Tag Archives: discipline

A Kiss Before Bedtime

A wonky wireless home networking system kept me from doing any kind of post last night, and the in-and-out connection has been playing havoc with me today, too.

I will probably post another installment of the Cleansed By Fire novel sometime today, if the gods of the Internet are kind to me, but here’s a quickie post to make up for having posted nothing yesterday and to give you something if you aren’t a sci-fi fan.

Mrs. Blue doesn’t like it when I ascribe semi-diabolic  motives to Little Girl Blue’s actions. She’s agreeing me with more often than she used to now when I point out such things, but I remember in the past year or so many, many times when I would suggest our little girl was playing us a bit, and I would get the stank eye in return from the wife.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My 3-year-old is not some devil child. She is challenging at times, but she’s also loving. And she’s whip-smart. To a certain degree, I like seeing that she has enough intellectual power to find subtle and tricky ways to get what she wants. I have to stay one step ahead of her, and that sometimes wears out my own brain, but I’d rather have that than a child who goes into brain-shutdown/drool mode in front of the TV on a regular basis.

The latest trick in her book is asking for a kiss at bedtime.

No, no, you don’t understand.

It’s not the kiss goodnight that’s a problem. I’m more than happy to give out one or even several kisses and hugs as I lay her down in bed.

It’s when she gets up, 5 minutes later and I ask, “Why are you up?” and she says she wants to give me a kiss. And I do. And I tell her she must go to bed and stop getting up. Five minutes later, she needs to give me another kiss, or a hug. And so on.

Now, she will from time to time say she needs a damp cloth to wipe her eyes, or another drink of water, but by and large, she will whip out the extra affection as an excuse to get up more often than not these days.

And this poses a real challenge for me as a loving father.

I know she’s stalling and trying to put off going to bed. And she probably enjoys yanking me out of my office every 5 minutes too, since it’s right next to her bedroom and it’s not like we can let daddy do his thing. 😉 But the real quandary for me is this:

I don’t feel right saying, “No, you can’t have a kiss.” Nor do I feel good scolding her about delaying her sleep after I give her one, even though I sometimes have to.

And she’s smart enough to know this, which is why she added this trick to her arsenal. She found an excuse that at least partially defuses my ability to get cross with her. Oh, sure, I eventually do reach a point at which I may have to threaten to deep-six one of her Dora DVDs or something, but for the most part, she gets to delay her bedtime (which is already way late by most family standards) and give me very little room to operate in a disciplinarian mode.

Like, I said, this girl is smart.

It’s that kind of skill that might serve her very well in life as she figures out how to navigate the hell that is other people (other annoying people at least…I’m not such a misanthrope that I think all people are trouble). But it’s going to give me some headaches, and many gray hairs, until she begins harnessing those skills for good instead of selfish reasons.

Two-fer Tuesday: Suffer the Children by Miz Pink

pinkshirt-latina-girlFirstly my thanks to everyone who wished me well when Deke announced the arrival of Mini Pink Model 3 into the world. I probly shoulda responded over there but that post seems too old now so my thanks to you here instead. We’re all healthy and well and mostly happy (if you have kids you know why I’m qualifying that). And I hope to be sharing great tales from this the third and final round of child raising by yours truly.

I will also say that I might be more than a leetle grumpy right now and if that soaks through on to this post please bear with me. I’m feelin postpartum. No not postpartum depression (though I’ve been down that nasty piece of road before) but postpartum LIFE. Lack of sleep lack of timely showers lack of enough caffeine lack of ability to take certain medicines because I’m breastfeeding lack of personal time lack of my routines lack of….well you get it I think.

So, suffer the children, huh?  Hey Deke the little girl ain’t suffering right now but she’s putting Sir Pink and I thru the wringer.

But this is my topic for the first twofer Tuesday back on the job. And I actually have something to say that fits the topic I guess being that I’m a third time momma now.

Actually, TWO things…..

