Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Break the Rod, Spare the Child?

I'm just going to come right out and say it...

We wooden spoon our children.

I know, I know... scandal, controversy, hitting teaches hitting, blah blah blah blah BLAH... trust me when I say we would DEFINITELY prefer not to. We went back and forth on the whole 'spanking' conviction for a long time, but in the end it seems to be what works best (by 'best' I mean 'at all') for disciplining our children (particularly our eldest.)

Now, I don't mean to say we wander thru the neighborhood with a wooden spoon sticking out of our back pockets waiting for them to sneeze without covering their mouths or anything. The spoon is reserved for only the most severe and blatant offenses, or repeated bad behavior in a particular area. It is always in private, and there is always a warning in advance.

Case and point: bedtime.

Tyson and I have always prided ourselves on our bedtime routine. From infancy, the drill has been the same, bath, bottle, bed... and now baths, bedtime stories, we say our prayers, and bed by 7:30-8 (average). Generally speaking up to this point, it all goes pretty smoothly and the kids drift off seamlessly. But recently... oh, my. Its turned ugly.

The kids get in bed... and immediately start their demands of more ice water, I have to go potty, I can't hear my music, Bach scares me!, and then when that gets old DING, round 2 starts, consisting of jeers at each other thru their bedroom walls, insult hurling ("Psssst! Anabelle! YOU'RE A BABY!" "NOOOO, Im NOOOOOT a baby!, WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! DAWSON! YOU'RE a BAD GUY!" "NO!, im NOOOOT!, and so on), and final round generally involves sneaking out of bed to taunt and prod each other in the flesh until the giggles turn to tears and they're both caught red handed and sent back to exile in their respective padded cells.

Enter: wooden spoon doctrine. First, they get a warning. Then, they get the hall light turned off. Last, they get the spoon. Pretty generous system, you might think... and yet, lately we've had to put quiiiite a few miles on good old Woody.

The other night, I came home from having dinner with my Mom, and Ty was sitting in the living room working on his laptop... with the wooden spoon laying split in half in the middle of the living room floor.

Apparently, it had been 'one of those nights' with the bedtime drill. Also, I should mention... our wooden spoons are the super light weight long handled kind you find at upscale cooking stores, such as Dollar General. We've had them over a year, and they go thru the dishwasher a lot. Its not like he actually broke a spoon beating our children, but they symbolism was slightly humorous in the moment.

Fast forward to this beautiful Fall day, when we are enjoying a gorgeous morning outside... the birds are chirping, the sun is shining... the babies are screaming, the voices are taunting, I am covered in baby spit and peanut butter as usual... and over the chaos, I head Dawson shouting to the neighbor kid (for the SECOND time) that he is 'going to stab' him (they were acting with these little army guys. Well, the David and Goliath army guys, to be exact).

In Dawson's defense... he had NO idea what it meant, we talked about it later. The neighbor kid had actually said it to him first ( I heard it with my own ears), and I'm positive it was the first time he had ever heard the phrase and he was just trying it out because it sounded cool. He just thought it was something you should say to someone in the sense of 'fighting and action heroes...' which he is very in to at the moment, but STILL. Not acceptable, ever, and especially after a warning.

I leaped from my chair and grabbed his hand, herded him into the house preaching my canned sermon about how he had been warned and I didn't have a choice, I had to use the spoon... when he stopped dead in his tracks, shook his arm free, stared up and me and shot back,

"You can't spoon me, MOM!, Dad already BROKE it on me!"

And from the way he said it... I could tell he had been waiting for a long time to be able to remind me that he had vanquished the wooden beast once and for all, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Nothing except get its evil clone out of the kitchen drawer, that is.

Still, nice try, don't you think?


Beatrice Blount said...

haha! Woody...

The Bitchy Wife said...

Haha when Steph and I were growing up, it was our Dad who usually did the spanking. However, sometimes our Mom tried it when he wasn't home or if she didn't really think it deserved a spanking quite as severe as he administered.

When my Mom spanked, it was more for the principle of the matter...she was mad but she never really spanked us hard enough for it to hurt. Bad move, Mom.

I remember one time she was spanking me with a metal spatula. I remember laughing at her and saying, "That didn't hurt!" So she did it harder, and I repeated my taunt. We went back and forth with this until she realized she didn't have the heart to beat the crap out of my like I deserved.

I think she went into her room to cry. Oh, man, the karma with interest that I would receive if I ever had kids...

Word of wisdom: You're going to need a bigger, heavier, stronger spoon when they get older :)

Steph said...

Ha yes I remember a few things about spankings and growing up. First of all, when I was a kid, they would spank you at the Daycare at Kennedy Gym, Preschool, and NCCS. I was never spanked at any of those places, but I witnessed a few. It was usually just a swat or a few and the kids would never cry. So... I got it in my head that I was never going to cry.

Melinda would start crying the second she heard we were going to be spanked and would be wailing after the first swat (smart move). And I would sit there determined not to show any emotions at all... just brandishing this "bring it on bitches" attitude. NOT A GOOD PLAN.

My other memory is similar to what Melinda wrote above. My mom couldn't bear to hit us with her hands and one day we had done something or another and she decided we deserved a spanking and told us to stand by the couch and wait. I think I was about 7 and Mel 5. So, she came out of the kitchen with a ruler and I told her

"mom, you can't use THAT, it has a metal edge."

"oh" and she goes back in the kitchen and returned with a riding crop

"mom thats CHILD ABUSE"

"stay there!" as she went back and came out with a whisk or something as equally ridiculous.

"are you kidding?????"


and we did and laughed that we once again escaped mwahahaha

Anonymous said...

Tell T not to feel bad. The other night was a bad get to bed night at our house and while spanking the eldest, our dishwasher worn spoon broke as well... only the handle broke in half. Hmmmm... I could have turned it around and used it as a spear. Not really. I'm gonna stab you! NO Dawson. Don't teach Miss Kari bad things.

Beth McDermott said...

Hahahahah, Yes, I think stabbing miiiiiiight undercredit the whole purpose of the spooning in the first place. But very thought provoking just the same. Maybe we are more like children ourselves than we care to admit... ;)