And No Plastic Hangers, Either.

I've sealed my fate... made my bed.... stepped in the proverbial sh*tpile. Worse yet, I've done irreparable damage to the O-Dog's psyche. I pray to the gods he doesn't end up in a clock tower at the University of East Jahunga in Nebraska, picking off students with an arsenal of firearms.

Last evening, the O-Dog gets pissed because I made him remove his Batman costume for pushing the Fletch into the rocking chair. After running around the upstairs hallway for ten minutes, bemoaning the injustice he runs into his room. As the Fletch-Monster follows him, he yells "Get out of my room!" and throws the door shut, with the Fletch's two-year old digits in the doorjamb.

That breaks two rules -
1. It's not 'your' room. He's four years old. Officially, it doesn't become 'his' room until he grows one of those wispy adolescent moustaches and I have to start respecting his privacy a little - until then all family has all-access.

2. No door slamming. Unless you're a guest star on All My Children, there's no real good reason to throw a door in somebody's face (or unless they're Jehovah's Witnesses or canvassing for politicians).

After making sure all fingers were intact...

Medical Assessment
Papa Prego - Fletch, wiggle your fingers like this....
Fletch-Monster - Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh (unenthusiastic compliance)

... I walked into the O-Dog's room, read him the riot act and bent him over and gave him a couple quick swipes on his bare fart cage.

O-Dog - Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh (breath) Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh (catch breath... lower pitch) Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.

At this point, I felt a little bad. It's not the first time I'd had to give him a little slap on the ass. I'm not sure how I feel about corporal punishment, but the little f*cker is either flinging die cast Matchbox cars at his brother's head, smacking him or making him fall. At some point you have to take action beyond "Now O-Dog, your brother doesn't appreciate a f*cking 1981 El Camino thrown at him," or 'time out.' Depending on the severity of the offence, a swift crack on the rump is enough to get his attention.

Now I could have handled this in another fashion. Considering it was the Fletch-monster's hand that was hurt, I could have done the old trailer park method.

"(hic) Here. (burp) Put your hand here... (hic)" SLAM! "Do you like how that feelshhh?"

Or I could have gone draconian old school - "Come here. Put your hand in this vice." (crank. crank. crank. crunch.) "The lord sayeth, 'Thou shalt not raise thy hand against thine brother.' Now sit here until I get the bible so I can read you the story of Cain and Abel... After I beat you over the head with it, of course."

Instead, I opted a tried and true method of getting his attention, have him acknowledge that what he did was 'bad,' and demonstrated that there are such things as consequences -- all without bruises and with only a minor infringement on his delicate pain threshold. Not the kind of thing that'd open up a case at CPS.

The O-Dog stopped crying, sniffled a couple times and sadly said, "I'm going to grow up and do bad things to you because you do bad things to me when I do bad things to the Fletch."

I looked at him for a second as his utterance took a chance to register (and to make sense), and thought, "F*ck. They write songs about sh*t like this. I'm going to incur the fury of Pat Benatar!" I picked him up and gave him the biggest hug possible, trying to justify the spanking while rubbing his bottom.

Unfortunately, the damage has been done. I'm going to have to check my brake-line before every drive... Make sure there is nothing plugged in whenever I take a bath (Hmmmm.... I wonder who put the toaster in the bathroom?)... I'm going to get put in the sh*ttiest f*king nursing home in the Northeast, never have any visitors.... and the ultimate "F*ck You?" I'm going to be the villain in A Child Called 'Eso'.

From here on out, it's all "Now, O-Dog... Your little brother doesn't appreciate his fingers being mangled in the door."

"Yes, Daddy Dearest."


Sara said...

How odd. Pat Benatar appears in MY post today. Further odd, I caught a bit of Mommy Dearest on TV last night. That line about the wire hangers is a joke between me and my mom (now that she doesn't have a scarily irrational temper). Sigh. I am not a parent yet.

archshrk said...

Sounds like you handled it appropriately to me. A child needs discipline or they run the risk of being out-of-control and directionless. If you had not disciplined O-Dog, then neither he nor Fletch would respect you, respect your authority as gaurdian and never trust you to protect them fromreal danger.

So long as the spanking was private, you explained the reasons for it and demonstrated your love, all without anger or bruises then your response was warrented and measured. Good job (but I won't be driving anywhere with you - just in case I'm wrong)

Mary Tsao said...

Oh, my. Is this the kind of respect we parents get once the little ones start talking? I'm not sure if I'm up for intellectual statements about my shortcomings.

Will your next post be about washing his mouth out with soap?

Meghan said...

Prego. Spanking only works with dumb children. Your son is clearly not dumb. I gather this based on his response and his ability to abstractly explain the lack of logic in punishing pain infliction of a smaller person with pain infliction of a smaller person.

I am laughing right now at my own comment. You have a sharp kid there.

You are a good dad. It's best to prepare for these moments so you can plan your response when your head isn't ready to rocket from your shoulders in frustration.

Then again, my daughter is only 19 months and can't talk in sentences yet. Oh it is so EASY to analyze these things from my vantage point! HAHAHAHA!

rob said...

I really don't have much to offer in terms of comfort or advise as I'm not a parent. What I can offer is this: When I was growing up, I appreciated my parents because I loved them dearly and I was also a little afraid of them. I knew that if I crossed the line with them, there would be consequences and those would not be pleasant. Whether that meant a wooden spoon across the ass or a sullen look married with an, "I'm very disappointed in you," I thought twice before breaking any rules because I was a little frightened of what might happen if I got caught but also because I didn't want to break my parents' hearts.

Plumkrazzee said...

