Can’t you just spank me or something?

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When Chris and I used to sit in his old black truck, watching the waves at the beach in Gloucester, we would have discussions about child rearing.  Of course at nineteen we knew a lot about child rearing, since I had siblings and my husband used to “help” his ex girlfriend babysit.  We had decided we would have two children.  A boy named Mark and a girl named Melissa.  Due to our expert parenting skills, they would be rarely punished since they would be too busy being perfect.

Okay, well, we did have two children named Mark and Melissa.  At least we got that part right.  We did decide that we would not use our parents versions of discipline.  There would not be spankings, no going to bed without dinner and no lecturing until the child would willingly spank themselves so it would all end.

First came the time out chair.  It was a tiny wooden chair in happy kid colors in whatever corner it could fit in.  The idea was that the tiny offender would sit there for however many minutes according to their age.  Then they would get up, give us a hug and move on. At least that is what all the books and Super Nanny said would happen.  They were very wrong.  It took an hour to chase the accused and carry him/her to the chair. Another hour to get them to stay in the chair.  Add on a good forty minutes for the child to stop screaming, writhing, and spitting.  There was no hug after either.  I was too tired and twitchy, also, the children were still angry with me.

Mark and Melissa are thirteen and ten now.  Time out chair is long gone.  Next came, “Go to your room!”  Once the children got past the breaking of our doors, cursing so loud that my neighbors still don’t understand why someone was calling them an asshole, they discovered they enjoyed their room time.  Did not matter if we stripped all fun out of the room.  They used their imagination and had a splendid punishment.  When I explained this to the therapists and counselors, they suggested removing whatever the children loved best for a period of time.

Thus came the Casey Media/Technology War.  There were no survivors.  Mark and Melissa had a hard time understanding why the devices I gave for rewards were now removed for punishments.  My son became experienced in hacking.  My daughter started an underground device smuggling ring.  Then I noticed something.  A few times when I was sick, Chris enforced the rule that Mom could choose any TV shows she wished.  Melissa would turn green while we all viewed Rock of Ages, Grease and Evita.   One time when I was ill and feeling sadistic I forced the family to watch the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo marathon.  The horror on Mark’s face was priceless.

A week ago Mark was really on my nerves.  Teasing his sister relentlessly, snapping at everyone, rudeness and not listening.  I waited until he threw himself on the couch, I tucked him under three blankets very tightly then grabbed the remote control.  On one of the Spanish channels I found a show called 12 Corazones, show is painful enough, add-on the fact that none of us speak or understand Spanish.  I left this on and went to cook dinner.  I could hear Mark hollering from the living room, “What fresh hell is this?  There is a man hitting another with a rubber chicken!  What are they saying?  Why am I seeing this?  If I say I am sorry can you change this?”  Chris and I told him he had to watch the entire show as his punishment.   By the time the show ended, he was begging us to spank him rather than ever make him see something like that again.

A few days later Melissa was the offender and was sentenced to a half hour of Teletubbies.  She offered to clean the whole house rather than sit through that again.  I think we have found our answer for discipline!  Oh, by the way, remember when I said that we would never use any techniques our parents had subjected us to?  I clearly remember being a teen, being a smart ass, and having to watch Brady Bunch specials with my father as punishment.  Once when I was really bad, I had to watch the Godfather series.  ::shudders::

Slacker Mom Makes Resolutions.

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I have decided to make some resolutions for 2013.

My first and most important resolution is to do something just for me.  I will ignore any guilt I may feel for this because it has become a necessity now.  I am determined to get to the Lady Grace store, get properly sized for a bra and purchase the right one regardless of cost.  No longer will I wear my mother’s old sports bra that has turned gray through years of washing.  No longer will I wear this bra that only holds my breasts a half-inch above my navel!!!

Next resolution is to force my children to learn some responsibility.  I will no longer be the only one who knows where the toilet paper lives!  My children will learn the secrets of how the drinks get into the cups, how snacks land in bowls and the dark forces that magically cleans the clothing.  They will discover the place where I keep the broom and mop.  The wonders of how sheets get on beds, and the horrors of how ferret poop goes “away”.

