Full Metal parenting

I sat down this morning, thinking I was going to tell you something silly. Something, frivolous. But if I did, it would just be a coverup. A big conspiracy to make you think everything is happy and dandy and stepford here in the royal kingdom.

I have the mother of all mommy guilt going on this morning.

For the first time ever, the Kaiser and I played punishers. Like, hardcore punishers. Not the time outs we’ve been doing. Not the somewhat stern, half grinning lectures. This was full on, taking toys away, “wait ’till your father gets home” ass whuppin. With out the actual beating.

Count Waffles the Terrible hit me yesterday. Twice. I’m still fuzzy on the circumstances surrounding the mommybeating. He was mad. I was mad. He was in trouble, he didn’t want to be in trouble and the next thing I knew his tiny little hand was balled in a fist and he nailed me in the arm.

I lost my shit.

The first time, it was a time out with me screaming the whole way. Three minutes. And then I added a “and no tv for the rest of the day” for dramatic effect.

He spent the rest of the day discussing how much trouble he was in, and how he wasn’t allowed to turn on the tv because he hit mommy. I honestly thought he had learned his lesson.

Then came storytime in bed. We were goofing around, reading, tickling, waiting for Daddy to get home…when one thing lead to another and he was once again in trouble. This time I think I asked him to stop spitting (we had been making silly faces). He refused. I told him again. He refused. I grabbed his hand out of his mouth and told him very sternly to stop.

He balled up his tiny hand, again, and nailed my arm.

I lost my shit like I’ve never lost it before. He actually flinched backwards from the sheer volume and what must be fire coming from my mouth.

I got off the bed. Quickly contemplating my next move. It had to be fast. It had to be severe. I couldn’t just stick him in another time out.

I grabbed his two, very favorite, dumptrucks and told him I was taking them away.

Oh the horror.

I told him to stay on the bed and to NOT move. Daddy was going to be home soon and he was”IN DEEP SHIT.”

Yes, I actually said shit. What do you want from me, I was crazed.

As luck would have it, Daddy was pulling into the driveway as I was coming down the stairs with the dumptrucks. I sat at the bottom of the stairs and informed the Kaiser as soon as he walked through the front door what had just transpired. The Kaiser could hear Count Waffles crying above.

Then, in what might possibly be the most surreal moment of my life, the Kaiser proceeded directly upstairs and unleashed a serious Daddy ass whuppin. The tone of my husband’s voice when he lectured the Count on how “you NEVER hit your mother,” made ME shiver. And I was not the one in trouble.

Poor Count Waffles. His face. Oh, if you could have seen his face. Scared shitless. Sobbing. Couldn’t even catch his breathe he was sobbing so hard.

The Kaiser would tell me later he had no idea where that father tone came from. Somewhere deep inside that gets tapped when you become a parent, I guess.

And now I sit here this morning, feeling horribly guilty. Was the Count acting out because I haven’t been as attentive to him as I should? The post partum. The constant nursing of the Peanut.

Should I have handled the hits differently? Should there have been more love and tenderness in our voices instead of sheer venom?

We don’t spank. We didn’t spank. But were our words just as hurtful as a smack?

So as the dumptrucks sit ontop of our cabinet in the playroom until tomorrow, they serve as a reminder to the Count that he’s been punished. And a reminder to the Kaiser and I that we are now…the punishers.


  1. The daddy tone. It happens here to. It’s a reminder that Dad’s in charge, that mommy’s protected. And you know what, it’s all good. You did NOTHING wrong. The Kaiser did NOTHING wrong. You are establishing boundaries. Like Brad, Jr. CW is at the age where he’s testing the limits. You moved quickly and effectively. Perhaps next time I’d try not to curse, you don’t want him repeating those words, because they will repeat, but other than that, I think you did well.

    Maybe that makes me a crappy parent. Maybe there will be others that read that say my advice is no good, but my advice is that you’re a parent. You ARE IN CHARGE. And believe me, it makes for a happier household.

    Hopefully he’s learned, but most likely he will try again. The trick is just for you and the Kaiser to be on the same page. Decide how you will handle it if this happens again. That way you will be acting from a prepared place, and it will feel better, because it will be planned.

    All my best,

  2. I completely agree with Amber. Sometimes a parent showing real righteous anger can impress like nothing else. He absolutely has to learn not to hit. And having you and your husband both in agreement on this point doubtless made the lesson all the more powerful for your son. I bet he will think twice before he does it again.
    I know its hard to feel ‘mean’ but you did the right thing.

