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Yesterday was the first time that I was not excited to get home to see my girls. The reason that I was less than enthusiastic about my homecoming was that I was coming home to be the enforcer. The admistering agent of righteous retribution. We don't spank much. However, on this occasion we wanted to make a big impression. She, Rylee, was told that I would give her a spanking when I got home. Us thinking that the punishment might mean more coming from "Dad" and maybe waiting for it all day would make her think a little more about her behavior. I suppose that you are wondering what her crime was.

Behavior at school was the problem. We found out yesterday that for the last three weeks Rylee has been hiding under her desk and not coming out when she didn't want to do something. She was not getting spanked for that. She has also been screaming out at the top of her lungs, often, when she gets angry about something. She was not getting spanked for that either. At lunch yesterday she wanted Chantal's cookie. Up till now Chantal has been Rylee's good friend. Rylee had asked her several times if she could have her cookie and Chantal told her "No." So Rylee screamed and hit her. That was what got her a couple of swats on the rump.

I am troubled by a couple of things. Why has this been going on for three weeks and this is the first that we are hearing of it? How is it that our lovely, polite, well behaved little girl is now having these issues? Last month her teacher told us that she wished that she could clone Rylee, that she was a near perfect student. Now she sounds like sort of a little brat. What has changed?

Anyway, I felt a little sick all the way home. I had to keep rewinding my book on tape because my mind kept drifting to "How are you going to handle THIS one Mark?" Should I put on "stern" right away? Should I give her a hug? I had been gone for nearly a week so I had to get my hug. And I wanted her to know that I love her no matter what. BUT she was still in trouble.

So when I walked in the door I got the usual "DADDY!!! Daddy is home!" from three of the girls. I pretty much expected that. I got my hugs and kisses from them and then turned my attention to Rylee. She was sitting at the kitchen table looking somewhat glum. I expected that too. "Can I have a hug please?" I asked. She nodded. I gave her a big hug "I missed you. I love you very much." I told her.
"I love you too." she said. "You are going to spank me." she said in a sort of matter of fact way.
"Yes, I am. We will talk about that in a minute." I was thinking of putting it off for a little longer. Mostly because I just didn't want to do it. But then thought it would be better for all of us to just get it over with. "Come with me. I want to talk to you first." She hopped down and followed me into the bed room.
"Dad, could you spank me first?" she asked. I didn't expect that. I supposed she had the same thing on her mind. Let's get this over with as soon as possible.
"No, I want to talk to you first." I said as I sat her on the bed and squatted down to talk to her eye to eye. "Do you know why you are getting a spanking?" I asked.
"Because I hit Chantal."
"That is right. The only time that it is ever okay to hit is if someone is trying to hurt you and won't stop. You have the right to defend yourself. But you hit someone because they wouldn't give you their cookie. Over a cookie! That is not okay. Ever.
Ms. Mayl called us today and told us that you have been hidding under your desk and not coming out when things arn't going your way AND that you have been screaming when you get angry. That is unacceptable. You are not getting spanked for that, but it better not continue." Here I gave her the serious stink eye. She didn't even blink. I wasn't sure if that was because she was paying close attention or if she was totally unfazed. "Mom and I are very disapointed. And embarrassed. Do you know what this makes Ms. Mayl think?" I asked.
"What?" she asked with big doe eyes.
"She thinks that we aren't good parents. She thinks that we didn't teach you good manners. And that isn't true. You dissapointed Ms. Mayl too. You were doing so good, you were her favorite student... So Okay?"

So she took her punishment and walked stoically out of the bed room without even a tear. And I started thinking "Uh oh, what am I going to do if that had no effect at all?" But then she burst into tears and ran up to her room. I let her sulk for a little while and then went up to make sure that she knew that her punishment was over and she didn't have to go sulk anymore.

Sometimes the parenting thing is difficult.

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