Monday, December 21, 2009

Living is the Art of Loving

Does spanking work or is time out the way to go? Does "Spare the rod, spoil the child" really mean we should spank our children or is the rod figurative for discipline? I know how Super Nanny weighs in on this issue, but what's a parent to do? After putting Joy in time out for 26 consecutive 4 minute time outs (for what Super Nanny would call "back chat), I have to wonder if time out really works or not. After the last time out Joy met me at the door and said, "Look, Mommy, I re-decorated this room for you!" (The time out area, affectionately referred to as the "Naughty Spot" is our guest room...and sure enough, she had rearranged and redecorated the room for me. Don't tell Joy this, but I did give her points for constructive use of time, creativity, and multi-tasking skills.)

This whole dilemma reminds me...When I was little, about 6 or 7, we went to Grandma's for the day. (Grandma = Gigi's mother) Grandma was very crafty. She sewed. She crocheted. She poured and painted ceramics. She liked to do projects. I liked to do projects. Grandma just didn't always like me to do her projects. I was little and messy and slow and probably talked way too much. And so, while The Editor was usually included in Grandma's stuff because she was not as little and very neat and quick to pick things up and knew when to be quiet, I usually found myself looking for something else to do.

Now, Grandpa had this hand-crafted bin in the garage. He was pretty crafty himself, but in a more out-doors-ey, wood-working kind of way. This bin in the garage was full of an odd assortment of pieces of wood. Being little and messy and slow and talkative was exactly what Grandpa liked. I was welcomed with open arms. On this particular day, I went out to the garage and found a piece of wood. It was light and light colored. It was about as long as a wooden spoon, and a little bit wider than a ruler. I thought it was beautiful. I worked in the garage on that piece of wood, sanding and smoothing, for several hours. When it was perfect, I went into the house and got a Hallmark bag. Around the bag it had some pretty writing that said, "Living is the art of loving, Loving is the art
of giving" (I can't remember the rest.) I thought it was beautiful. I cut out those pretty words so that they would fit on this gorgeous piece of wood. Then I went inside and ever so sweetly asked Grandma if I could glue the words onto the wood and then coat it with a shiny seal of some kind. Of course Grandma had exactly what I needed and she must have been feeling generous that day because she set me up at a table and let me go to town.

By the time Gigi came to pick us up from Grandma's my masterpiece was finished. I gave her this work of art that I had so painstakingly worked on all day. I was trying to guess where she was going to display it in our house when we got home. I was imagining her showing it off to my dad...

She displayed it on top of our refrigerator. On top of the frig she had a little antique coffee bean grinder. The drawer that caught the ground up beans (I guess) had a little knob on it and the decorated stick balanced charmingly on that little knob. I was very proud of my handiwork and would admire it every time I walked through the kitchen.

The fridge was next to the hot water heater closet. Inside the closet was where Gigi kept the fly swatter. Do you know what else a fly swatter is good for? Swatting naughty children-- and intimidating-ly swatting furniture and door frames as you march through the house to swat a naughty child with the fly swatter. I think maybe Gigi got a little over-zealous swatting the furniture one time, on her way to swat me, no doubt, and the handle on the fly swatter broke. Woo-hoo! I thought she would retire the fly swatter and that would be the end of that. But do you know what she did? The next time she went to get that fly swatter and realized it was on the disabled list, she looked around and the first thing that fell into her line of vision was that beautiful little piece of wood that I had created for her. And from that point on, "Living is the art of loving" was applied to my naughty spot when my mom felt it was necessary.

Now, having disclosed all of this--which I am sure has given Gigi grounds to dig up that spanking stick to reinstate on me---I do have to admit that we did not get spanked very often. I was deathly afraid of my mom when she got mad. She could raise one eyebrow and I knew, I knew, I was in trouble. BIG trouble. She never really had to do anything more than give me that look. To this day she has never shared the secret of putting the Fear of God into me by one look. You'd think she would so that I could use it on my kids. But no, I flounder around, trying to figure out how to make my kids behave, vacillating on the issue of spanking, cementing myself in the top 3 contenders for Worst Mother of the Year.

I think she is withholding on purpose. I think it's payback for my naughtiness and all the trouble I gave her. When my girls do something naughty, Gigi gets that "poetic justice" gleam in her eye. Oh, well. I'll figure it out one of these days. I guess for now I will just work on my art of loving. Living is the art of loving--my a$$!

Note from Gigi: You should learn to raise one eyebrow.

Note from The Editor: You left out one part of the intimidation factor--the noise her house slippers made on the carpet...zzshzzz, zzshzzz...or something like that, the noise would be really fast when she was really mad...and this brings me to another point, why were slippers such a big part of our life, the fly-swatter connection, cs-ing, skaypuh (skipper), and what not...?

Posted by The Editor

1 comment:

  1. I'm struggling with the same time-out or not to time-out! So frustrating.


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