Friday, January 07, 2011

Flashback Friday: Discipline




You know, I did a meme for a while, so I know that it's tough coming up with consistently interesting conversation starters. I do not know how Linda meets this goal week after week. All I know is, once she opens up a topic, she does not leave you without 1 or a dozen jumping off points, which I so appreciate. Here's what's on tap this week; why don't you join in?

Were your parents strict, permissive, or somewhere in-between when you were growing up? Did you tend to be compliant or rebellious? What did you tend to get in trouble for doing? How did your parents discipline/punish you - spankings (and what did they use when spanking), revoking privileges, grounding, time-outs or some other manner? Did both parents handle punishment or did one tend to do it more than the other? (And which one was it?) Is there anything that you have admitted doing since you've been an adult that you got away with as a child? Or is there anything you were punished for that you have since learned your parents had to try hard not to laugh while they were meting out your discipline? If you are a parent, what is something you have done or not done (or vowed you would never do) as a result of your growing-up experiences with discipline?

My parents were, on one hand, strict, and on the other, permissive.

The religious denomination of my youth was very legalistic, so rules were a big part of my life. We did not buy on Sunday. We did not play cards. We did not do a lot of things.

You would think that such rigidity would flow over into things like dress codes, household chores, curfews, etc. You would be wrong.

It was a very complicated upbringing, but it was a loving one, and I was a mostly compliant, rule-following little girl.

Except for this one time and this one rule ....

My parents remodeled their living room and added a sprayed-on bumpy ceiling with little sparklies in it. I was quite fascinated by that bumpy ceiling. Quite. Fascinated.

My mom gave me a serious, stern talking-to about the new ceiling: "It must never be poked with a broomstick. It must never have toys thrown at it. It must never be approached without fear and trembling." OK, I made that last part up, but the ceiling, it was definitely something special. It had sparkles, you know.

But the main rule of rules about the ceiling was, "It must never, ever get wet. If it gets wet, it will melt and chip off, and we'll have to re-do the whole ceiling." I cannot communicate the somber tone of this warning. It was nearly a religious moment itself.

Now, my mom liked to talk on the phone. You remember those crazy phones with the three pound receivers and curly cords that tethered moms so that kids could run around just out of the reach of a swat.

Shortly after the Mt. Sinai exhortation about the ceiling, my mom got a phone call.

To this day, I do not know what possessed me. Like I said, I was normally a good kid. But I went and got a Windex bottle, climbed up on the furniture and began SPRAYING THE CEILING.

THE SACRED CEILING OF SPARKLES!!!!

I can hardly breathe just reliving the insanity of this act.

My mother got off the phone. She looked up, gasped, and after that, much of my life is a blur until about age 25.

Oh, the fear and trembling. Hell hath no fury like the mom of a mushy sparkle ceiling.

She began walking around the house, methodically shutting the windows.

Oh, the horror. She was going to spank me so hard she didn't want the neighbors to hear my wailing.

I was basically dying a thousand deaths.

Here is the honest truth: She yelled and yelled, but I do not remember the spanking (and there have been many in my life). I do not know whether she was just so shell-shocked that she did not have the physical strength to spank me or was afraid once she started swatting she couldn't stop, but I cannot remember being hit. I just remember the yelling and the windows.

That is one moment of discipline I will never forget. And you can bet I have NEVER sprayed a sparkly ceiling again. I live in mortal fear and reverence of sparkly ceilings.

Now I need to step away from this story, gather my wits and take some deep breaths.

And just in case I never said it, Mom, I'm sorry I desecrated the ceiling. If you will forgive me for that, I will forgive you for making me wear your big plastic rain bonnet on the bus to school in kindergarten. I think we're even.

18 comments:

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

LOL....I loved that post. We had a sparkle ceiling too....I swept it. It did not sag like yours....but it simply broke off onto the carpet. I hate sparkle ceilings to this day. I, unlike you, remember the spanking very well.

Joyce said...

This just cracks me up!

Mocha with Linda said...

Oh my! This made me simultaneously cringe and laugh!

It's a wonder she trusts you to do her eyebrows.

edshunnybunny said...

