What I’m about to say is not politically correct but then, most times, neither am I. Being ‘politically correct’ is not my moral compass. I also understand that this might cause some controversy. Again, I am not usually one to be controversial…
We spanked our kids. There I said it. Actually, it was mostly me because my husband worked and we both felt, especially when they were little, that the punishment should be immediate so they knew what they were being punished for. Sometimes it was hard, sometimes it was frustrating, other times it was hysterical.
Most times discipline was administered with a ‘spanking spoon’. Not one I used for cooking, I didn’t want them to cringe every time I stirred my spaghetti sauce; but a wooden one that was in a place that I had to walk to. Discipline was never given when we were angry, so walking to the spoon was a chance to cool down. If I couldn’t cool down I sent the offending child to their room until I could.
(I’ve always felt this picture perfectly displays each of our children’s personalities.)
Our youngest daughter always reminded me of Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. She was tiny and quiet and meek. Very rarely did she need to be disciplined. (Her older sister more than made up for it, but I’ll get to her in a minute.) When she was 4 years old, one of the rare occasions when Autumn needed a spanking arose. I sent her to her room to wait while I finished something I was in the middle of. As I said, she was our quiet child and she loved being in her room so I forgot about her; but she knew why she was there and decided to prepare herself.
About half an hour after being sent in, she quietly tip-toed out. She was ready to meet her doom, ready to accept her fate, ready because she had put on every single pair of underpants that she could find to avoid as much impact as possible. The wadding around her bottom was at least three inches thick. When she ran out of her panties, she put on her sisters. We died with laughter. Needless to say, she was not spanked which I think may have been her plan all along.
Her older sister is Rachel. I’ve told you ‘Rachel Stories’ before. Rachel was that one child my mother wished upon me…that, ‘I hope you get a kid just like you,’ child. She was like me, but faster and with much more energy than I ever remember having, even as a child.
Rachel didn’t ever try to disobey, she just got distracted. If I told her to stand next to me in the bank, she would for about 15 seconds. Then she’d see the velvet rope partition and try to swing on it, much to her older brother’s horror. He would immediately let me know that she was ‘DISOBEYING’. I would give her a reminder and she would again stand by my side, at least until something or someone else caught her eye. That was Rachel and we understood that. But, she did have a few moments…
One time in particular happened in the middle of our church service. Rach was a wild woman that day. I don’t know why. Cliff, an Elder in our congregation, was giving announcements in the front. Rachel, his almost 5 year old daughter, was all over the place. She was jumping on the seats, poking people through the cracks between the chairs and talking…loudly. She was a ball of unbridled energy which was not unusual. When she decided to release some of that energy on her sister, I reminded her that the ‘spoon’ was in my bag. She either didn’t care or didn’t think I’d do anything in church and so she continued.
After a few warnings, I picked Rachel up and began the long walk from the front of the church to the ladies room. From over my shoulder, and loud enough to interrupt her father’s announcements, Rachel bellowed an announcement of her own. “Somebody help me! She’s gonna spank me!”
The church erupted in laughter. I made it to the ladies room, but once again discipline was averted as I laughed so hard I cried. Unlike her sister, Rachel had no idea what she’d done, but she knew whatever it was, it worked.
And then there is our son. The one that is most like both of us. Eric is our ‘combo’ kid. I honestly do not remember ever disciplining this child, though my husband assures me it happened. He refused to disobey as I’ve shared with you before. As a teenager he gave us some mild grief, but by then he was too big to spank. I do remember a moment of frustration when I threatened him with a broom once, but still…Eric was the watchman for his sisters. He did his best to keep them in line, which was no easy feat at times. He was their protector, even against me.
On family car trips, it was difficult to discipline. We would all be tired and, most times, we didn’t want to pull over and find the spoon to spank someone, so I would threaten the kids. “If you do that again, I’m going to take off my shoe!”
Contrary to what you might think, the threat was not because my feet stink. The threat was that I was going to smack the offending child with whatever footwear I had on. Enter Eric the Defender…He would look over the seat, the only one tall enough to be able to see my feet, and give his consultation on whether or not they should continue. As I said, he was their, defender and protector, their voice of reason…”She’s only wearing flip-flops, guys. It’s okay.” This was hysterical because he was totally serious in his assessment. I do have small feet, so I guess getting hit by a size 6 flip-flop wasn’t that bad.
But really it was just not that big a deal…