Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Little Language

Oh, Mother of Christ, I’m turning into Lileks. (Or, at least I would if I would get off my ass and write once in a while.) I’m talking more about my kid.

The not-so-tiny boy, like so many toddlers flexing their language comprehension, loves to words and phrases he’s picked up here and there. Some from daycare, some from Momma, some from his cousin, some from the grandparents, and clearly some come straight from his old man.
“What’s downstairs?”

Once, a friend of mine came over. I was running downstairs while he came in with some things (food to grill, movies to watch, etc.) and the kid looks up at him and (I swear to God) said, “Booze downstairs, Mike.”

Not too long ago we were driving home from daycare. We needed gas in the car, milk and a few things from the grocery store, and we wanted a small treat of French fries. Of course, he wanted the French fries first, but my gas tank clearly needed fuel first. As kids sometimes do, he whined and moaned and loudly protested when I suggested that we stop for gas first followed by groceries and then French fries. What’s a dad to do? Easy. Tell him that French fries are out of the question if he continues to behave this way. How’s a son to respond?

He holds out one hand, leans his head forward, raises his eyebrows, and calmly says, “Now, just settle down, Daddy.”

Within a week he threw a fit at bedtime. In fact, he really threw down the gauntlet… and in such a way that even though my wife and I were there, I was the target of his frustration. Clearly I couldn’t delegate to Momma… at least not without looking like a chump or giving him the idea that he could punk me any time he liked.

Punishment? Most definitely. He’s going to The Cooler.

The Beautiful & Dutiful wishes, or demands, that I clarify so as not to throw the more sensitive, meaning left-leaner, and literal, meaning jackass, readers that we do not punish our boy by locking him in an old-fashioned cooler or refrigerator… it is “locking” him in the “cooler” as in, “30 days in the cooler!” from Col. Klink. He’s either sent to his room or he sits in his chair at the diner table (but not at the diner table).

Unfortunately for me he made his legs rigid so he would slip nicely off the chair. Hmmm.

[WARNING!!! Anti-spanking, and pro-parent/child-buddy folks should avert their eyes… mostly because they can’t handle a real parent doing their real job, but also because they are hand-wringing weenies that need to grow a spine and join the rest of the vertebrates.]

I told him if he didn’t settle down and take his punishment I would give him a spanking. He said he didn’t want a spanking, but he still wouldn’t go to The Cooler. He even threw a bigger fit and yelled more. I looked at my wife.

Did the B&D want me to redeploy? Did she want me to negotiate? Did she want me to open multilateral talks? Did she want me to protest?

Hell no! She wanted me to spank him.

Was she worried that I would create a breeding ground for misbehaving toddlers? Hell yeah! That’s why she wanted me to spank him.

Was she worried that the public would think I was too harsh, using cruel and unusual punishment, or somehow becoming a misbehaving toddler by using torture? Hell no! She wanted me to spank him.

So, I took him to his room and told him I would spank him. I did. He didn’t like it. He cried. He came out of his room and got into his chair… and cried some more. After his two minutes expired, he looked straight at me and apologized for throwing a fit, for yelling, for not sitting in the chair, and being naughty. Then he added his own statement to the judge.

“Now Daddy, you say sorry for spanking… because that’s your problem.”


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