A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Thursday, November 8, 2007

This has nothing to do with eating live worms

Since Sunday’s time change, I’m driving home from work in the dark. For some reason this reminded me of 1957 when my sister was about five years old.

Child rearing has definitely changed over the past couple of generations. Jenni uses Love and Logic with her kids, and has tried several other methods over the past two years. Some work, some don’t – pretty much like anything that involves children.

I’ll admit it, I spanked my kids. Tried not to do it with my hands. Had a wooden spoon that I used to paddle their little behinds when needed. Of course, the diaper cushioned most of the blow, but it got the point across. That pretty much stopped after they were potty trained. But they’re stable, intelligent, very fun young adults so I don’t think much damage was done.

My mother and her generation, on the other hand, would often beat the crap out of us. We all heard the dreaded “Wait until your Father gets home”. We got soap in our mouths, spanked at the drop of a hat, and my mom was a great one for digging her nails into my arm when I talked in church. And what she did to us was probably less than half as awful as my grandmother did to her! It’s definitely a generational thing, but somehow we all grew up okay.

My mom and aunt loved to use “psychology” on us. Not REAL psychology, but mom psychology. You know, where you want a kid to put her clothes away so you say, “Now, don’t you put those clothes away!” just knowing that she will think she won if she actually does put the clothes away which is what mom wanted in the first place. It’s exhausting. Tangent alert: My aunt tried this once with Jenni and Jenni basically said, “Okay” and simply walked away. My aunt looked at me horrified – if that didn’t work with my kids what hope did I have of raising them properly?

Another cute little mom trick – and this is where my sister comes in – is the fear factor. No, not the TV show. But the REAL Fear Factor. Basically, scaring the hell out of us so we’d be good. As kids we watched The Little Rascals on TV. There was one episode where someone had a relative who was kind of a jungle man and loved candy. All he would say was “yum, yum, eatem’ up”. I guess the Little Rascals thought he wanted to eat them up and got scared, yada, yada, yada. My sister totally bought into it was always afraid of Yum Yum Eatem’ Up.

So, back to it getting dark early. My mom would pack my sister and me into the car to go downtown to pick up my dad after work. We only had one car so, when she needed it, she had to transport dad to and from work. For some reason when it's dark at 5pm it's a scary sort of dark, and we had to drive through a not-so-great area of downtown. There was one building we passed that had a large metal gate over the opening. Kind of a scary place. Mom figured this would be a great opportunity to keep my sister in line and proceeded to tell her that Yum Yum Eatem’ Up lived behind that gate. And that, if she wasn’t a good girl, he would come out and get her! It was one of the few times during the day that my sister was actually quite and well behaved!

Frankly, it’s amazing that my generation grew up with any sanity at all!!


Catheroo said...

You are cracking me UP! "beat the crap out of us." HAH! I mean, it's funny to read, but I'm sure it wasn't funny to you at the time.
My mom spanked us. With the spoon. And she dug her nails into my arm at the grocery store on MANY occasions. I hated that worse than spanking! And I often heard "wait until your father comes home!" And he'd come in and take his belt off. I don't remember getting whacked with it though.
But the yum yum eat 'em up story...that would sure have worked with me!

Fleur de Lisa said...

I remember "Yum, Yum Eat'um Up" for the Little Rascals. I used to watch the reruns of the show on Sunday afternoons. I can see why your sister was scared!

Scoobers said...

My mom also had a wooden spoon. Christine and I thought it was funny that we snuck it out of the drawer one day and drew happy faces all over it. It didn't make the next spanking sting any less.
Also effective is pulling on the tiny hairs that grow at the nape of the neck. Oh yah. It's subtle. It's quiet. It packs quite a punch (not literally ; )

Chris said...

I agree with you, however, sanity is so overrated. Heh...

Desert Diva said...

My mother's favorite expression was "go pick a switch!" However, trying not to get severely "switched," we would get a very small "stick." My mother always had other ideas...

holly said...

I loved the little Rascals. It is funny how similar many people's stories of punishment are so similar. I had my mouth soaped more than once! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for leaving such a nice comment.

Just Laura said...

When I was little (6 maybe) there was a leather strap in the closet. You know, one of those straps barber's would use to sharpen knives? Yeah - that had my name on it although I only remember it a couple of times.

The wooden spoon or ruler was used more often in our household. I'm pretty sure Mommy used it because it was easier to get us with the long spoon as opposed to running after us.