So I was reminded of the nose punching incident because my son was bullied the other day. I’ve been told other mothers that you can’t call it bullying when it’s 2 year old on 2 year old violence. I disagree. I don’t think there is malice in bullying. I think it is purely a matter of not considering others to be human, which in the case of two year olds seems very normal. I don’t think they have an understanding that anyone counts except themselves. Sure they may have flashes of empathy, which are to be praised, nurtured and encouraged, but essentially toddlers are selfish, because they aren’t developmentally mature enough to understand the concept of the equality of other living beings. In any case, the child in question had pushed my son without provocation at playgroup in the spring. I had assumed over the summer he had either been trained or grew out of the habit. Instead, 4 months later he waited till the adults had left the room and scratched my son, like drew blood in several places on his face, level of scratching. The punishment? Being frog marched over to apologize. My reaction was to say that I would no allow them to play each other i.e. if he was going to be at playgroup that week, I would not be. I told the organizer first whose reaction was just “well did you talk to the mom?”. I then asked a friend who was also in the group and her reaction was similar, a feeling that this could be talked out, that he simply had boundary issues and that it wasn’t a big deal. Since I consider her to often give good advice, I did tell the mom of the bully and she seemed very understanding, though it was upsetting to realize she’d known the risks and hadn’t warned me about his current behavior. My reaction to pull my son from the group seems to be viewed as extreme, but i want him to grow up to be a better person than I am, to have more faith in humanity and I feel that the only way to do that is to show that when he’s too young to defend himself, Mommy will protect him and I will never repeatedly expose him to a dangerous situation.