If You’re Happy And You Know It Slap My Face

My son is at that stage where he is really starting to feel things – happiness, excitement, rage, fear – but those emotions run away with him because they are all so new and he doesn’t know how to handle them.

You know how it is. Toddler drops toy, sandwiches are cut the wrong way, cup is the wrong colour. Such little things to happen, with such massive consequences. They simply don’t know how to handle it or how to communicate the problem properly. Cue the tears and tantrums, the shouting and the screaming. They know of no other outlet for that raw emotion.

It goes both ways though.

True happiness and excitement often make T violent. We were sitting on the floor of the lounge the other day playing with his stacky cups (which, by the way, are his most favourite toys in the whole wide world at the moment), and singing if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. He only responds to two verses so far, and they are clap your hands and shake your head, but it’s a song he gets great joy from.

I shouldn’t have combined it with stacky cup play.

If you’re happy and you know it – OW!

He’d slapped me right across the cheek with his hand. Turning to him, I could see the excitement pouring out of him. He was literally quivering with all this pent-up emotion that he couldn’t control.


This time it was a stacky cup to the head because I’d stopped building the tower. He was laughing like a loon, screaming his head off he was so happy.

Now fellow parents, here is my question to you. In this situation, what would you do? I grabbed the cup off him before he managed to crack my head open with it, and simply said no thank you. I then went on with building the tower. I felt that even though he’d hit me, it hadn’t been naughty as such. By that I mean he didn’t do it to cause pain, he did it with positive energy and positive intention.

I know that at his age (he’s only 1.5) he’s simply exploring boundaries, because that is how they learn. I wasn’t about to turn our happy play time into something negative, not only because I thought it unneccessary, but also because I was quite enjoying myself and I didn’t want it to end.

They say that toddlers (and children) grow out of it, but how much do they need a helping hand? After all, they only grow out of it because those boundaries get learned, along with right and wrong.

This is something I will persist with, and a behaviour which I think almost needs to be ignored…whilst other outlets of emotion are encouraged. Possibly I’ll be right, possibly I’ll be wrong.

I guess it’s going to be a learning curve for both of us!



The Tale of Mummyhood


Twin Mummy and Daddy

13 thoughts on “If You’re Happy And You Know It Slap My Face

  1. Ah yes I remember that stage, I still have some scars! A remote control to the nose was the worst. Like you say, not naughtiness at all but still to be managed. I just used to tell L it hurt me so to be gentle. No idea if it worked or not really, as soon as he grew out of the over excited rough toddler stage, he got to the angry because you don’t understand me stage, closely followed by upset because we both understand each other but I’m not getting my own way stage. All of which have had moments of pain! #blogstravaganza

    1. Oh, I look forward to those next stages! Ha! It’s all one big learning curve isn’t really, for us as much as them.
      Thank you for reading.

  2. It’s tricky when they do things because they’re excited. My son charges at me and my partner at such speed when he wants a hug he often hurts us. He’s 3 now, and rather heavy when he hits you with his full body! We’re at the “kind, gentle hands” stage, but I don’t know how well it’s working. Lovely that he loves that song so much though! It’s a favourite here too. #blogstravaganza

    1. I’m hoping it will become slightly easier when he understands more. At the moment you can tell he just doesn’t get why we are asking him not to do things. Perseverance is key though I’m sure!
      Thank you for reading!

  3. My eldest is at this stage too, she is experiencing so many emotions and often doesn’t know how to handle them. When she raises her hands I often just say ‘no, we don’t hit’ hopefully it’s something she’ll soon realise is wrong! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza hope to see you again next week! xx

    1. We’ll get there in the end 🙂 Just need to remember it’s as much of a learning curve for them as it is for us! Sometimes it’s difficult to remember they are not being naughty, they simply don’t understand.
      Thank you for reading!

  4. Yes its always tricky with stuff like this, he is still so young and like you say alot of the time they don’t realise what they have done. When my boys whacked me during games etc I used to change my body language and tone of voice, stop what we were doing and say ‘No, we don’t hit’ I would always keep eye contact and keep my face stern. Then they would usually either show remorse or at least show by their attention that what i have said has slightly gone in as different ‘not happy mum’ behaviour. Then I would say ‘come on lets play nicely’ and carry on. I would always follow this up every time they either lashed out at me, anyone else or each other and thankfully it was on such few occassions they got through the hitting stage quite quickly and it luckily has been the end of hitting. They all go through the same stages though and push boundaries and I think as long as you stay consistent in what you do/say the message gets through to them eventually (even when you tell them 100 times to pick their coats up! eventually they do lol) xx #Blogstravaganza

    1. Thank you! Although I know it’s quite normal, it’s still reassuring to hear from other parents who have been there and done that. I shall persevere, and hopefully it won’t take too long!

  5. Ouch!!! I usually try to insist on ‘gentle’. But it doesn’t always work. You learn to watch out for flailing fists (and stacking cups) pretty quickly as a parent lol.

    1. Yes, I agree with you there. My son is only 1.5 so I don’t think he yet knows what it means. He’s more experimenting to see reactions!

  6. Fab post I feel I have done this five times a stage I wasn’t sorry to say goodbye too Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

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