Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Eye of the Tiger

While our family were certainly not contenders for Mommy Dearest II, I will say my parents did not fear corporal punishment when needed. I got much less than I ever earned or deserved. What, me with my skills of inquisition (questioning) and rhetoric (talking back.)

The idea of spanking takes on an entirely new vantage point when you become a parent. As the mom of a freshly two year old, we are blessed because he is relatively easy going. That being said, our repertoire of learning about each other has recently included that I am NOT to use the blue spoon when the orange spoon or the cowboy spoon is top choice. But looking at this little wunderkind, the idea of spanking as a deterrent causes me two issues.

One, he has a little sparkplug of a boy in his class who has apparently learned from older siblings that the resolution to all struggle and strife is hitting or pushing. Said lessons have now been shared with our son’s entire class and some of them have picked right up on it which is natural. Our son has practiced his kung fu like moves on us more than once. We teach him that hitting is not nice, and it hurts people’s feelings. How am I to explain to him that hitting is not ok, except Mommy and Daddy get a special pass? And how could I get him to understand that spanking is not the same as hitting so spanking is allowed? Or God forbid, the Archie Bunker methodology that “this actually hurts me more than it hurts you.” Because by the way, it doesn’t.

In my house, “no hitting” was never a mantra. In fact, when a boy in 3rd grade hit me and took my color crayons, my Dad said “you get hit, you hit back.” Not the message we teach now, and god bless the age of pre-litigious society. The second reason I am not ready to sign up for spanking as form of punishment is because in retrospect, spanking never worked on me. And I highly doubt it worked on my husband either. If anything, it only made us more clever (and probably quicker to dart out of the way of swinging paw headed towards the buttkus). We are so very lucky that our son seems destined to be the opposite of us in terms of sass and stubbornness. Oh, the irony is not lost on any of our parents.

So for now, the spanking is not on the table. However, a new twist has appeared on the radar. When previously mentioned Sparkplug hit my son, in front of me. I could only patiently wait while my tongue was severly clamped down in my own teeth while one of the teachers addressed it. I had sympathy for Sparkplug because, well, he is only two, and surely he should be taught frequently about right and wrong. But we began to notice a pattern. Sparkplug likes to hit, and push, and does it fairly often.

One day after my son cascaded down a small slide on the playground, thanks to Sparkplugs deft and catlike moves, part of me thought “this is a component of children learning to co-exist” but, I have to admit I heard that Rocky theme song popping. I clearly can not pass along the cave man lecture about hitting back to a TWO year old but it is a sight to sit back and watch. I hope I always employ the grace and dignity to teach our son to handle his business like a gentleman but we will see what happens the day he comes home with a black eye and I go all hells bells at the bus stop. We'll see who is in time out then.

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