The Other Side of Discipline

In my childhood, I always thought it was easy for my parents to dish out punishment.  They made it seem so easy.  There were a couple of times in my life when my mom whispered sadly, “This will hurt me more than it will hurt you,” but come on!  Southern parents like to say that, and then they proceed to spank you anyway, seemingly gleefully.  As kids, we would joke that if it hurt them so badly, why did they do it?

I could go on about spankings.  How I feel about them now greatly differs from how I was raised and how I thought I would feel about them as a parent.  But tonight…tonight was a discipline night, and now I truly get how it could hurt my mom to punish us.

N is about two and a half now, and she’s a smart little cookie.  My husband and I came to the realization tonight that she is pooping in her pull-up/panties at home by choice.  She has flawless potty days at school and when she was with the babysitter two nights ago, she asked to go poop in the potty.  She knows what to say and what to do.  She can take herself to the potty and wipe pretty well for a two year old.  So when she stunk up the house tonight with her giant pull-up full of poo, we were upset and knew we had to do something drastic.  So we sent her straight to bed.

 

Ooooo, big punishment!  Yes, I hear your jeers.  But N’s bedtime routine is a sacred ritual.  Whether it is me or my husband, we read her a story (or two or three), she picks her bedtime music, we say prayers, turn off the lights, and then she curls up in my lap and drifts peacefully to sleep while I recount stories of my childhood.  This is a precious ending to both of our days, and it is just her time.  No baby.  Just N time.  I knew we had to do something drastic to get across to her that pooping in her pull-up is not okay, but this punishment of going straight to bed alone was almost more than I could bear.

 

N cried forever…

Sad goodnight

Forever.

For the first few minutes, James and I just sat in our room staring at each other.  If Baby J hadn’t been asleep in my arms, I probably would have caved, fled to N’s room and showered her with hugs, kisses, and apologies.  But I had to be strong.  Her cries became more and more desperate, and every time she pleaded “Momma”, my heart plummeted even further.  As tears began to fall down my own face, James intervened.  He offered me strength, a nightcap, and adult conversation.  We worked on our summer and Christmas vacation plans to the painful symphony of N’s gut-wrenching sobs.

 

Soon forever passed, and all was quiet.

 

James admits that he was quite surprised by my choice of punishment, and hopefully it was worth it.  We’ll see tomorrow.  I know she will survive and will still love and need me, but this glimpse of life on the other side of discipline was brutal.  I always thought I would be the strict parent, but I must build a stronger stomach if I’m going to help us raise (and not hinder us from raising) these two girls properly.  Even though it does hurt more, I have to adjust to being on the other side of discipline now.

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The Last Minutes

Illustration of a businesswoman worried out of time

I do believe that this is my first post of the year, and it begins with “Last Minutes”.  Sounds foreboding, but it isn’t, really.  I’m actually in the very early stages of labor right now, yes, during the Super Bowl, and I want to write a few posts before Baby J is born.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not going to get “a few” posts in, but I had to write AT LEAST one.  I honestly and truly wanted to post this whole pregnancy, but how does one find the time?  No, really?  How do you do it?  If you’re married and you and your spouse both work full-time and you have other children and you have a fairly active social life, please tell me how you have time to write  (if that’s your thing) or do any other hobbies. I need some tips. 🙂

 

Anyway, that’s not why I’m here today.  I’m here today to write a little bit about this new, incoming, baby girl.  I’ve posted a few times about our now toddler, N, and life is very fun with her.  She is growing and developing well and is quite the techno toddler.  I’m always amazed by what she can do: unlock my cellphone and make specific phone calls, change movies in the player and start the new movie, turn her little netbook on, sign in, and type her name (along with a bunch of gibberish), call up the command prompt on my computer and run tasks in Russian that would destroy my computer if my husband didn’t catch her in time.  And she’s TWO! Amazing. I wonder how much of it is this generation and how much of it is her being just like my husband?

 

I also wonder how Baby J will be.  Will she be more of the creative type, like me, or another techno baby, like my hubby and N?  Will she be drama or will she be shy?  Will she be stubborn, sweet, or another bossy pants?  I also wonder if she’ll be another sugar cookie like N or a chocolate chip cookie, like me?  Will her hair be super curly and brown or wavy and black or medium curly and reddish?  Will she have hazel eyes like her dad or brown eyes like me and N?  I wonder….

BABY_32

I can hardly ever tell anything from ultrasounds pictures, but we saw one picture the week before last in which we could actually see her face clearly (she usually covers her face with little fists).  She looked so sweet!  She had full, pouty lips and a sweet, round face, and even though it’s impossible, she looked more brown to me lol.  Either way, now is the time, and we will be headed to the hospital at any moment.  I hope to be able to write again sooner rather than later.  (I actually have a lot to share.)  Wish us luck!

Good Queen Charlotte

mother and baby in Charlotte

I don’t know what kind of woman Queen Charlotte was so I can’t say if she would have been proud or not of how Baby N and I were treated while visiting the U.S. city named after her.  Honestly, in her time, people with earthy tones to their pigmentation where not thought of highly so she probably would have stood aghast at the sight of kindness and consideration being given to a minority woman and her mixed-race baby.

Or, if she was forward-thinking and kind herself, she would have been proud.

Either way, N and I had a blast in Charlotte!  Not one single person asked me if she was mine…not a one.  Maybe she looks more like me now?  Maybe.  Regardless, our short trip to the Queen City was fabulous.  Of course, it would have been better if hubby was there, but we still had fun.   🙂

I do have two stories to tell you from that trip.  I’ll tell you one now and post the other one later.

Baby and I went to NC for my little brother’s wedding and stayed in a very nice hotel in uptown Charlotte.  The morning of the celebration, we had breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant with my brother and another couple that were good friends of his.  After a delicious meal complete with pleasant, comfortable conversations, it was time to pay.  Now, I must tell you, my younger brother is about the same complexion I am and the other couple is also Black American.  Our waiter was white and had similar features to my husband (but he didn’t know that).  After asking if everything was okay with the meal, he then asked if he should split the check between the two couples, which my brother immediately responded, “Oh, we’re not a couple.  She’s my sister.”  The waiter let out a huge sigh and started laughing.  He nodded to Baby N and said, “Well nooow she makes sense!  I was like, ‘Man, he must be really in love if he doesn’t notice.  But how can he not notice?!’  That baby looks like she could be mine,” which was even funnier to us.

I liked this exchange between the waiter and our party because he didn’t express doubt that she was my daughter, just curiosity regarding her father.  And he was right!  Justin was not her dad and her dad really does favor him.  What’s also interesting to me is that we were in the South.  We were in an upscale establishment.  We were obviously very familiar with each other (almost everyone at the table held N at some point during the meal).  I wonder how a different waiter’s mental conversation would have gone in another setting like a hometown restaurant in the Midwest?  Or an artsy cafe in Cali?

Ooo, which reminds me, I owe you yet another story from Christmas 2012.  It’s a good one, too.  🙂