I confess to every mother everywhere that I believe situations arise during the child rearing years that caused me to resort to the use of corporal punishment. I don’t mean taking a whip to my kids or anything crazy like that, but a swat on the padded bottom or other such action I believe were justified. I’ll leave it up to you as to how you feel about my actions of the distant past.
It all started with my eldest daughter Lynn. She was about nine months old and was crawling around the floor, playing with her toys when I was cooking in the kitchen. I went to the bathroom because nature was calling and as I turned the corner I saw my toddler trying to stick her tongue in the electric outlet! My first reaction was that I must be seeing things, but all too quickly I realized that she could kill herself by doing this! I lunged… I mean lunged across the floor and swatted her away from the wall. She rolled across the floor like a bowling ball I hit her so hard. She started to scream and adrenaline was coursing through my veins. I didn’t have time to reason with a baby. I felt I needed to save her life.
Then there was the time that Lynn had caused the problem.
We lived in a huge falling apart Victoria (I think I mentioned this before) and we had a two-car garage off the basement that had a veranda with a huge roof over it. If we locked the gate to the stairs going down to the driveway, it became this great big “Playpen.” It was really great because the kitchen was right off of this so I could cook, wash dishes, and watch what was going on with the kids as they played together on the porch.
As I’m washing some pots and pans I look up just in time to see my then, two and a half year old pick up her one and a half year old’s bottle full of formula. She walks up behind her and hits her in the head with all her might with the bottle! I almost jump through the window and the younger one hits the deck and is almost cold cocked by the blow! So what do I do? I run out on the porch and come up behind her and clock her up side the head as the saying goes.
“Do you like that? Do you like getting hit like that?”
I’m manic! Now I have two screaming kids. Adrenaline is still pumping.
There weren’t many incidents like this when they were growing up (thank God), but there was one other one that I will always remember. And it happens to revolve around Kate. (You know where this one is going daughter!)
I received a call from one of my artistic cousins who worked a job designing artwork for bedding and sleeping bags. She knew I could help her out in a crunch if she fell behind with her freelance work, so she gave me a call. The job was to lay in the colors for a sleeping bag that was six or seven feet long with a drawing of a scene from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Only problem was…. I only had the weekend to do it and FedEx it back to NYC. She sent all the paints and the velum that was used to make the painting and all I had to do was paint like paint by number to fill in the colors. It was painstakingly detailed and it was to be produced in a water-based paint.
Now the one thing that you have to be REALLY careful with around water-based paint is… WATER! And it took me about 15 hours of work to paint this thing and I was ready to pack it up and get it ready for an early Monday morning FedEx pickup. I was deliriously tired, but was happy to make the extra money when all of a sudden my young teenage Katie walks into the room. And you guessed it… she’s carrying a water glass filled to the brim into the room.
“Kate! Get that the heck out of here! Get out of here!
I can’t have that glass NEAR this thing!”
As she rolls her eyes as teens do, “Oh Mom… don’t worry…”
And with that, the glass slips through her hand and hits the floor with the flat of the bottom, which produced a fountain like affect which lands all over my just completed painting! There are now dots, hundreds of water dots, all over the artwork, and it’s noon on Sunday!
I don’t think Katie knew that my reaction would be as harsh as it was. We had a swinging door into the dining room from the kitchen and I grabbed her by the shoulders and tossed her through it screaming, “Get OUT OF HERE!!”
I never slept that night. I don’t know how I made the deadline because I was toast by the time I finished it AGAIN! But I’ll leave this little confession to all of you to decide whether I was right or wrong in my actions. And I hope that none of you have to deal with these kinds of things while your babies are growing up.
Love ya Kate!