It was something in the air that day.
Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the fact that I was completely swamped by laundry and school work.
But whatever it was, the entire house stood still as I raised my hand high and gave my daughter two swift hits to her bottom.
She screamed at the top her lungs as if I had just committed an unspeakable crime.
In that split second, I wanted to take back what I had done but it was far to late.
My husband, startled by the commotion, sat up on the couch with a look that was a mix of shock, awe and disbelief.
Attempting to lighten the mood he stated “Yay! Sara just got her first spanking! What a day!” as he clapped his hands, pumped his fist then proceeded to mark the refrigerator calendar.
I didn’t laugh or rather I couldn’t.
I was holding back tears as I felt the overwhelming shame of breaking that special vow that I took the first time I held my beautiful baby girl in my arms.
My oath was that I would never lay a hand on her or even think about it because love trumps all right?
Well, she bit me.
Do you want to know why?
Because I told her that she couldn’t have cookies before dinner.
“Wow! Is that it?”
See, Sara is 2 1/2 years old and is just discovering her sense of independence and free will.
She has also spent the last two years being smothered with attention from relatives on both my husband’s and my side of family because she is the youngest grandchild and our only child.
These two things have made a fine concoction for a toddler that’s stomping, screaming and attempting to take control of our household.
Do I think she deserved the spanking?
Do I think it could have been handled better?
However, one thing is for sure is that since that day she has never attempted to bite me again.
Spanking your toddler is one of those things that’s kind of like the “pink elephant” in the room when discussing disciplining children especially with close friends and relatives.
Before my first spanking fiasco, I recall being the mom that had read all the damaging aspects of spanking according the world’s greatest experts on child-rearing (give me a break!) and been taken aback by the statistics.
I didn’t want to increase the chances of my toddler growing up to be a sociopath serial killer!
“There was no way that I was going to ever spank my daughter ” the young, naive version of me thought.
I held unwavering faith in the statistics, until two weeks ago.
Every single stat went out the window as soon as I felt a small set of teeth sink into my back as I was folding the laundry.
Now, I don’t believe that spanking is the answer to every problem but I do believe that in a special case such as this, it’s great for modifying behavior.
Well, I have learned that I need to think before I act.
Also, spanking my daughter for the first time has made me a hell of a lot more introspective and cognizant of my stressors. (Self care days, anyone?)
I’ve also learned that as a parent, I will make mistakes and that it’s perfectly ok for me to admit when I am wrong.
I think it’s important for my toddler to see that I am vulnerable because we are all imperfect human beings just figuring things out as we go through this thing called “life”.
So without question, after spanking Sara I open my arms wide inviting her to a hug.
She leaps into them without hesitation.
As I hug her tightly and kiss her sweet little forehead, I whisper, ” Sara, I apologize. Mommy loves you so much but don’t ever bite me again.”
Kay L. is a writer, pretend sous-chef and mom of one living in Savannah, GA.
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