Monday, June 30, 2008

To Spank Or Not To Spank

Want another honest parenting article? Try this one:

So all of us parents out there have less satisfactory marriages. Uh, yeah. DUH. Raising kids ain't easy, folks. Especially on those of us who "lived a little" before the snotty noses came along (as the article interestingly and correctly states). It's about time we get some honest articles circulating about parenting. Problem is, if people take this to heart, soon we'll be like Italy and have absolutely no birthrate to speak of. Wait - who am I kidding - with Hollywood stars continuing to glamorize parenting, this won't be happening anytime soon in the USA. You know, if someone paid me $20M and I had a full-time nanny for the dirty work, I could probably glamorize parenting too. Funny how that works.

To de-glamorize parenting for the day, I had a heck of an evening with Claire. Claire (who, you'll remember, stayed up too late last night and then got up too early today) kept it together until about 4:30pm. At 4:30pm, the Brat Alarm went off in her head, and she lost it because she couldn't get the belt off a dress (the belt was sewn onto the dress). In her head, she was mad about the belt. Reality was that she was tired, probably hungry, and really upset it was another WFH Monday and the transition back to getting no attention from anyone is rough. So she lost it. I started warning her about losing stars, and she lost it even more. I told her to go to her room. She refused. She laid on the couch screaming. Then she threw a pillow at the babies, and one smacked Molly in the face. That sent me over the edge. That 'protect the babies' instinct came out and I gave in to my frustration and spanked the kid. I was so angry with her. I dragged her to her room, where she picked up every available toy and started flinging them at the walls. Another spanking. Then I left her in her room crying, until she cried herself to sleep. The babies were stunned by all the noise and screaming.

I thought the sleep would do her some good, but when Kyle got home and woke her up, she was incredibly grumpy and refused her dinner - "but I don't like pasta" [insert whine]. We basically sent her to her room with the pasta and told her to eat what she was given in her room. She refused. I told her she'd go to bed hungry tonight for the first time ever. At about 8pm, sheer hunger took over, and she ate the peaches off her plate and drank her milk. I don't think she touched the pasta. By that point, however, I was barely paying attention, as I had one foot out the door so I could blow off steam myself. I left the house and called a friend (fellow mother) so I could absolve myself of mother guilt for giving into corporal punishment. It's a rare day I stoop to the spanking level, but with behavior that bad and being too much in the moment myself, I couldn't figure out some other effective way to stop her tantrum. And I admit (cringe), that yes, sometimes with a kid as feisty as mine that it feels good to remind her who is boss. If only for a fleeting moment. Until the crushing guilt sets in.

And I am continually amazed how the care of infant twins can be overshadowed (in terms of effort and frustration) by a 3-year-old. Claire is one mighty force to reckon with if I think the twins can be a breeze compared to her. And today the twins were a breeze. I suppose I can be thankful they weren't cranky too.

Up Next: what should have been a "break" at work tomorrow is now likely another WFH day, though I'll have help. New help though. The nanny had a death in the family so she offered up her friend to help me this week. I will likely stay home with her tomorrow to show her the ropes so that I can go into the office on Thursday. So no break for me tomorrow. It'll be a tougher day than normal trying to juggle job, cleaning lady, new babysitter, and the kids. In a word, chaos.

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