First, if you see me raising my voice to my child in public or just quietly scolding my child or even giving my child a swat on the behind do not, under any circumstances, get in my business. Sure, if I’m wailing on my kid with a full fledged butt whooping and you feel you must call some authorities or tell me to stop because the child is in actual danger, that I can understand. But you won’t find me doing that. And you certainly don’t have any business telling me how to speak to my child either. You don’t! I know lots of moms out there on the discussion boards who think it’s their business to tell other parents how to parent but it isn’t. It just isn;t. Short of actual abuse…real abuse…it ain’t your kid so it ain’t your business.

Second, if my kid is “acting up” in whatever qualifies in your world as acting up and I choose not to discipline, scold, correct or redirect my child, don’t even think of tell me I should. Don’t. Again, just like with the annoying interloper on the otehr end of the spectrum, it ain’t your child and it ain’t your business. Unless my child is physically hitting you or directly and materially intereferring with your ability to do something or somehow about to cause harm to him/herself of someone else, stay the heck out of it. I get to decide when my child has crossed the line. Not you. Deal with your own child. And if you don’t have one, get your own.

Now that I have that off my chest, time to feed Mini Pink Model 3.

The Hand That Flew

Well, I’m in a confessional mode this week; twice in two days. This time, though, my wife isn’t the person I’m feeling I might have let down. It’s my little girl.

I’m bigger on discipline (raising my voice, taking toys away, etc.) than is my wife, but I’ve never been keen on using physical force. I’ve never ruled it out (see Miz Pink’s post “Beat Down” because I agree with her 95% on that post) but I don’t like it, and there are other people in the blogosphere who have spoken eloquently on the pitfalls and uses of corporal punishment (Blackgirlinmaine recently in her Spare the Rod… post, a more light-hearted one at this blog, and a more academic take here.)

Last night, I smacked my little girl across the thigh. Didn’t leave a mark, but it still left her crying for a long while.

Now, I know that many readers will roll their eyes and say “Big frickin’ whoop!” You didn’t smack her multiple times, you didn’t hit her across the face, you didn’t use a hanger or something, so what are you whining about? And I know objectively that I didn’t do it out of anger so much as surprise, because my hand flew a split second after my little girl unexpectedly chomped down on my left nipple.

But the fact is, my hand flew.

And it didn’t need to.

I should be able to take the pain of a bite from a three-year-old. I should be able to control my hand. I don’t hit my wife. Never have, never will (unless she gets homicidally psycho on my ass, which is highly unlikely). I don’t get into fights now and I never have in the past.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not some hippie milquetoast here. Call my wife, daughter or son a certain epithet that rhymes with “chigger” and I’ll put your face into the pavement. Sexually assault my daughter, at any age, and there will be a body buried in the woods shortly thereafter. Try to attack me physically, and I will work on the assumption that you mean to kill me and respond with appropriate force. I have a very forgiving temperament and a very, very slow and long fuse. But push me too far and you could really regret it.

But what exactly did smacking my daughter accomplish that couldn’t have been accomplished just as well by yelling or throwing out one of her DVDs? What galls me is that my mom only had to spank me twice during my whole childhood. I don’t like the thought that my hand might fly faster than my reason or common sense can stop it.

I don’t fear that I’ll become an abusive parent; that would just be silly logic. That’s not the kind of person I am.

But I don’t like that a girl who doesn’t have a chance against me bit me, and probably had no clue how much that would hurt me, and I hit her. Doesn’t matter where and it doesn’t matter how minor the hit; I hit her and I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry, honeybunch, I really am. And I apologize to Mrs. Blue as well, even though she’s already long over it (and so is the little girl).

Now I just have to get around to forgiving myself.

Bonus Feature

I started work on the second chapter of my blog novel Cleansed by Fire, and I had only intended to get a start on it and then finish it by next week for my usual weekly posting, but I couldn’t stop writing, and now I have a finished part 6 already ready to post. In fact, I did post it, right before this post. I know the last installment was just a couple days ago, but I couldn’t help myself. So, if you’re following my first foray into novel-length fiction or would like to start, scroll down my main page or, if you came to this post directly from somewhere else, click here for part six of my novel.