The next resolution is I plan to drag my thirteen year old son kicking and screaming into a social life.  I will be an evil mother by making him go to the movies with his friends.  Imagine the cruel ways I will get him to the arcade with other boys he chats with at school and online!!

Another resolution has to do with my ten-year old daughter.  Aspergers and learning disability be damned!  Somehow I will help Melissa to tell her teachers how she feels, help her reach into herself and find the self-esteem and strength she so desperately needs right now.  It breaks my heart to watch her struggle.  She says to me, “I was playing with my friend, but I don’t understand why he is mad at me now?”  She will say, “girls in my class are nothing like me, they whisper and I wonder if they are talking about how different I am?”  I will research more, will find that pathway into her, discover the right words to say that will help her.

Last resolution is the hardest.  I will stop feeling guilty and apologize for who I am.  Yes, I know I am a bit overweight.  Oh well.  I wasn’t planning on modeling anyway.  Yeah, I cut my hair real short and dyed it purple.  Not an appropriate look for a forty-year old stay at home mom….well, then close your eyes when you pass by.  As for the stay at home mom bit…doesn’t make me a loser, lazy or an underachiever.  I chose to be with my special needs children because I felt it was best for them.  When I do work out of the home I am a professional monster.  Again probably wrong for a stay at home, forty-year old wife and mom.  Well, everyone has a hobby, mine happens to be causing fear…if you don’t approve this is not my problem.

My other profession/hobby is writing.  I mainly write humor, it is dark humor, it usually involves my family life.  If it sounds distasteful, or you feel that its wrong that we live the way we do, if you feel I should not put such things in print, then don’t read it.  If you feel writing lice articles for Parent magazines doesn’t count as professional work or a real achievement, well its mine.  I do feel its an achievement.   Try writing while two children are trying to get your attention, a ferret is biting your leg and you feel the pressure of household chores that need to be done and there are only minutes left before dinner has to be started!

My house gets really cluttered.  Its dusty in many places.  Sometimes I cannot find my table or my sink.  On occasion my laundry overtakes the kitchen.  I swear.  A lot.  My husband has installed a swear jar and now he is rich and I am so poor that I have to stuff IOU’s into the stupid jar!  There are days when I never make it to the shower or get anything on my chore list done!  These are the times when my children or husband need me most.  Which is more important?  That the house is neat and organized.  Or that I managed to keep my son out of the Hunt psychiatric ward?  That I held my daughter while she threw up for hours on end?  Made sure that my husband got to the Emergency room and held his hand when a surgeon talks to him about possibly losing a piece of his intestine?

I let my ten-year old daughter dye her hair pink and blonde.  She is allowed to dress in Gothic, glittery clothing.  She went to see Resident Evil with her Dad.  Horror movies are a part of life for all here.  My son has long blonde hair that goes halfway down his back and all the way down his face.  He watches American Dad and Family Guy.  Loves the Walking Dead and Friday the 13th.  His diet consists of chicken tenders, french fires, potato wedges, carrot muffins, yogurt drinks, juices, apples and the occasional shredded cheese in a hard corn taco shell.

In spite of this, both kids are healthy and happy.  Mark’s report card has mostly B pluses and some A’s.  He has every intention of going to college.    Melissa has made it to the regular class curriculum and has joined chorus.  She loves to make cartoons and is immersing herself in art.  Her new interest is learning how to make videos and movies, using everything from dolls to humans to ferrets.  Both kids love their parents and know how much they are loved back.  They have been told that we were blessed by them.  That our lives would be empty without them.  I am a slacker mom, but for that….I am a good one.  I will give no apology for the way we live or for who we are.  I am proud of my husband and children.  They have struggled and gone through some terrible things, yet here they are, climbing upwards and I will continue to hold them up from underneath.

Have a Happy New Year!