I want the record to show we do not believe in corporal punishment. Neither Colin nor I have ever even threatened to hit the kids, no matter how naughty they can get. (Warren, that is. Maddie’s time has not yet come). That said, we always joke around about spanking butts in a funny, playful way. As in, “Look at that little bare bottom that I’m gonna spank!” and so forth.
Rewind to one of the last days spent at the hospital and the RMH. We had some definite time constraints each day as Colin tried to maintain some sort of a work schedule. We developed a system of switching off childcare: I would take care of Maddie during the day and Colin would spend the night with her sleeping at the hospital. Poor little Warren would be schlepped around at our mercy, mostly staying at the RMH as Colin worked “from home.”
Needless to say, I felt an urgency to relieve Colin of his “Maddie shift” as soon as possible each morning so that he could get to work. Somehow, that urgency did not transfer to Warren. I would spend countless minutes essentially nagging him to get dressed, brush his teeth, put his shoes on, and eat his breakfast quickly (near impossible with our dining situation). I didn’t have the luxury of moseying along like we often do at home.
It quickly hit me how un-fun I was. After hearing some recent General Conference talks and reading a new favorite blog, I determined that I needed to laugh more about things that would otherwise aggravate me. I needed to become a fun mom! Add a little humor and light-heartedness to my instruction with Warren.
When I woke up that morning 2 days before we left for home, I tried to start out right.
“OK, Warren. You need to get dressed by the time I get out of the shower or I’m gonna spank-a-butt!”
His giggles and assurance that he’d get the job done had me patting myself on the back that I had found a way to humorously motivate him.
When I got out of the shower and he wasn’t dressed I tried to stay calm.
“Warren, I thought you were gonna be dressed by the time I came out.”
“But Mama. I was waiting to get dressed the same time as you.”
Fine. My faith in the fun hadn’t totally run out yet.
“Just make sure that you move quickly since I still see a little jammie butt that needs to be spanked!” Though, truth be told, I was already less enthused about being playful by this point. Then the telephone rang and it was my mother-in-law asking for a Maddie update. I couldn’t not take the call, but if your kid is anything like my kid, there is a certain obnoxious switch that is turned on as soon as you pick up the phone.
After about 30 seconds into the conversation, he still wasn’t dressed and was nowhere near making that happen. In fact, he was starting to whine about me helping him to do it. The whining increased to the point that I had to get off the phone right then and close out the problem.
“Warren, I’m really disappointed that you were behaving like that, and that you’re not even dressed yet.”
“Mama, I’m not dressed so you need to spank my butt.”
Now, completely irritated, I had absolutely no desire to be playful or fun.
“Warren, no, I’m not going to do that. I just want you to get dressed.”
“But Mama! You need to spank my butt!”
“No, Warren. Please get dressed right now. I’m gonna count to 3,” which I proceeded to do when at the top of his lungs he screamed,
“SPANK MY BUTT!”
Yes, he finally got dressed, though I don’t really know how. I was too busy trying to keep a straight face. And no, no one reported me to Child Welfare Services… as far as I know.