I used to substitute teach preschool when I was earning my teaching credential (which I never used… this is one of about a gazillion jobs I’ve had in my life … that will be another post for another day…) As a result, I believed that I really liked young children and that I had scads of patience and would therefore be one of those very composed and put together mommy-types who did not need to scream at their children to get their point across.
I was wrong.
My temper is vertically challenged. It’s shorter than Tatoo on Fantasy Island. It’s shorter than the smallest member of the Lollypop Gang. It’s… well, you get it. I’ve got nothing but more jokes about dwarves and little people and really, that just isn’t all that nice. Nor is it the point of this post. The point is that I have found myself literally shaking in an effort to avoid doing something to Turbo that will scare him so badly that he will hate me for the rest of both our lives. I am working on this, I really am. That being said, I haven’t done that thing yet (not sure what that thing really is… I’m not gonna find out, I promise). But I have tried lots of other things in an attempt to get the little monster to step back in line. The worst thing is that Turbo has what I have decided is a nervous habit. When he is in a lot of trouble and is most likely uncomfortable and slightly scared because mommy’s face is turning crimson and spit is flying out of her mouth as she yells at him, he does the worst thing he could possibly do. He laughs. And if you’ve ever been pissed at a 3 year old, and find yourself telling ’em how it’s gonna be, the last thing you’re going for is to make them laugh. Be silent? Yes. Tremble in fear of my sinister sounding mommy-threats? Oh yes. But laugh? No.
I’ve done things in efforts at discipline that have mostly come to no fruitful conclusion. Probably the best example is when, not a half mile from our house, Turbo was doing something — of course now I have no clue what it was — that led me to offer the lamest threat that my parents ever used, “Don’t make me pull this car over!” Well, he did. And I did. And then I had no bloody idea what to do. I pulled over, braked hard and jumped out, furious. And then I stood there wondering what parents are supposed to do once they’ve pulled the car over. The best I could come up with was to open his door and get my face right in his tiny face (which did look scared at this point) and tell him to cut. it. out. It actually did work. But I hate feeling like I’ve working a plan with no idea how it’s supposed to turn out.
My greatest parenting tool (which will reveal how utterly clueless I am at this) is to count slowly to three. What is weird is that it usually works. It’s even starting to work with Lunchbox. They do something crappy, I give them the look, issue my warning and then start counting, and whatever it is usually stops before three. My mom was in town one day when I had reason to count, and she leaned over and whispered, “What happens at three?” I was honest with her. “Mom, I haven’t got a clue.”
So, what happens at three? Anyone? Anyone?