Had to get my bluff in the other day. "Huh?" you say? Yep. Had to get my bluff in.
"Getting your bluff in," is a parenting technique taught to me by my mother, probably passed on and on and on through the generations. It is OH SO IMPORTANT. What it means, is simply - letting "them" (those little darlings) know that you ain't gonna take no crap - and you'll put your money where your mouth is. The key is, getting a REALLY good one in, so they know you have NO PROBLEM with the small stuff.
The first time I had to "get my bluff in" was in 1997 with sweet Moey-Moey-Moey-Pamoey (my 15 year old.) We were in the grocery store, you know, that wonderful place we mothers LOVE to take our toddlers. Because, they NEVER act up in there! Oh, no! There's NOTHING for them to grab, throw, or beg-whine-cry for! Well, there we were. Last aisle. Almost done. Basket is FULL. I mean, I'm leaning-in to the basket to get it to turn the corners. Morgan is sitting in the little kid spot of the basket. And, it starts.
The whining, the begging, the temper after being told "no." And then I said it, "If you do not stop, and start behaving like a big girl, Mama is going to take you to the car, and spank your bottom. Then, we will go home and you will not have treats the rest of the day." GULP. What did I just say???? Crap! Now I've got to do it! And, of course Morgan looked at me like "Oh yeah? Seriously, mom. You're gonna stand there and tell me that YOU, are going to leave a full basket of groceries in the store?" And there it was. The line drawn in the sand by my 3 year old. I could hear my mom's voice in my ear, "You have to get your bluff in!"
So, I did it. This story brings back so many conflicting feelings. Do you know how hard it was for me to pick her up out of that basket and just LEAVE IT THERE?!?!? Right smack in the middle of the freezer section? In hind sight, I totally wish I had at least taken it to the front and given it to a store clerk. But, at the time, I was horrified enough for leaving it at all - I just wanted to get out of there.
I calmly (at least outwardly) walked to the car, Morgan squirming and whining and begging for mercy the entire way. When I got to the car, I opened the front passenger door, and sat her there facing me. Morgan was shocked speechless at this point (a miracle if you know her) and I had her full attention.
The speech went something like this:
"Morgan, I love you with all of my heart. God gave you to me to teach you how to love Him, and how to be a young woman who can control herself no matter how hard it is. The way you were behaving in that store did not make me proud. I told you that if you continued, I would do this, even though I really-REALLY do not want to, I must, because I keep my promises."
I stood her up, spanked her little bottom, and then hugged her while we both cried. We got her up into her carseat and went home to an empty pantry and a few hours of book-reading in my lap.
That was one of the hardest days of my life. But, it was sooooo fruitful. After that day, when I told Morgan the consequences, she KNEW I had the cohonies to follow through (even when I wasn't sure I had them myself.)
I've had to get my bluff in with Bradyn and Anna (yep even Anna has seen it already), but, luckily for Bradyn, she was able to witness me "putting my money where my mouth is" with Morgan, making her a believer without too much first-hand experience. Although, adolescence is a whole new ballgame for my Sweet Little Brady Lady.
Anna, well, Anna has a lot of her big sister Morgan in her. (I have no idea WHERE they get it???) :) One day about a month ago, she was throwing a temper tantrum over something as important as say, Mama not letting her throw away the remote control. I know, I'm so mean! With our hardwood floors on top of slab, I'm so worried she's gonna knock herself out cold in her temper-thrashing and head-banging anger. So, when she revved up a tantrum, I just moved her to the rug in the den and walked away so she couldn't see me.
That little rascal! I heard silence and thought, "Yay, that was quick." Then, she comes back into the kitchen, lies down on the floor and starts the tantrum back up for my viewing pleasure. Only his time she is MAD! She can't give it her full effort because she knows it will hurt. She stopped. Looked at me (as I used every bit of resolve I had - not to smile at her little show), and then came over and hugged my legs crying. Sooooo precious!
So, I guess this blog is a reminder to myself of the task at hand. Tools, lessons, techinques...things I had forgotten with the ten-year gap between my two youngest. It truly is like starting over. You really do forget a lot. And, I wonder EVERYDAY if I am still up to the task. Thank God for my Mom, my friends, and my Twitter mom-friends for moral support! Fist-bumps for everyone!