Today I'm here to prove a cliche. We all grew up hearing our parents say "This hurts me more than it hurts you.", right before they hit you with a belt so big it would bring a smile to the face of Rick Flair as he imagines holding it high above his head. Before we had Fred I always thought this was just something parents said to their kids to justify the beating that was about to take place. After all, what the phrase really says is that "I want you to learn this lesson so badly that I am willing to cause myself pain if it means that maybe just maybe you'll never make this mistake again." As if every swing of the switch simultaneously leaves a visible red mark on the child and a deeper unseen mark on the parent.
As I am now officially the parent of a 3 yr-old I can tell you that while I don't feel every smack on the butt, I definitely am pained before, after, and during the experience. The most painful thing about punishing Fred is that it simply kills my night. All day I spend my time at the office day dreaming about playing cars, tossing the football, playing golf, putting together a puzzle. Not once do I ever think "Man I can't wait to get home and make my child cry all night. What I wouldn't give to sit on my couch and not hear what I'm watching as the sounds of Fred whaling his lungs out echo across the neighborhood." You can't very well head off to the Space & Rocket Center moments after discovering your son took a swing at his "favorite" teacher. Plus...and this may sound wussy, but remember I've worked behind a desk for ten years and have been a part-time freelance writer for 2... it kinda hurts my wrist a little. Even if we pull out the dreaded wooden spoon of pain there's still some wrist action that takes place and typically causes a few aches n's pains.
Instead of "This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you." maybe everyday I should just wake up go straight to my son and say "Look I know you can't help yourself, but could you pleeease not do anything bad today? I don't want to spank you. I don't want to talk about the bad thing you did with your mother all night. I don't want to hear you scream like you've been shot after only one pat on the but. Basically I don't want you to ruin my night. So before you go out into the great wide open, before you crawl under the class room rug after being told not to, could you please remember your dear old dad and just go make a tower?"