While it’s not hugely popular in today’s society, I have never made apologies for the fact that I believe in spanking. I absolutely do not believe in any form of abuse, but I most certainly believe in discipline. The funny thing is that as strong-willed, often defiant and extremely stubborn as she is, we rarely ever spank Brynna. Because of her personality, she needs to know that she made a choice, so that’s what she gets. She can discontinue her inappropriate behavior (throwing toys, blowing bubbles on my sofa or practicing her spitting in the kitchen) or she can go sit on the step. It’s her choice. Often she tries not to choose, but she’s learned after months of consistent discipline that no decision (and the continuation of said bubbles on my sofa) is the same as deciding to go to Time Out. She’s spent a lot of her two-and-a-half years on the step (my step, Yaya’s step, Tania’s step, Honey K’s step and even once at the entrance of Steve Madden). On rare occasions that she chooses to continue disobeying even after time on the step, the punishment has to increase so that she learns that every action has a consequence.
Our most recent battles have been waged in the arena of whining. I’m not sure how every toddler has perfected the exact pitch of voice that sends his/her mother into hysteria, but they are skilled artisans. How they can say something perfectly normal in a voice that shatters glass in three counties, I’m not sure, but they can. And they do. Brynna is no exception. I’m convinced she sometimes doesn’t even know that she’s doing it. It’s like she zones out into another dimension where apparently people speak at 140 decibels. Needless to say, we’ve spent a lot of time on the step. After she has a few minutes to calm down, I sit beside her so we can talk about it. (Side note: As a general rule, if you send a little one to time out, have the decency to GO TO THEM, talk ON THEIR LEVEL about why and LOVINGLY reassure them of your love. If you send them away and then forget or call them back in to you, you’ve made no effort to parent and therefore, why would they make an effort to obey? Sorry. I just felt someone’s toes. I’ll get off the soapbox.) This weekend, as I sat next to Brynna at the bottom of the staircase in my parents’ house, I asked if she knew why she had to go to Time Out. She said she did. She said, “Because I was whining and not talking like a big girl.” I asked if she could speak politely and tell me what she wanted. Her response has stuck with me for days. She said, “Yes. Because I want to come be with you.”
I had to acknowledge quite some time ago that Brynna did not get her temperament from her father, but instead from her strong-willed, often defiant and extremely stubborn mama. And like my little bear cub, God lets me make choices and then consistently reminds me that every action has a consequence. I have recently found myself whining – crying to God in a voice that I’m sure sends Him into parental hysteria at a decibel I’m sure all Heaven would like to tone down. I have been lamenting my situation, recounting all the things I’m sad about. Rather than making me feel better, though, all that whining made me feel worse. The longer I cried, the more lonely I felt. The louder I yelled, the angrier I became. And when I had nothing left to say, I sat quietly and realized…God had put me in Time Out. Of course I felt worse instead of better – He left the room. Of course I didn’t feel comfort – I chose to sit myself on the step, away from the presence of Someone who loves me. And today my little girl’s words are ringing in my ears. She said she would learn to speak more appropriately because she wanted to be with me. She realized that her choice was the only thing that separated her from me. And the same is true for me.
As soon as she chose to obey, I was waiting with all the love her little self could contain. I’m so grateful my Father waits for me…and you. What are you whining about? When you’re ready, He’s waiting with all the love your little self can contain.