It was Rose. She had been lying on her back on the carpet, with Joy lying tummy-down on top of her, face-to-face. And Joy had suddenly zoomed in and BIT her. A full-circle-of-teeth, hard chomp, on the side of her face just next to her left eye.
Remember the awful bruise-producing biting that Joy was doing to herself back toward the end of the summer?
That's what she did. To her sister's face.
I didn't exactly know what to do with Joy other than remove her from the situation. Much more concerned with Rose, to get her a nice icy Boo-Boo Bunny and a cuddle on the couch to start processing this new trauma. (Remember, the stinky-weapon assault at school was less than a week ago...)
Something I said about last week's school incident was hugely applicable to this one:
You think a skill is learned, or that boundaries are in control, and then whammo.
This really came out of nowhere. Now, Rose has been treating Joy a little bit like an oversize rag doll at times, dragging her around and hugging too enthusiastically and talking at her in an exaggerated annoying baby-talk voice. We've been at her repeatedly to be more gentle with her sister, to read Joy's cues that she doesn't like the situation, to let her walk away. This time, though, it didn't seem like Joy was trapped. She was on top and not confined, she could've just gotten up and left, but instead she chomped.
One difference between this incident and school is that Rose didn't get an apology this time. The girl at school had a vocalization and a sign for "sorry," and was able to trace a pencil over the letters of an apology note that her aide wrote out for her in yellow marker. We've not yet got a vocabulary nor a consistent approach for what to do when Joy does something harmfully wrong, particularly to a peer. How to begin to get her to understand, or even go through some sort of apology motion? Which motion, even, given that she's not really using any signs at all other than a highly inconsistent "more" sign?
Bloggy input welcomed!
I feel so bad for Rose. She's just having to put up with more than a kid oughtta have to do.
After supper, when things had calmed down and a Joy-therapist was in attendance, I took Rose out to help me shovel snow off the driveway. She told me that she was going to try to keep further away from Joy for a little while, a reasonable approach (and all to the good really, if it gets her to stop the rag-doll games).
And then she said,
But that doesn't mean I don't love her.
Oh, my beautiful daughter.