  3. Sounds like you both were fine. I always say that it’s important for me to express that it’s OKAY to be angry – it’s NOT okay to hit. Give him some other outlet. My daughter (19months) does the biting thing – not just me, but the floor, table, anything, etc. The physical gratification and manisfestation of her anger satiates it. I don’t condone it, but I do tell her that I understand that she’s mad.

  4. I know the guilt is horrible, but you and Kaiser did the right thing. That was handled very well…and saying the word “shit” is nothing…it’s just a word.
    It’s our job, as parents, to set boundaries and enforce them.

    Pat yourself on the back…job well done!

  5. Seriously, if you just let him do whatever he wants with no consequences he’ll end up in trouble with the law.

    It isn’t like you beat him or told him Mommy was never coming back. I don’t even think it was that harsh. He isn’t supposed to like getting yelled at, and you were just letting him know that hitting is wrong.

    Being a disciplinarian is one of the hard parts of parenting. It sucks, the hugging is way better, but you guys are just trying to raise good people – and good people don’t hit their mothers. Now he knows.

  6. You didn’t do anything out of line. At all. It is not ok to hit.

    My suggestion, if you’re looking for one, is to sit down with The Kaiser and create consequences. Offense 1, time out. Offense 2, turn off tv for the day. Whatever you’re comfortable with. That way, when it happens again, he’ll know what the punishment is and you won’t be left standing there with the oh-crap-what-do-I-do moment that seems to happen so often in parenting. And the consequence will be the same, whether it happens to you or to The Kaiser.

    This is one of those times it sucks to be the parent – but that’s what you are – the parent, not the friend.

  7. Oh man I know how your feeling. We went through this with Zoe too. You did nothing wrong at all. Would you prefer that he never learns that some things are NOT OK and there will be consequences? What’s worse, a little yelling and toy taking from you or him ending up in jail where much worse things will happen to him because he simply cannot understand whats ecceptable and what’s not?
    Toy taking is a fav in our house. And consequences are always clearly defined and explained. ie – “I’m going to put those toys in my cupboard if you don’t put them away, someone could trip over them and hurt themselves”
    Don’t feel guilty, you did just fine. Whatever you do, don’t let him see your feeling guilty and apologise or give toys back early…trust me, he’ll play it in the future!

  8. I think that there’s this idea that if you parent your children right, they’ll never need correction. They won’t act out, because you’ll have met all of their needs already and they won’t have to. They won’t have any anger/sadness/insensitivity that comes out in weird ways, because only people who’ve screwed up their kids have behavior problems. I know I used to believe it!

    But, really, they will try a million different things each day, and not all of them will be appropriate. Sometimes, especially when they don’t respond to what you’ve already tried, you have to try something new and harsher. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent, it means you care enough about them to make sure they understand how the world works, and that you’re not going to neglect their care even when it’s unpleasant for everyone.

    You’re doing just fine.

  9. You accomplished the really important thing… you made your point in a way that he won’t forget. Yeah, he was probably a little scared and his feelings were probably hurt a little, hut that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
    As a mom you have got to figure out how to get through to your kids in ways that they can both understand and remember. Believe me, the Count will remember how it felt to have his ears pinned back. I still remember my mothers reaction the first time I told her I hated her… I think I was like 3 or 4 at the time!
    As for the guilt… I dunno what to say about that. I have to be both the punisher and the nurturer to my son. I always feel guilty. Always.
    Just try and remember that you have a job to do, and unfortunately sometimes you HAVE to get a little harsh in order for it to sink in.

  10. I’ve heard a “pop” science theory that children look more like their father when first born, so a male parent will also stay around to care for his family. Thus evolution is served with another provider around. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the suggestion is that children are “hard wired” to want daddy around and need to keep daddy happy.

    Perhaps that’s why Daddy is far more terrible when he becomes “Father Enforcer.” I believe it’s something wired into our heads as well, that somehow we are supposed to keep the little ones in line. Who knows? All of this could be flowing out of the BS area of my brain, but the Enforcer role is one that I play as well.

    The simple fact is that Father Enforcer is scarier for little kids. Physical size? Deeper voice? I was always terrified just by the STOMP STOMP STOMP of my father coming up the stairs when I was in trouble. Something bigger and badder than mommy is on the way….

    Anyway, don’t feel bad at all, you guys did a great job! I wouldn’t even feel bad about the swearing. “Bad words” can only re-inforce the point that some bad stuff has gone down and he’s going to get it.

  11. Been there. SO been there. We don’t spank either and it makes it very hard but I firmly believe in the end it’s right. I HATE when we go through seasons like this. I HATE IT cause I feel the same guilt.