I'm with Rob. A little bit of the fear factor works wonders. It's not so much about "scaring" them, as it is in making them respect your authority, and hey, whatever works. You know you're a good dad...and even if he gets pissy about it, someday he'll know you're a good dad, too. =)

Mike said...

I agree with Rob. You love your kids but they have to know who the boss is. Sometimes they need a spanking to get their attention.

keda said...

great post and i really sympathise. its scary how clever a 4 year old can be huh?!

i have twin girls who usualyy adore each other but who understandably also 'lose' it with each other occasionally.

i dont use physical punishment, but when i get mad or the crime is really bad i even feel guilty about my 'VERY SHARP VOICE' as it scares the **** out of them!

i need not to hit as i've always used the line.."would you like it if i/she/he did that to you?... no? then why do you feel its ok to do it to me/her/him?????!!!!!" seperation (time out), loss of privilages and rewards for good behaviour and conversation have worked for me every time. and i have been working with children for 15 years.

i was hit and worse as a child and know it doesnt help and can do a lot of damage, if we dont respect our childrens bodies they wont really respect us- just fear us.

but it sounds to me like you are doing a great job! we all make mistakes and none of us is ever going to be perfect. as long as we can admit when we are wrong (or suspect we might be) and ask our childrens forgiveness and understanding we will be loved and respected.

here via micheles and i will come back.

interesting blog*

Gypsy said...

Love it! Fart cage especially.

I'm picturimg your child as the kid from A Christmas Story, envisioning ways for his parents to pay for disappointing him.

Michele sent me.

Jade said...

Visiting from Michele's and so glad for the laugh. I'm sorry to laugh at your pain, been there done that and am so glad it's over. Now I can laugh!

sage said...

ain't kids great... as I've tried to read this, my daughter is asking me questions about how we know something is true (she's 8). came here from Michele's and love the rust belt photo

David said...

what a great post
I miss having the boys under foot - now they are both at Universities with all their digits in tact

Paige said...

Came by to say thanks for commenting at my place.
I think you did the right thing. The main thing in parenting is always follow through with what you said you would do. Have a great weekend!

Claude said...

My kid is going to be 15 soon, so corporal punishment isn't really an option anymore. But hitting her took place on exactly two occasions, and both of them were designed to keep her from doing worse damage to herself. The first time was when she was about to stick her fingers into a fan. I don't remember the second.

Ravvy said...

Fantastic writing!!!

Firstly i'd like to say, that there is NOTHING wrong with giving a good decent smack for a good decent reason, especially when the lil sewer mouth's start talking back chat to you thinking they know whats right when really they just think they do...

Secondly.. i love the names of everyone! FANTASTIC! The fletch sounds like whom i should be called... but of course in the most nicest possible way :)

Finally... the way you write is fantastic... you make even the crappiest situation at the time into a comedy skit...

i will be returning...
Thanks again!
Rav xox

kenju said...

As a parent of 3 (who made it through to adulthood) I can say you did the right thing. Your older kids is looking for attention anyway he can get it. Make sure he knows that hurting his little brother is not the right way!

Courtney said...

I think you'll be fine. Slamming fingers in a door deserves a quick spank on the ass.
Here via Michele.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

You handled that really well. You have great rules.

Michele sent me here.

Ciera said...

Here from Michele's [that and I follow the Captain around a lot...or he follows me...] LOL

there's nothing wrong with a quick whap on the butt.

Lazy Daisy said...

You totally crack me up. I don't think you have to check for car bombs or the brake lines quite yet. You did get his attention that it is unacceptable behaviour and that you still love him but there is consequences for his actions. You sound like a hero to me. Michele thought so too!

Claire said...

I used to be just like that at that age! I've also never gone for the revenge thing with my parents either...despite shouting all sorts of crap at them!

rashbre said...

Yes its kind of bitter sweet having a situation like this. A special voice reserved for unequivocal instructions may be a required asset.

Here (belatedly) from Michele's. I coudn't make comments work earlier today.

Valbee said...

I don't think you need to worry. I'm nearly 40 and I don't resent my parents at all for spanking me. When I was a child, I mean, because if they were spanking me now, well, that'd be weird, wouldn't it?

My point is that the few times I recall being spanked, I also vividly recall why I was spanked and I never repeated the bad behavior. One lovely summer evening when I was three, I decided to cross the street by myself. I was nearly hit by a car. BOTH of my parents came after me and I swear, I was dangling in the air between them as they crossed back, each of them taking turns swatting me. Nope, I never tried crossing the street alone again. And let me tell you, it makes it damn inconvenient having to wait for one of them to get here just to walk down to the mailbox. ;)

surcie said...

You rock, Prego. That is all.

~A~ said...

Let me see if I can post now. The net ate my words a few days ago.

I had a good parental chuckle over, "I'm going to grow up and do bad things to you because you do bad things to me when I do bad things to the Fletch." I just love kid logic.

Do they have a copy of the "Kid conspiracy handbook" too? I've swear I've heard that before. One of these days they'll get the clue, you don't pound your sibling and you won't get in trouble. *sigh*

Got to go, I hear light-sabers and screaming. Time to kick them all outside so there will be less blood to clean up inside.

Jacques Roux said...

Hey man, go easy on yourself. A little ass whooping once in a while is good for not only the kid, but you, maybe even society, as well. Ankle biters need to learn there are consequences for their actions. All of their actions. And the sooner they learn it, the better for everyone. While I am not a staunch advocate for the "Spare the rod, spoil the child" contingent, I do believe the little people need to remember just who the hell runs the show. Maybe then, when they become big people, they won't waste my friggin' time with frivolous complaints.

Just my two non-parental cents worth.

katie said...

I don't have any kids, so my thoughts probably mean squat, but I think you handled that really well.