Inspired yet again by another SOML story. A gentlemen talked about how society is more dangerous in his town and kids are destroying things. A comment was made of kids wanting so much all the time. Here are my thoughts –
My father was treated by strict hard hands growing up in his time. I don’t know about anybody else but my grandparents on my father side were not very loving. In fact, they would yell, argue, debate, swear at each other and anybody else who would come to visit. Our visits usually consisted of us sitting around a long table playing cards and yelling at each other. We weren’t even Italian. Oops sorry for the stigma.
My grandmother didn’t like little girls. I was usually pushed aside or told to go away. The only nice thing I remember about my grandmother was when she made donute holes. Mmmm. Those were yummy. My grandmother had 4 boys of her own and I felt like she was a little more affectionate to my brothers than to me. When I was about 12 years old she gave me the book “Flowers in the Attic” by V.C. Andrews and told me that this should make me appreciate her more. That book could’ve been one of the sharp turns in my life pointing me in the direction of my depression. I was so consumed by that book that I had to read more of V.C. Andrews. Throughout my young teenage years I searched the stores for any new ones that she may have written. I don’t know why but I’ve kept them all. I cover one whole bookshelf with them all (which is about one bankers box full – messed up, huh?).
My dad scared me when I was a child. He would not hesitate to spank us or whip us. He wouldn’t even try to find out the truth in a situation. If someone was the culprit in making him angry it didn’t matter if someone else did something to cause it, out would come the leather belt. I can’t count how many times I was whipped with the belt or spanked by the hand. I thought his hands were so big back then. Always steady and strong. I wonder now what his childhood was like. Was it much worse? I can never tell by his stories. Sometimes I don’t know whether he’s telling the truth or not when he talks about his life before me. He’s always been one of those people that I describe as “he thinks he knows a lot about everything, when he really knows little about very little”.
He’s an exaggerator, like me. I’ve been told. I don’t exaggerate to the point of lying it’s just that others don’t agree with my point of view because I make mountains out of molehills. Like once I told my husband that I thought I had an evil heart. He didn’t like that at all. His viewpoint of what is evil is totally different from mine. He believes evil is people doing unspeakable acts. Whereas for that particular comment I made I thought evil was thinking mean thoughts of others. Two totally different scales I agree.
Back to my story. There was one summer day when I was about 7 or 8 years old and I was in my room playing with my dolls. I was fine all by myself and then along comes my brother, Eric and our neighbor David. Usually they don’t go in my and my sister’s bedroom and we (girls) don’t go in our brothers bedroom. I think we were taught early on to stay out for privacy considerations.
This particular day my mom was gone somewhere and my dad was home from work (very unusual to see him during the day). My dad was taking a siesta on his chair in the living room. Before I knew what happened, Eric and David took my doll and started to tease me with her. They wouldn’t give her back to me. Believe it or not, they were literally holding her above my head so I couldn’t reach her. I got angry and yelled at them to leave me alone. When that didn’t work I tried to play with something else and they took that from me too. So I’m trying to stand up to them and it’s not working so I start to cry. My dad yelled from the living room once and when the ruckus didn’t simmer down then he stomps in and yells at me to stop crying and yelling. I did my best to try and stifle the sobs while he stood there yelling at me in front of my brother and neighbor. How unfair! I knew it was useless to defend myself but I tried to explain to my dad what they were doing. He didn’t care. I was the one making the noise.
He left the room and they went at it again. This time they were worse. Doing whatever they could to get me to cry. I just wanted to be left alone. Why couldn’t they leave me alone? Why didn’t my dad tell them to leave my room in the first place? Hello, a little common sense would tell you that if you want peace and quiet then maybe you should separate the kids….duh!!! I was infuriated! It wasn’t long and my dad stormed in there again. This time he didn’t say anything as he pulled down my skirt and spanked me bare ass in front of those two boys! God, it still pisses me off! And they just stood there and watched. Didn’t even have the decency to look away. Ooh I hated them so much!!! I was so mad at my dad! I knew that I was too old to be spanked “bare ass”! There was absolutely no reason for that what so ever! And really, pulling down a skirt?