    As a spe teacher we used to teach behav. mod. to parents. One way to discipline is what we sort of termed the “silent” discipline. I have used this on my son and it is effective.

    You ask son to put on his clothes cause it’s time to go. He says no. Ask one more time. He says no.

    You don’t say a word, you pick him up, and go to his room. Sit him on his bed and walk to the door. You stand there firmly until he decides to do what has been asked. AFter about five minutes you can, as simple as you can, explain what you’re after. In this case it’s getting dressed, in your case it would be a SINCERE apology. Then you stare off. The kids FREAK, sob. I’ve never seen it last more than ten minutes. The child always breaks.

    This works once a child is at a stage of understanding words. Most of the time kids know they’ve done something wrong and we waste too much time and energy explaining. In a way, that’s what they want. That adds to the attention. I started this and I think after the second time all I had to say was do BLANK or we will go to your room WITHOUT talking. He usually will quickly do what’s asked.

    This may have been too brief or too wordy…lol… my brain is mush. Let me know if you have any questions.

    Hugs to you. Hang in there. All we can do is try our best.

    We’ve ALL lost it….uh.. more than once! LOL…


  12. Robey went through a phase where he was hitting me frequently, usually out of frustration. He would just slap and kick ‘at’ me like a kid does when he’s throwing a fit. I tried yelling, time outs and other punishments but nothing worked … until I decided to just ignore him whenever he hit. And that worked. I guess without a reaction from me, he didn’t feel like he was accomplishing anything anymore.

  13. You did nothing wrong. I think yelling to scare the bejeebus out of them should be reserved for the more serious offenses, but hitting is certainly one of them in my book. Same with biting. It lets a kid know you’re serious, and what they did was really wrong.

    Sigh. We’ve been having quite the day here today. Cordy has been hitting, throwing things, and in general being a butt. I’ve spent the entire day being “the bad guy”, so I know how you feel.

  14. It sounds like I may be the only one here commenting who isn’t a parent yet.

    It sounds like you handled it as appropriately as possible. Don’t feel guilty. And I think it’s great you were able to do it without hitting him.

    And lastly, that was a fabulously written post. 🙂

  15. If you don’t want controlling brats as children, you have to do some ass whuppin sometimes. I think you did fine. Of course, I am only the parent of a 2 year old who pretty much runs the show, so you might not want to take advice from me. =)

  16. Punishing a child is always hard because there is always the fear of over/under punishing for “crime”. But in my personal experience as a child and helping take care of kids, sometimes the shock value in a punishment can solve a problem right away. Example:
    My friend’s little sister used to raise an object in her hand and act like she was going to throw it in your face id dshe was angry with you. One afternoon she did this to her older brother (my friend) and without thinking, he snatched the foam ball out of her hand and threw it right in her face. It obviously didn’t hurt her, and it bounced right off her face, but she was sobbing and screaming like no tomorrow. She never did it again. I think she was so shocked that someone would actually confront her on it, and it freaked her out. She stopped physically confronting people when she got angry and so did her sister.
    Sometimes shock value is so worth it. And I know you feel bad, but shocking your kid is arsonal all parents are given and yours to use.

  17. You did him a favor by teaching him right away that such behavior is absolutely unacceptable.

    That guilt is a bitch though… awful… we don’t hit either, and our preferred method of discipline are timeouts but sometimes, and you will see as they get older, for some issues it simply does not work and so it boils down to some ultimatums and a raising of the voice.

    The boundaries between “parent” and “friend” must be clear. When the situation cools down and the child starts to behave, then we sit and talk about it at the appropriate time. This way they get to release any feelings of resentment at the method of discipline, the parent gets to explain that though it may hurt their feelings it will happen again if the unacceptable behavior is repeated and then you can kiss and make up…

    That is how we do it here but then… off they go to bed and they are so teeny and fragile and precious… and me, I feel like an out of control heartless bitch and sit down and have a cry…

    And then tomorrow comes and a new challenge is there, staring me smack dab in the face! Oy! It is parenting and disciplining sucks but I keep reminding myself that if it makes for a better and more compassionate human, no spoiled and violent brats, then it will be easier for them out of the house when interacting with others and that we are doing them a favor. It is hard but there is no other choice so hey, don’t beat yourself up over it ’cause we love this Queen and she did nothing wrong!

