Friday, February 23, 2007

Spank My Baby One More Time

Britney is on everyone’s lips with her poor little weird head and antics but I don’t really have anything to say about Britney, I just gave my header a flavor of Brit to show that I am aware of misbehaving moms, whoever and wherever they may be.

But what I really wanted to mention is that California has decided to drop its move to make spanking one’s kids illegal, viz.
Yay! Now I can move to California, which is one of the dreams I indulge in from time to time here in Wyoming. For a while, though, my dream was put aside what with Assemblywoman Sally Lieber and Arnie Schwarzenegger letting me know that tot-spanking would land my sorry bum in jail (where IT would likely be spanked by a big bay area dyke with keychain hanging off her jeans, no?).

I admit it. Sometimes I spank Astrid. I am a Spankmommy. Do I “believe” in spanking? I don’t. I also don’t believe in wearing purple robes (or purple anything); nor do I believe in being mean to one’s really fantastic breadwinner husband; nor do I believe in eating lunch standing up, but these are all things that I do. And there are moments when I have and do spank Astrid, albeit not very effectively, with light taps on inward-arcing diapered bottom –the sort of weak hand-flaps that don’t do much of anything. But occasionally I slap a bare leg to sting. Occasionally I slap and mean it.

1.making as if to run in the road. = hard spank on leg. We live right on the road and this sort of spanking is when I feel no pain about inflicting pain.
Spanking scenario #2: we are having terrible trouble and have been for months with getting A to go to bed and stay in bed. We have tried it all: we plead, shout, reward, punish by taking things away (such as precious indispensable Baby Tony), cajole, soothe, and on and on and on it goes, night after night, out she comes, over and over and twenty times over…smiling, walking, crawling out of her bedroom. She is trying to break us. We know this. We know that one is meant to put them back in the bed without making eye contact even if that means doing it 20 times a night for two months. But we lose it often. And then one of us spanks. C’est ca. That is apparently who we are as parents, Michael and I. Other spanking scenes: sliding on ice in grocery parking lot, clutching baby who is hitting me in the face. This phase has thankfully come and gone, but when you are boiling in your winter jacket and your tot is doing a weird j-move under your arm, about to kill herself and you, you might just be like me and…lose your temper. Or as we say in South Africa, you give a "blimming good hiding."

Back to the proposed smacking ban of Sally Lieber, and Arnold Schwarzenegger who apparently supported it: I understand the root of the law is to protect abused children from their abusive belt-walloping moms and dads, but when I hear "California to Ban Spanking," I am sorry, it just makes my hand itch. I want to paddle somebody’s bottom. Like being in a no-smoking bar makes me IMMEDIATELY wish to smoke two cigarettes at the same time, like Bill Murray on the diving board in Rushmore. And especially with regard to Arnie, if I were him, I too would not spank my kids. I wouldn’t need to. Just looking at Dad if dad is Arnold Schw. must surely be akin to being spanked, given that Dad is the Terminator.

But frankly, I am relieved that the law isn’t going to go through, and not just because I like to think I will be welcome in San Francisco. It’s because I think pretty much everyone in California could use a good spanking, including silly governors and assemblypeeps. Come on, Californians need to be spanked. They ask for it. And we all know what they are like when they don’t get it. In fact I think they should make a law that says that everyone in California should be spanked at least once. Mandatory spanking in California. Because California may be cool and great and beautiful and full of wise tolerant people and organic farming and so forth, but I think a little tiny slap or two is just the ticket to balance everyone out and make the place yin-yang perfect.

Anyhoo, I am just glad that now I don’t have to love Wyoming again. Babyslapper that I am, I can go back to my fantasies about heading westward to cool cities where people actually listen to music as opposed to turning on the satellite TV for music -- and don’t go out to evening dinners in puffy pink Cloudveil "shells" (light skiwear, for those who aren’t in the know).

