Unintended Punishments

nanny-paddleChris thought I was being mouthy earlier.  Personally, I think he received rather more of an education that I actually intended at ShadowLane, but that’s a rather different entry than the one I’m composing just now.  In any event, he pulled out the new ‘nanny paddle’ he bought from The London Tanners, settled the princess on the bed watching Scooby-Doo, and suggested we retire to the family room (50 feet away with a closed door between us) for a few minutes to deal with the problem, so as to not have to worry about it later when we wanted to play.

We’ve done this before without a problem, mostly for short verbal exchanges outside of perceptive ears.  And we really do want to teach her that it’s okay to lie in bed by oneself.  She was perfectly content.

I was dressed in a short black tennis skirt that just barely covers my bottom anyway and a white t-shirt.  Chris had no trouble flipping it up and smacking me with his hand – something I usually enjoy.  But I yelped, squealed and tried to turn on his lap, particularly every time his hand connected with the right side of my bottom.

And then he used the paddle in a gentle (yes, it really was gentle) introduction to this new toy, which is only slightly larger than the infamous walnut hairbrush that resides in the nightstand drawer.

Yes, it hurt, even though it wasn’t terribly severe.  For reasons attributable to another London Tanners implement (the pocket lochgelly tawse) my right bottomcheek is extremely sore.  I wasn’t quiet – I didn’t think I needed to be – but neither did I scream.  It was enough to make me bright red, and when we opened the family room door and strolled through the house to the bedroom, I was rubbing and jokingly whining “Ouch…”

And then we – still laughing and somewhat recovering – saw the princess on the bed.  She was sitting up and she said, “Mama, you okay?”

“Oh, yes, sweetheart,” I assured her, still quite unaware of the direction of the conversation.

Her brow furrowed a little.  “Mama sad,” she said.  “Daddy hit Mama.”

I felt my heart sinking.  When I hadn’t felt like crying from a spanking at all, this simple statement worried me.  “No, no, sweetheart,” I said again, “Mama happy.  Daddy no hits Mama.”

She didn’t look convinced but thinking to let it go, I asked her if she wanted to go the family room with Daddy.  “Daddy hit ‘Princess’ too,” she said quite seriously.  “‘Princess’ sad.”

And then I really did want to cry.

Chris reassured her that he would never hit Mama or the princess, but she didn’t want to listen.  She was already back to her Scooby-Doo episode.

It bothers me anyway.

11 thoughts on “Unintended Punishments

  1. Haron

    {{{HUGS}}} Reasurances should work at this age – little kittens do believe everything you tell them, unless you consistently disprove it.
    That paddle? Looks nasty. I want one.

  2. Paul

    I’m sure Haron’s right, sparkle. Whatever she might have thought, it’s passed already. Still, I think Chris should be *especially* nice to you for a few weeks. Can’t be too careful.

  3. Annon.

    I’ve been curious about this very thing happening. If you’re howling away during a spanking, I didn’t know how you kept your baby from hearing it. I can’t even imagine how painful it was to have your little girl say that to you.
    It shows how much little kids hear and can pick up. And she’ll only notice things more as she gets older. I’d hope you both take more precautions about being quiet and not making her worry about those kinds of things. It obviously upset her a lot to think her daddy was hitting her mommy. And she knew what was going on. Not that I’m trying to scold you at all, I just wouldn’t want you to keep doing things where she can here them and have her get upset again. Or going off telling other people daddy hits mama.

  4. Mija

    Ugh! That’s no fun. I can only imagine how upset you must have felt. That said, as you also say, she’s probably well past it.
    I’m not sure if you remember this, but this has actually been discussed a few times over the years on the newsgroup, generally when kids have found or heard stuff. (I think it was MaggieD who posted once about her son coming running out of their bedroom waving a large black leather paddle and asking where the other one and the ball were.) Kessily wrote about explaining to her young neice (I think) that what she was hearing was a game — that they were playing and having fun. She said she would generally try to laugh rather than whimper during swats.
    I think (unlike Anon.) that this will get easier rather then harder as she gets older and you can find a way to explain things. The fact that neither of you hit her and that (having spent so much time with you both) you’re such a loving couple will only make that clearer. Also, as I noted when I got to visit you in your new house (when it was new), you bought a place where you can put a lot of distance and doors between her bedroom and a play space. Especially as she gets older and doesn’t want to be next to you every minute.
    Even though P and I don’t have children, I do have thoughts about this as growing up I must have heard things over the years that I thought were part of them having sex that in retrospect I realize were part of their own spanking / bdsm play. Whatever other issues I might carry from my childhood, my impression of my parents’ relationship was always that they were devoted to eachother. I can only imagine, given what you and Chris are like, that will be what your daughter takes away as well. 🙂

  5. Mija

    Oh, one last thought. Not that you need advice (not that that’s ever stopped me), but you or Chris might reassure yourself by writing Janet H. She sure did a great job with her kids and must have found a way to explain what was going on somehow. 🙂

  6. Fireman Chris

    I’m still not sure where the princess’ comment came from. Sparkle was definitely not loud in the family room. Sure, she yelped a little, but she wasn’t screaming or anything. You’d have been hard-pressed to hear her in the kitchen (which was directly on the other side of the closed door), let alone in the bedroom where she was.
    The only thing I can think is that she just decided the “Ouch” in the living room was from something. She got bumped into a wall at pre-school last week (not sure, but think it was accidental…the teacher just told us it happened, not how) resulting in some minor scrapes on her arm and leg. She seems to focus on the most immediate events in her life as her focus for why things happen, so she may have been assuming that any “Ouch” came from getting hit.
    In any event, I didn’t at all like hearing those words come from her mouth, but I’m not too worried about it.

