Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just Add Water...

I don't know if you are aware of it or not, but the earth has witnessed another miracle: Amy was given high praise by her teacher (albeit the second day of school) for her behavior. Wow.

This is the child that I was sure was going to get the entire family invited to leave the whole county school system. And, here she is, giving her teacher (who has extremely high expectations) cause to tell me how impressed she is!

For about five minutes, I felt like I may have actually had this parenting thing down.

Then all of the unruly behavior Amy had not shared at school came tumbling out in a big-ole-roll-around-on-the-floor-kicking-her-feet-screaming-and-crying-hysterically-saying-you-don't-love-me-I-wish-I-was-never-born-I'm-never-talking-to-you-again-why-won't-you-talk-to-me-you-love-Keith-and-Emma-more-mother-of-all-hissy-fits.

I didn't know how in the world to react??? Keith and Emma are so easy to reason with. Amy was screaming, crying and (literally) kicking my car door.

This was a fit I was just going to have to ride out. And the less I reacted, the madder she got. I almost had to pull the car over to make sure she didn't hurt herself or flail across the car and jerk the steering wheel... Almost...

Finally, I pulled into a parking spot and put the car in park. She was sucking in so much air with each sob I was afraid she was going to be sick.

"What-are-we-doing?" she managed to get out, with her chest heaving and her eyes ringed with red.

"We're getting some soap," I replied calmly.

"What-for?" she asked, beginning to level out her breathing just a little bit.

"For you."

"Huh?" she shifted in her seat and wiped her face with the back of her arm.

"I am getting soap for you so that when you are acting ugly like you are right now, I can wash your mouth out with soap."

She eyed me skeptically.

"Really?" she asked, eyes narrowed.

"Yep. Let's go."

"Why do I have to go?" suddenly more interested in this new line of thought than the already-forgotten temper tantrum.

"Because you get to pick out what kind I'll use."

"You mean like a flavor?" she asked, smiling a crooked smile.

"Sort of. They have about a gazillion scents in Bath & Body Works. Surely you can find a scent that will work for you."

"Work for me how?" she asked as she began fingering one of the bottles at her eye-level.

"Well," I explained calmly, "when you are not listening to mommy, and being sassy, or if you are saying ugly things and acting in an ugly way, I'm going to pour a little of this soap out and put it on your tongue."

"What will it taste like?" she asked excitedly.

"I guess it depends on what scent you choose."

"Hmmm," she mused, as she begin to take on her task quite seriously. "Are you going to let me try it?"

"Nope. I'm saving it for when you need it."

"Oh. No fair," she whined.

I just gazed at her, certain she had no idea what I was talking about.

Finally she picked Warm Vanilla Sugar. I think she liked the idea of it having vanilla and sugar, ergo it should be sweet.

I got the travel size so it would fit in my purse and headed up to the counter.

Amy grabbed my hand and skipped along side me.

"You're the best mommy ever!" she beamed.

I was torn between feeling horribly guilty for presumably giving her the wrong impression of the whole soap-in-the-mouth-punishment, and thinking, "Surely she is not this stupid."

For the rest of the day whenever Amy would begin to go down the path of whining/crying/complaining/arguing/etc., I would calmly look at her and ask, "Do we need to go to the bathroom and have me put soap in your mouth?"

She would straighten up as if I had zapped her with a stun gun, "No, ma'am."


I wonder how long this will take before she loses some of her "respect" for it. I know there will come a day when I will have to follow through and actually put Warm Vanilla Sugar Bath Gel from Bath and Body Works on my child's tongue. That day, I'm sure, will be cause for a blog akin to a transcript from the Jerry Springer show.

But for now, the teacher is still happy. Amy seems to actually enjoy having such strict boundaries from mommy. And I have some extra hand soap in my purse in case some public restroom isn't stocked quite enough.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring??? Maybe if she gets too used to the soap, we'll have to move over to Benadryl shooters... Or up my medication... Or both... Yeah, definitely both.

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