What a funny post! Thanks for sharing, and giving me my daily laugh :) Have a great day!

Mama Zen said...

This is hilarious!

Sara said...

I don't have a sparkly ceiling, but I have a cottage cheese ceiling. I would desperately love for you to come over with your little bottle of Windex and try to get that stuff OFF! Too funny - made my day...

The Bug said...

Great story - sometimes our little minds are just filled with an unfathomable logic. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time :)

We got a new house when I was abour four or five. My brother was not quite two years younger than me. At some point after we moved in he went into the bathroom closet & FLUNG wads of wet toilet paper onto the ceiling where they stuck. It must have seemed like magic to him. Since it was a closet Mom never looked at the ceiling very often. Eventually, when she finally noticed, it looked like someone had papier mached the ceiling.

mary beth said...

oh you naughty girl! What goes around comes around, you know! Just sayin...

Sara said...

When a mother actually goes around and closes all the windows, something very bad is coming!
Oh, my word Linda, this was hilarious! Ironically, I got in trouble for telling the truth. I am technically the "baby". My Mother was a middle child and growing up she felt her younger sister was the "golden child", spoiled...she was determined not to "allow" me to be the "baby". My sister had jealousy issue, she did awful things to me and would lie about doing them. Because normal little 4 year olds cut there screens out of their rooms, walk down the street in the winter with now shoes on and ask neighbors for food for NO reason at all?!? My sister was left "in charge" and she locked me in my room not letting me come out for the bathroom or food and after 3 hours I escaped the only way I knew how. I was spanked with a plastic hot wheels track across the bare butt and I had to give back birthday gifts to buy a screen for my window. Because Sherri "would never do that!"
Oh, I have more...but I can say after 36 years my Mother has finally lost the rose colored glasses she's used to look at my sister with. Seriously, I thought the day would never come. It was the most healing day of my life when I sat down with Mother and told her all the "stuff" and she finally said "Why didn't you TELL ME?!" and I could in all seriousness and love say to her "Because you wouldn't have believed me."
It opened up the flood gates.
(I DO need to mention that I do LOVE my sister, I just don't have a relationship with her.)

Susanne said...

Oh my goodness. Reading about the closing of the windows filled me with dread. I must have some dreaded window closing memory too. LOL.

Pamela said...

Funny story. I don't recall ever hearing that one. I am glad it was you and not me. I do remember getting in trouble for telling you that Santa Clause wasn't "real." Why I felt I had to tell you, I don't remember. I don't think that I got a spanking but I do remember the look of disappointment on my mom's face. Do you think it was my mom that had called her? I could almost always guess who my mom was on the phone with...your mom.

Liz said...

You made me laugh out loud today. It's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything at the moment because I would've spit it at the computer monitor.

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

I'm much to tired to come up with a real, actual post, but when I was about 22, my husband and I moved my dad out of the house he and mom had occupied before her death. We had this ottoman (we called it a hassock? We also called bedspreads counterpaines, so who knows?) with one of those gauzey brown dust covers staped to the underpinings. When I was around 5, I cut a slit in the dust cover, wound my one of my dad's belts up and stuffed it inside. Never fessed up. And at 5, it didn't help much--he DID have other belts, after all...when we moved dad out, I reached inside the slit and presented him with his belt and fessed up. We all got a chuckle out of it...and he finally solved the mystery of just where that belt was after all these years....

Cathy said...

Thanks for the laugh!

Jenny said...

This made me laugh and cringe at the same time. I can imagine yours moms face of horror.

bekahcubed said...

It's not often that I actually laugh out loud at something found on the internet--but that definitely had me howling! I just LOVE that your mother went around methodically closing windows!

Susan said...

Oh my, I'm crying for laughing so hard! Why is it I can just picture a little girl staring at the ceiling hashing up a good plan.

Stephanie said...

Hahahah! I closed the windows to yell at my boys once (ONCE!) and forgot that our windows had little holes at the bottom through which every whisper could be heard. The neighbours were watering their flowers right outside. Oh, the looks on their faces! That day I learned that if you feel you have to close the windows, you probably shouldn't be yelling like that in the first place. :) I loved your story!