Monday, February 22, 2010

Go Get A Switch From That Tree!

I remember the old days when kids revered and respected their elders.  Remember those days?  When Mr. Sam or Mrs. Esther down the block could tell you to behave, hey, they could even spank you if you were out of line and then tell your parents before you could even wrap it around your mind to sassy-mouth them and say, "I'm gonna tell my mama!"

 Remember those days when kids were respectful of their elders and understood the meaning of discipline, honor, respect, and just plain behaving?

I wanted to tell not only my daughter, my son, but my grandson's mother to go out back and cut a switch down from the tree so they could get an old fashioned spanking!

You remember the ones that left your behind a little stingy and your eyes a little misty but you tried your hardest to not cry.  The ones where your mother was out-of-breath from preaching to you about the evils of disobedience while you two did this funny one arm dance around the family room.  You know the ones you went upstairs to your bedroom and padded your bottom with extra layers of clothes to cushion the blow.  The ones where it was really not about them hitting you because as a mother, I know what they meant when they used to say, "this hurts me more than it hurts you."  As I kid I just thought they were tormenting me with that taunt.  They were teaching moments.

Remember the saying, "spare the rod, spoil the child."  It is so true.  Even as every modern mother I know probably swore to herself that "when I get big, I will NEEEEEVVVVVVEEEERRRRR spank my child."  And then they grew up and had a child!

I wanted to get that switch more times than I can count this weekend.


I have an eight year old daughter who has already managed to develop her pouty teenager stare and slow move to commands that "made me want to snatch a knot in her head."  That girl moves like molasses in the heat of a Mississippi summer.  Getting her to go to bed on time is like trying to get the bankers to stop taking money from the US consumer.  Then the girl is like dead weight in the morning.

Her father will tell her, "listen to your mother."  And then she pontificates on how it is so "unfair" that we are making her got to bed at a decent time or wake up to go to school.  Made me wonder why we were in the suburbs,  "girl, don't start with me!"

Today, I got down on her level, held her fat cheeks in my hands, looked her in the eye, and told her she would not be disrespectful.  I told her she better watch her mouth or find herself on the other side of a Mississippi butt whooping in the upstairs bathroom.

She looked at me, lowered her eyes, and sat down quietly, "yes ma'am."

We do not spank our children as a rule, certainly not as much as I got growing up.  But I do believe there are times when they need a good old-fashioned reminder that they are children and not grown. They do not have rights to be disrespectful or disobedient.  That is some mess that came up in the last twenty-five years from members of Generation X who were just pouty and disobedient teenagers.  What do you mean you can't spank a child anymore?  Hmpf!

And the results of a bunch of undisciplined children?  Metal detectors in the schools because they want to bring weapons to school, pregnancy pacts among both black and white teenager girls, and little girls calling grown women a "bitch" because she didn't like the reprimand.  Kids speaking to their parents like the parent is the child.  And for what?  Because we want little Johnny to feel like he has a voice?  Please, the only voice he needs is to say "Yes sir" "Yes Ma'am" or "No sir" "No Ma'am."

What happened to society?

I thought it was just a low class thing, it was a shock to my system when this girl called me outside my name because I told her we wanted a paternity test.  She text that to me in all caps.  Lucky for her I was not in her city.  She called herself trying to make a threat or something because she wanted money for the baby.  She just doesn't know what is behind this nice exterior.  I dialed the number and instead of her answering, she hid behind her mother.  I had to have a talk with her mother and no more disrespectful text messages have come my way.  Sometimes we just have to go mama-to-mama on these kids!

Then my teenage son decided he was not going to do his chores and act like little lord fauntleroy and not do  anything.  I reached down and grabbed the first thing I saw - a plastic hanger - and popped him on his arms. "Ouch mama!"  I had to remind him that he was still a kid, even if he is almost taller than I am.  "Yes, ma'am."

Again I thought, where is my switch?  There would have been sore behinds around here last night.

