Learning How To Throw – And Simultaneously Piss Off The Cat

My little monkey has evolved into the thrower of doom. He has learned to throw. Not the “I don’t want this offending item, get it out of my view” throw; you know the one it usually involves you watching helplessly as food, drink, phones etc sail from your child’s hand and smash/splat/stick to the floor. No it’s the “I want to destroy you by pegging you with this super painful item” throw. He has developed quite a good throw too, with a bit of power behind it. Not always accurate but when it hits its target it HURTS.

It all started innocently enough. We got back from holidays and our little monkey had somehow learned he could throw soft toys at the cat and get her. He would chase her round the house squealing with delight and picking up random toys and chucking them. Most of the time he missed but the random bullseye and resulting hiss of annoyance from said cat was enough to encourage the little monkey to continue with the game. Naturally we stopped him when we caught him. We would firmly say “no, do not throw things at the cat who is about to go Tasmanian devil on your ass” (or something to that effect) and remove the offending item from his clutches. The little monkey would look at us carefully as if weighing up his options and then quietly slink away. I’m positive his thought process at this point was something like “you have won this round mother, but this is far from over. The cat and I have unresolved business”.

At this point we were not overly concerned. Throwing is a skill and it needs to be mastered right? ALL the baby books say that. So we just continued what we were doing and things were fine (well the cat probably thought everything was far from fine, but that is a different post). We did eventually learn that our little monkey had gone ninja on us and was throwing things at the cat when we were not looking or not around. The first we knew about an attack was a terrified yowl from the cat as it streaked past us fleeing in terror, with the little monkey cackling wickedly as he chased said cat down.

We walked into the room once to find him throwing a remote controlled Thomas the Tank Engine at the cat. What the heck? That toy was expensive, oh and the cat could have been seriously hurt. Plus it had been all of a minute, we had put the little monkey inside and brought some parcels through the front door. If we had been slower we might have had a Thomas the Tank engine shaped flattened cat.

Now we were getting worried but were not sure how to proceed, opinions differed on what to do. Some resources said just ignore it, it’s a phase. If you draw attention to it you are feeding the behaviour. Others said punish, punish, punish. Now I am not going to get into this debate but needless to say we were unsure of what to do. So kept saying “no” and removing the offending item till the adults in the house hold could come up with a game plan.

Then one day I was sitting innocently watching TV and next thing I know I am nailed between the eyes with a bottle cap (plastic kind but still freaking hurt). Once I stopped seeing stars circling round my head, I realised my little monkey had just pegged me with a bottle cap and had pegged me pretty hard too. He was laughing maniacally and rummaging around for another thing to throw. As he stood with a book and wound his arm up for the throw I moved with amazing speed out of my reclining chair (dimly noting the cat on the head rest had been catapulted off….oppps) and confiscated the item there and then. We realised he had been trying to throw stuff at the cat (at least this is what I am hoping and that my child isn’t secretly Stewie from Family Guy) and had accidently got me. We also realised he had a LOT of force behind his throw now.

So, new game plan. We are encouraging his throwing ability but redirecting it. Dr Penelope Leach suggested this as the best of both worlds solution. On one hand you get to encourage the skill, but on the other hand you stop the bad behaviour. So far it’s been a bit of a fail as our little monkey just stands there looking bemused by his idiotic parents throwing a ball into a bucket, which he then carefully plucks out of the bucket and……runs off. BUT we have stopped the throwing of items inappropriately by redirecting his attention when we see it happening. I will update you further with either our success or epic failure.

If you have any suggestions I am way open to hearing them.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stacybuckeye
    Nov 02, 2011 @ 11:06:26

    LMAO!! Mandy, thank you forthe laugh tonight. I can now picture your little guy running round the house laughing and getting into trouble Great post! Your poor cat. Everytime I try to tell Gage no (firmly) all I get is laughing. Not sure if this is a phase but it is annoying, but sorta funny on a good day.
    I can’t wait to hear how the whole throwing thing gets settled at your house.

    Reply

    • caspette
      Nov 12, 2011 @ 08:27:50

      Thanks we have had some success but how much of that is just little monkey loosing interest and how much is the discipline working I am yet to work out.

      Reply

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