Have your kids ever come out with those silencing one-liners that stop you in your tracks? I know them well, as at times when I am about to explode, scream, shout, pull out my hair or succumb to various other inappropriate responses, my kids speak loudly and clearly and teach me the most humble lessons!
On a particular trip to London, a very precocious little curly headed blonde daughter of mine, Rachel, stopped everyone in the streets that overheard her profound statement.
My mum had just passed away and I was in a state of shock and grief. My husband thought it would be a great idea to get me out of my stupor and take the kids and me overseas. So, off we flew from our home into the unknown, Europe and with kids!
Our time at the airport passed by in a blur as we had to keep chasing Rachel to keep her from entering the security zone at a run! The underground was even more challenging. Once we got to Waterloo Station she raced through the ticket turnstiles and ducked under, then ran back and forth! My son knew that my patience was running thin and he stayed by my side. Exhaustion, jetlag and an overwhelming sense of dread ensued and yes, corporal punishment came to mind. But how could I think that? I swore I would never even consider it in today’s bliss of raising a child!
We finally made it to the hotel and settled in. I was ready to collapse and settled under the covers for a little RRR (reading, rest and relaxation). The kids had a different idea: The inevitable “I am in a hotel and I NEED to jump on the beds” idea and chaos ensued. “Please!” I begged my husband, “Take these monsters out of here!” Yes, I was feeling selfish and required alone time so my husband, gracious and kind as he is, relented and took them out the door. Silence! Bliss! I dozed into a deep sleep.
Hours passed and I awoke fresh and ready but where was everyone? I went for a little exploration and there in the lobby I found my exhausted husband with kids still running on high battery power. We walked out into the brisk air and Rachel proceeded to shake all the doors of the jewelry and clothing stores that we passed as we window-shopped. It was 4 pm but the city was already going to sleep and darkness was lingering. The sounds of rattling chains and shop doors echoed and the shop owners scowled at us as if to say, “Can’t you control that child!”
My husbands’ nerves were gone now and his usual quiet and controlled nature was being challenge. He gave the ultimate threat: ‘the S word’.
“Rachel, if you don’t come away from those doors right now, I will spank you!” he said. I chuckled to know I wasn’t the only one thinking outside our well-intentioned parenting techniques.
Rachel stopped shaking the doors, calmly turned and, with her head cocked to the side and hands on hips, she shouted (while looking my husband directly in the eye) “Daddy, if you spank me now, then I will hit my children when I grow up!”