  7. ~Red~

    Little ones pick up on a lot more than we notice. Mine certainly do. I won’t lie to my kids if they hear something or if my husband comes home and gives me a swat on the butt while we’re cooking dinner or whatever. We just tell them that it’s fun smacks like a birthday spanking which they understand cause we do the birthday spankings and then tickles for everyone’s birthday. So…if they see it, the most they do now is say, “Momma was that a tickle spank?” It probably helps our cause that we don’t spank our children as punishment, so they don’t know to associate it with being in trouble or being hurt.

  8. Megs

    I don’t want to sound like the alarmist here… but I’d worry a bit more… NOT so much because I think your daughter is any danger of ultimately forming negative impressions about sexuality or what daddy does to mommy or anything like that… but if she does go to pre-school (or wherever) and happen to say something about daddy hitting mommy like Annon mentioned… well… things could get tricky. We’re in sort of a difficult spot legally… it doesn’t matter if we’re all healthy happy willing participants in something- I think the official statement is you “can’t consent to abuse.” And all it takes is one person with power to not get it. Or one judge to want to give the impression that he’s very tough on evil abusive men. If a teacher hears any hint that something she thinks of as abuse might be going on at home, it’s not nosey, or closed minded of her to go to a social worker… it’s her duty. And it should be, because in most cases, if a kid goes into school and says daddy’s hitting mommy (or mommy’s hitting daddy or mommy’s hitting mommy for that matter) something IS seriously wrong. I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong but PLEASE be careful… Mija’s right… it will get easier when she gets older… but it sounds like not for quite a few more years. Anyway, enough fearmongering… sorry.

  9. sparkle

    Megs: I am intimately familiar with our state’s mandatory reporting requirements as they relate to minor children… That being said, I can’t really explain our complex and multiple relationships to the pre-school and its staff without giving details, but I think it infinitely more likely that I would be approached directly by those who care about me (in the nature of an intervention) than be subject to the immediate indignities of a social worker.
    Paul, Haron: I hope so.
    Annon: I don’t really howl during spankings. I whimper and bury my mouth in a pillow, usually. And generally we play when she is asleep or out of the house. This occasion was perhaps a once-in-six-months event. No matter what, he’s not going to stop spanking me (and if he tried, I’d probably really howl) so we’ll find some positive way to approach the situation. The fact is, thousands of BDSM (and spanking) couples exist in this country, and they have healthy and happy families.
    Mija, do you have Janet’s e-mail? 🙂
    Red, That’s kind of where we’re going, I think – to explaining it as a ‘game’, a game being a concept she is just beginning to understand. Of course, if she wants to play the game too, we’ll have to figure out some new rules to explain to her the smacking sound… 🙂
    Everyone: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Chris is right – that what she heard was me jokingly say, “Ouch!” She hasn’t developed a sense of humor yet, but (being quite the active child) understands quite well the concepts of boo-boos, ouchies, and hurts.
    I’m starting to ‘get over it’, but the fact is that I probably won’t forget about it for awhile, because I am very sensitive (err… sometime insecure) about parenting and such. I think sometimes we tend to treat the princess and expect things of her that are slightly beyond expectations for her age, which makes moments like these – when she won’t stop and listen and discuss things with us – especially hard. The fact is, both Chris and I are rational thinkers and like to think we reason things out most of the time, but an under-3-year-old doesn’t really have that capability, even though we really wish she did.

  10. shrew

    My sons are a few years older than ‘Princess’ and they understand to a certain degree what is happening. I don’t go into specifics with them.
    The only downside at thier age is they try to bribe me, saying they wont tell if I buy them a cd or game or something. No, I don’t give in to them.

  11. Katy McG

    Wow…this really made us stop and think because we’re in the middle of buying a house. One of our top ten holds its place because of this attribute: it has an entire upstairs master suite, meaning that the door to the stairs could be closed and then the entrance to the upstairs could be closed as well, resulting in privacy and security (I didn’t even notice this while we were in the house, thinking only of the inconvenience of having to go up and down all day, but it was the first thing he mentioned when we got in the car!).
    This particular house was in the process of sliding down the list but now, after the princess incident, it’s in the top three again.
    Sparkle, I know how scary it is when they come out with comments like that…sorry it troubled you….but I read both yours and Chris’s posts and you are doing a fantastic job parenting her (in anyone’s book). The important thing is that the two of you adore her and each other, which you clearly do.


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