  18. Anonymous says:

    yes, i’ve been in your shoes too. it isn’t a good feeling. However, it is necessary to discipline and teach limits, we all know that. A wise pastor once counseled me and told me that our words to our children are sort of like a bank account. Positive, encouraging words are like deposits, negative words are like withdrawals. You and hubby, the loving parents you are, have an overflowing account, of loving, kind words. When feeling badly about a situation, whether right or wrong, remember that you may have made a withdrawal, but the “balance” is still very healthy. It is when parents are always making withdrawals that one should start to reconsider their parenting technique.

    I would also add that it would not be considered “caving in” to sit with Waffles afterwards in a calm setting and explain that he is STILL a wonderful loved child, but his BEHAVIOR (or choices, pick whatever word he understands) really is what sparked the anger and discipline. And so the consequences must be carried through. It’s worked for my hubby and me, and ours are now 10 and 13, and oh my, a whole nutter ball game to learn and deal with.


  19. It happens in parenting. However, there are circumstances where things go more stern and hard-hitting when they need to be more tender & loving.

    It’s all about upbringing of your child and if it was for good, you need not feel guilty.

    Now, you can have those dump-trucks down after the dead-line and take your Waffles to have Ice-Cream together with Mommy…

  20. OMG, you did nothing wrong! In fact I think you handled it wonderfully, better to bite the hitting in the but right away! I am sure the Count now knows that it not acceptable behavior at all. He has most likely never seen his parents so angry with him, and that will drive the point home.

    I saw one of those nanny SOS shows where a woman’s kids hit her constantly – I was crying for this poor mom who’s kids abused her like that. Much better you dicipline him the first time it happens then end up with a situation like that.

  21. Ditto everyone else. You and the Kaiser did exactly the right thing. Hitting is the pinnacle of unacceptable behaviour and the Count needed to be impressed with the seriousness of his crime. Physical violence is not an appropriate means of communication, EVER. (And that goes for parents, too, IMO.)

    I agree with Anonymous, however, that a calm and loving follow-up to reinforce the idea that it’s the deed that’s horrible, not the doer, is a good plan.

    At the same time, you could mention that if he ever hits you or anyone else again, next time those favourite toys of his will be taken away PERMANENTLY.

    The irony here, as always, is that this whole episode will probably end up hurting you more than the Count. Damn these adult consciences and never-ending ability to second-guess ourselves!

  22. Ditto to all those comments! Let go of the guilt… you are a GOOD mommy and it’s okay to occasionally get upset with your child. He needs to know he must have boundries, too! You love him, he knows that… he’ll be fine! It’ll all be fine!

  23. sounds to me like boundaries and pecking order were firmly established, no one was beaten, and your guilt serves as proof that first and foremost, you love the count.

    don’t beat yourself up for being a good mom. you wouldn’t want him to hit anyone else, would you?

    hugs for you, i know you’ll pull through.

    um, sorry about the rhyme…

  24. I feel for you–I know punishing my kids always makes me feel awful. But I am cheering what you did!!

    I especially like that though you lost your cool (as anyone would) you did NOT lay hands on him.
    (I LOVE the folks who think the best way to teach a kid NOT to hit is BY hitting! Yeah, right…)

    Kids get mad at you when you punish them, but you know what? That’s okay. It’s not your job to make them happy no matter what. It’s your job to teach them limits so they don’t grow up to be brats!

    The Count knows you love him. And he won’t love you less for teaching him right from wrong. In fact, my guess is he’ll love you more!

    So don’t feel guilty. Know that you and the Kaiser did a GREAT job
    at handling this!!

  25. I didn’t read all the comments and I’m so behind on my blog reading, but I’m so laughing my butt off right now! I can totally picture the scene and how I would have reacted just about exactly how you did! Oh my gosh, that’s funny!!

  26. Every last detail of this post could have applied to me… on numerous occasions. Right down to the yelling, and a cuss word or two thrown in for good measure.

    And I don’t even have a good excuse like post partum or nursing (anymore). I feel ya. Nobody ever told me how hard being a parent was. Geez.

  27. One thing my husband does when the girls cross the line — hitting or extreme disrespect (the “duh, mom” voice) is tell them VERY firmly (yeah, sometimes yelling) you WILL NOT talk to MY WIFE that way. It reminds them that I am not only their mom, but Daddy’s wife and deserve respect in both roles. I don’t know why, but it works really well. The first couple of times, they had to ask “Mommy is your wife, right?”, and it was all he could do not to crack up right then and there!

  28. Oh, I meant to say Kdubs — I love that idea! My oldest (7) is JUST like me — absolutely has to have the last word. So you can imagine what an argument between the two of us is like. It just escalates and escalates b/c I am NOT going to let her win and she IS going to have the last word. This silent-stare-down treatment might just be the thing that gets through. Thanks!

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