Okay. So tongue out of cheek for a moment. Do I think I am a good parent for spanking Astrid on those nights when I do? I feel horrible. I know I am setting a double-standard. I tell her we don’t hit our friends or our mommies but Mommy can sometimes hit Astrid. Even though it makes Mommy “berry berry sad” (yes, I’m one of those who talk to them as they talk to me). But the truth is, while I know I am being a bit shite in this arena of child-rearing it all comes back to the lazy impatient self that I am. I have not evolved as a mom, at least not yet. I just can’t do what Astrid is asking of me; namely, resist the urge to deal with her in the short-term, which will in turn have long-term benefits. But I am a short-term type. Whereas Astrid is all about patience and control and self-discipline, even though she is only two. Witness how she deals with her treats: she gets one gummi bear every day for potty-related matters. She receives it, sniffs it, then tucks it into her hot little fist for HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS. Sometimes she nests it between her toes. Or puts the gummi beneath a tiny scrap of fabric and lets it take a nap. Does she eat it? Eventually, when we tell her we will either take it or she must eat it because it is time to clean teeth.

As for me, I am the opposite. If there are gummi bears around I will eat the whole bag instantly in one sitting, even if my teeth-holes hurt (and they always do); even if my jaw sort of locks and I feel ill. In they go. On and on.

Thusly do I conclude, with irony: sometimes toddlers are very self-controlled and deliberate and and sometimes their moms are the opposite. What to do when one’s toddler is very self-controlled? Why, whack her apparently, you out-of-control momster! And that's where we are, in this house. On a bad night, we go through the motions of trying to solve problems non-violently until Mom or Dad snaps. The toddler gets spanked. Everyone is berry sad. Then we all go to sleep and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.


nikki said...

Hilariosly funny and extremely cleverly observed, Crabmommy uses real-life scenarios to explore the whens and whys of Spanking. She debates the more tricky issues involved in childrearing in this millennium – discipline, double standards, reward and punishment – with insight, wisdom and, above all, honesty and humour. Delightful! said...

This is too friggin' funny! I usually only laugh at my own jokes (I know, it probably says something bad about me, but I don't care). I'll be back :)

Jege (Jen) said...

I just re-read this and man, I SOOO identify with this part:

"Like being in a no-smoking bar makes me IMMEDIATELY wish to smoke two cigarettes at the same time, like Bill Murray on the diving board in Rushmore".

Love. LOVE!!!!

Anonymous said...

You can write 10 paragraphs about it, but what it boils down to is that you hit your child. Maybe if you had an abusive parent, you wouldn't be so quick to slap your child's bare leg. I live right on a road too. I don't have to hit my 3 year old son to get him to stay out of the road. Maybe you should think about why you have to, and I'll give you a hint, it doesn't have a thing to do with your daughter.

Crabmommy said...

It's always interesting when people are bold enough to leave testy comments on a person's personal website, yet too cowardly to sign as anything other than "anonymous." Well, Anonymous, I keep my comments open, even when people stop by with the sort of judgmental claptrap you bring. Crabmommy passes judgment too but I like to think i have a bit of common sense and a sense of humor. Smacking my child on the leg when she darted for the street: according to you I'm meant to look deep into my soul and find the flaw. According to me, I'm glad my kid will think twice about running into the street again. That's all.

Angela said...

Gosh, I don't want to be "cowardly". So here I am. But I won't bother you again with my judgmental claptrap. I made a commitment when I had a child to raise him in a peaceful household where no one hits, and I won't apologize for that, and I certainly won't spend any more time arguing with you about it.

Amanda said...

Angela, I commend you for putting your name up. Just to say, I don't ask you to apologize for your childrearing practices. But I won't apologize for mine either. This is my blog, and I like to keep things light and tongue-in-cheek over here. If you don't like it, that's certainly your prerogative. Maybe find something elsewhere you'd enjoy more.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 2 1/2 and I spank her very rarely. If you want to avoid spanking (and I do) you must make the spanking memorable. Swatting a diapered toddler with your hand is pointless. When I spank I take her diaper off and use a ping pong paddle. She never repeats something after she's been spanked for it.