22 September, 2006

Nip It In The Bud - Acte Deux

Yesterday, I had to drag my five year old screaming and crying out of her Grandpa's house. Her crime: She defied me.

This was the first time it has happened so I am still in a bit of a shock. What happened to her? Did the pod people come and exchange her for an evil twin? Needless to say, she begged not to leave and promised through her screams never to do it again. But alas, if I had caved in, would she have learned the lesson? I think not.

As I was dragging her out, Grandpa, who lets her do anything, was in tears. He did not want her to go. He has always been too lenient but I give him a pass at 86 years old because he and his first wife (who died) adopted two little girls over 50 years ago who were already 7 and 9 years old. Hence, he has never been around a child growing from ages o-7. His girls had been living in an orphanage most of their lives and were delighted to have a home and someone to call mom and dad. Then the oldest drowned at the age of 16 on a family vacation. The man is just crazy about this granddaughter and their relationship is an advertisement for the mutual admiration society.

I know this would be different had my mom lived longer. She would not put up with defiant 5 year olds. She died 2 years ago but I got to thinking about how she would have handled this and it brought back many memories of spankings, mouth washings with soap, switches (remember those?), loss of privileges and much more. Her repertoire was vast when it came to punishments and she suffered no loss of swift retribution. I can remember her spankings. There were times, even at five; I wished she would just get it over with. It would go like this: lecture-spank-lecture-spank-lecture-spank. Or, my personal favorite was her first having me choose the switch from the bush then the long walk from the back patio and upstairs to my room where the punishment was exacted. You could hear the doomsday music playing in the background.

If I acted up in church, because she was up front at the organ, the process was even more grueling. The drive home...quiet. The suspense was even worse if there was company for dinner. When everyone left she would quietly get the ping pong paddle or the belt (when I was older) and the lecture-spank process began. The fact that I rushed to set the table, was a gracious mini hostess and did the dishes, meant nothing.

You see, she never punished in public. Well, almost never. There was that one time... crystal clear to this day. I call it Black Monday. I was about 11 years old and we were in a department store starter bra shopping for me. I did not want to wear this horrible contraption and was being very defiant. When we went to pay, I said something nasty (what DID I say?) and my mom just hauled off and slapped me right there in front of everyone. It was a hard slap. I was speechless which is probably the result for which she was aiming. The sales lady did not run to call Child Protective Services but gave an agreeing nod to my mother. No one was on my side. She paid and we left without a word. Nothing needed to be said. I wore the bra the next day with a cheerful heart. Or was it out of fear?

To get a picture for the disparity of this action please keep in mind that at age 11 I was 5 foot 8 and my mother barely reached 5 foot 3. Yet, I submitted to her punishment and we turned a new corner: Don't mess with mom anytime, anywhere.

If anyone thinks from all this that my mom was a strict disciplinarian, they would be wrong. She was anything but that. She was about the most fun mom a kid could want. Hint: To clean the kitchen floor, tie rags on your feet, put the cleaner on the floor and dance. That is just one example of her approach to life. She was always the first to start a water balloon fight and she could play the most elaborate April Fools Day ruses around. People are still talking about them. If you wanted to get out of housework, just ask her to play something on the piano and housework could suffer for days.

However, if you were her kid, DO NOT defy her.

So back to my daughter. If she will defy me at 5 years old, what can I expect at 13? Nope, I have to nip it in the bud right now. I will admit I felt a bit like Heinrich Himmler as I was literally dragging her to the car away from her beloved Grandpa. She begged me to spank her so I did just the opposite: I made her go to bed at 6 p.m. She wailed for 2 hours straight. I ignored her. She fell asleep. No supper, nothing, nada. Today, she woke up sweet as pie and ready to do anything I asked of her. Why? She knows I mean business: Don't defy me.

Bud nipped....until next time.

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