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当女儿发脾气时

2008-09-02 09:51

  My mother was a vocal supporter of corporal punishment, but for all her talking she has never spanked my siblings, and me only once. Instead she found ways of punishment that left a more lasting memory then the short sting of a swat on our rumps. One of the most memorable of these occasions occurred when I was four.

  In the early 70's my mother attended college during the day while my sister was in school and I was in daycare. One day at daycare I watched an extremely tired mother attempt to pick up her daughter. The little girl asked, "Momma are we going to McDonalds for dinner?" The mother replied, "Honey, not tonight. Momma has to run a few errands and then we have to go home and cook dinner for Daddy." "But I wanna go." "Susie, I said not tonight. Maybe, if you are a good girl we can go tomorrow." Susie immediately dropped to the floor, kicking and screaming, "I want to go to McDonalds."

  No amount of pleading or scolding her mother tried stopped Susie's tantrum. Finally her mother gave in, "Okay, Susie, lets go to McDonalds." Susie stopped yelling and smiling she grabbed her mother's hand and they left. To say I was amazed would be inaccurate; I was delighted that anything I wanted could be had by throwing a tantrum.

  That day my mother picked me up early from daycare because we were going to Sears & Roebuck to pay on a Christmas Layaway. I was excited by the lights and 1decorations, and as we walked through the toy section on the way to the Layaway Department, I saw a toy I had to have. It was a white and red telephone whose bells rang as it was pulled along on a string. Looking lovingly up at my mother I asked, "Mama, can I have that telephone?"

  She replied, "Baby, not now, but if you are a good girl maybe Santa will bring it to you." "But Mama, I want that telephone right now." Her eyes narrowed and her hand tightened on mine. "Becky, you can't have that telephone today, but if you misbehave you can have a spanking."

  By now we were standing in the long Holiday line in the Layaway Department, and I figure it was now or never. I lay down on the ground and began screaming, "I want that telephone," over and over again. Weary Christmas shoppers looked as my mother calmly said, "Becky, you better get up by the count of three or else. One…Two…Three."

  Nothing. I was still in full tantrum. So then she lay down beside me on the floor, and began kicking and screaming, "I want a new car, I want a new house, I want some jewelry, I want…" Shocked, I stood up.

  "Mama, stop. Mama get up," I tearfully pleaded.

  She stood, and brushed herself off. At first stunned, the others waiting in line began to sporadically clap, and before I knew it they were cheering and laughing and patting my mother on her back. She blushed and took a little bow and the next thirty minutes in line was pure misery for me as various parents leaving the Layaway Department, shake their heads at me and say with a smile, "Your mom got you good. I bet you'll never try that again."

  And I didn't, because it left a lasting mental picture more effective then any physical mark.

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