It will come as no surprise to you that I am KER-azy about my grandchildren. They are 3 of the neatest little people I have ever met. Each has their own separate and distinct personality, but all are full of texture. It is an amazing part of my life to watch them grow and get to know all the little twists and turns of their beings.
Today I’d like to tell you a funny little story about Bea. She is now 5 and a force to be reckoned with.
Her older sister, Hannah, was a strong-willed child from the get go, and since that niche in the family was filled, we all assumed Bea would be the mellow one. What a surprise to discover that Hannah would, comparatively speaking, be the one who is mellow!
Don’t be fooled by the sweet picture. She can be full of spit and vinegar at times!
If I may, I’d like to go back many years to set the stage for this story.
I adored my grandfather (my mother’s father) when I was a child. I didn’t get to see him very often, maybe just once a year, but the time we spent together was magical. I remember as if it was yesterday, him hauling me down to his local haunts and showing me off to his friends. I was the apple of his eye, and I KNEW it.
One year during our visit, I was walking along a rocky wall he had built around his flower garden. It was bumpy and irregular, and I nearly fell several times. After telling me to be careful more than once, he finally said “if you fall in there and wreck my plants, I’m going to spank you!” Well, of course, just a few minutes later I stumbled, lost my balance and stepped into the newly planted bed, taking a few plants out. He didn’t see me, and although I knew I had to confess, I just couldn’t do it. I was about to get spanked by my beloved grandfather and I was beside myself. I sat on the wall crying like I’d lost my best friend.
He saw me and came over and sat next to me, putting his weathered, wrinkled arm around my shoulder and asked what in the world was wrong. I looked up at him with tears running down my face and said, “I did it, Grandpa. I fell and broke your flowers and now you have to spank me.”
He smiled, eyes crinkled up and said, “Oh sweetheart, I didn’t mean it. I could never spank you. They are just silly plants. We can plant more.”
So, fast forward many, many years, I’m watching all three of the grandkids, and they aren’t having a very good day. They’d been away from each other for awhile, and were acting as if they’d forgotten how to share. I’d been after them several times and they weren’t minding. Bea was, on this day, the biggest offender.
Now mind you, I spanked my kids when they were little, much to my chagrin. Of all the regrets I have in life, that is probably my biggest. The idea of spanking my grandchildren is abhorrent to me. BUT, they don’t know that. And if used as a threat sparingly, it can be effective. I chose this day to use it.
I pulled Bea aside and very quietly said, “I am VERY close to spanking you,” in my most serious mad-Gaga voice.
She looked up at me and asked simply…”How close?” Seriously. That little turkey was weighing whether she had more room to push or needed to back off. FORTUNATELY I was able to respond “very close” without falling down laughing.
The good news is, she believed me, and there was immediate improvement in the behavior. The other two didn’t know what I said to her, but they saw the mad-Gaga body language, and shaped up as well.
The bad news (or I suppose the other good news if we live through it!) is that this girl is a thinker, and it’s going to take some doing to stay a step ahead of her – already! God help us all! Heeheehee!