Instead, my daughter went to bed, my son cleaned the toilet, and the girl, well, I will see her next week,

Maybe I will find a tree along the way and bring it with me, just to remind me of the good old days.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Day

This morning I woke up to the unusual quiet of my son still in bed.  Usually this kid is racing up and down the stairs getting ready for school.  This does not happen miraculously, it is after the heavy pounding of my husband's fist on his bedroom door, followed by his deep commands to "get ready for school."  None of that assaulted my dreams this morning.  I woke up at 6:38am and decided to skip my now morning routine of working out beside my bed.  I jumped in the shower and when I came out, still quiet.  What was going on?

I dressed - makeup and hair - and opened the bedroom door, even my husband was quiet downstairs.  A knock on the teen's bedroom door was met with quiet.  I opened the door, "Hey Joshua!  It is 6:54am!  Get up and get ready for school."  "Ma, we don't have school, snow day."  "No Joshua, there is school."  "Ma, really, they called...didn't you hear the phone???"  I looked at him quizzically and wondered if I was sleeping that soundly.  "Open your balcony blinds and let me see."  He did and I saw the winter wonderland.  "Ok, well, go back to sleep."

Just as I was closing his bedroom door, the six year old woke up, rubbing her eyes and begging me to stay right there with her while she washed up.  "Snow day," I tell her.  "YES!!!!" She did that six-year-old closed eye yell pulling her fist down in victory.  "I just knew it!!!!"  I smiled at her and wondered what I would have them do today.

We walked downstairs to my husband sitting on the sofa diligently watching the school closings run along the bottom of the morning news, the Today Show just getting underway.  "Joshua said they had a snow day."  "I'm not sure," he says, "that was Ladue that called."  "Oh."  I watched with baited breath and when they got to the "Ks"...there was silence.  At the same time he was watching the news, I was facebooking and no sooner did I turn around, my teacher friend said there was school.  Then the news raced past what should have been Kirkwood's place in the area school closings.

My husband raced up the stairs and pounded on Joshua's door, it is now 7:10am.  "Get up, I will take you to school."

There was a flurry of racing up and down the stairs as the two of them got ready, went out and cleaned off about 4 inches of snow off the cars.  Oh well, school today.

Then my eight year old woke up.  "This is just so NOT fair!"  "Well, honey, you have to go to school."  She sat on the floor of her bedroom, defeated, and frowning.  Her sister was already dressed and cheerfully exclaimed, "Well, I LOVE school."  I guess it is easier when you are in half-day kindergarten (translation, 2 1/2 hours of school).  "It is just not right, second graders have rights, our parents have rights, and you have the right to say we have a snow day," my daughter quips as she looks in her closet for clothes.  "No, honey, you have to get ready, get dressed and come down for breakfast."

I went back downstairs to finish making my morning latte and see what I had to work on today.  The six year old was eating her dry cereal (allergic to milk) and chipper.  The eight year old came down frowning.  Her protests got even more urgent as she opened the balcony blinds and saw the winter wonderland shining in the sun.  "Look at all this snow!!!"

We made it through breakfast and even managed to get out of the house in a reasonable time, all to her protests.  I reminded her that the new superintendent was from Iowa and like Chicago, they almost NEVER closed school for snow.  "Well, he just does not know how we do things," replied the eight year old.

She actually wrote a protest letter from herself and the second graders in her classroom.  She was going to circulate a petition and have her friends ask that the next time there is 3-4 inches of snow, Kirkwood should close school just like everyone else did.  

I will have to wait until school is out to find out if there was massive eight year old protest about the denial of a snow day.  She had me literally laughing out loud as she launched her logical reasons why school should be cancelled.  "We have RIGHTS!!!!"

Oh well, it won't happen today and hopefully this will be the last big snow of the season.  She is not happy.  I guess she will just have to save her protesting for third grade...and a snow day in the future.