There are a lot of other times that I’ve blanked out of my memory. But here’s one that my dad reminded me of the last time he came to visit me. He was giving me a hard time about keeping my coffee table clean. I told him that that was the least of my worries when I work all day long and the coffee table was no antique family heirloom. So he brings up the fact that my mother was not good at keeping the house cleaned when she was raising us kids. I bite my tongue a lot when I talk to my dad nowadays. My mother did the best she could and I’d like to see him be better than she was at it.
Anyways, he recalled one particular time that one of us kids spilled milk in the frig and it started to stink. He told my mom to get us kids to clean it up and he wanted it done before he came home from work that night. Well, she didn’t. I’m sure she had plenty of other things to do. But if she was anything like I am now, I wouldn’t have done it out of spite.
Well, he tells me proudly how at midnight he comes home and finds that it wasn’t cleaned so he wakes my mother up and then he wakes all four of us kids to take everything out of the frig piece by piece and scrub it down. After he smugly told me this as if he should get some sort of emmy for it, I recalled that particular night. I was very young. I didn’t have a clue what was going on or why. I was half asleep just doing what I was told.
There’s a reason why I’m bringing all of this up besides the fact that I want to write down all of my memories whether good or bad (I know there’s more bad, I need to focus on the good more). That is, I believe over the course of the generations where families were brought up strict and had very different beliefs on how to raise children and of course weren’t afraid to scold them in public, the younger generations are in fact trying to make up for those painful upbringings. I know there’s more to it. I mean there’s a lot of ingredients that go in this pot.
I can only speak for myself when I look into my daughter’s eyes and I cannot bring myself to spank her. I’ve only had to do it one time…during the first two weeks back home from the hospital with my newborn son, I was breastfeeding him in my bed and Audrey was laying beside me. Out of the blue she starts kicking. I told her to stop. She keeps doing it. I told her to stop again, she does it so much that she kicks Cameron on the head and he starts to scream. I put Cameron down in his basinet and then I go to Audrey and try to calmly get her to stop (she’s still kicking uncontrollably). She wouldn’t stop. Wouldn’t listen to anything I was saying. So I hold her in my arms and she is still going strong. I couldn’t even hold her. I tried that for a few minutes and it did nothing. I felt I had no choice but to spank the backside of her leg. Just once, to show I meant business. She stopped and looked at me in such shock with big crocodile tears. It broke my heart. But I felt like she was in hysterics and the only way I could get her to stop was to snap her out of it. She already hurt Cameron and I didn’t want her to hurt herself in the process too. So there. I confessed.
Now get this little side note. A couple days later and she’s going to spend the day with grandma (MIL). Wasn’t long after, MIL confronts me on the subject that Audrey said I hit her. I just stared her in the face. Trying hard not to change my expression in my face. I was not going to go down that road with her. I don’t need to explain myself to her. She was probing like she always does. Besides I already told my husband what happened so it wasn’t like it was a big secret or anything. I just knew there is no talking to my MIL. Anyways, she mentions how little kids don’t know what they are saying and how it could’ve been an accident and we just don’t know how to decipher what 2 year olds are saying. Her big point was the reason why she didn’t want her to go to daycare when she was an infant because they can’t tell you if something wrong is going on at the daycare. I agree. But the other point she wanted to make was that my daughter told her and she “knew”. Would you believe that 8 months later she brings this up again!!! Man alive! I thought I had a problem with letting go.
Needless to say, it is very hard for me to tell my sweet little girl no if she wants something. But I usually make her work for it or wait for it. I want her to know that if she wants something that it doesn’t come easy. She may get a time out once in a while (which she thought was a game when we first started to do that). But I bet this is vastly different then the way my parents were brought up. And because of how I was brought up it is no wonder that I want my children to be loved and understood. It is unfortunate that others in the world abuse this or maybe don’t bother raising their children right. It scares the hell out of me to see how dangerous the world is changing. I can only pray.