the little playground in our local mall. Except this kid was about 4, and had the words to tell me that my baby hurt her. When Cam would come near her the kid would scream "STAY AWAY FROM ME!!!".
Cam was born drug dependent. I know hitting is considered normal in toddlers. But something in my gut tells me something is just...off. Her other way of dealing with frustration is to shake her head violently back and forth and to start "mouthing" whatever she can. It's not turned to biting...yet. It's more like an open mouth banging against my legs/her car seat/the sofa....whatever is large and immovable. We have our Occupational Therapist coming back next week to evaluate Cam for her "delay" in talking. That woman is going to earn her money next week.
And she better bring a face/mouth guard. Just sayin'...