The Tantrum(当女儿发脾气)

The Tantrum

My mother was a vocal supporter of corporal punishment, but for all her talking she has never spanked my siblings, and me only once. Instead she found ways of punishment that left a more lasting memory then the short sting of a swat on our rumps. One of the most memorable of these occasions occurred when I was four.

In the early 70’s my mother attended college during the day while my sister was in school and I was in daycare. One day at daycare I watched an extremely tired mother attempt to pick up her daughter. The little girl asked, “Momma are we going to McDonalds for dinner?” The mother replied, “Honey, not tonight. Momma has to run a few errands and then we have to go home and cook dinner for Daddy.” “But I wanna go.” “Susie, I said not tonight. Maybe, if you are a good girl we can go tomorrow.” Susie immediately dropped to the floor, kicking and screaming, “I want to go to McDonalds.”

No amount of pleading or scolding her mother tried stopped Susie’s tantrum. Finally her mother gave in, “Okay, Susie, lets go to McDonalds.” Susie stopped yelling and smiling she grabbed her mother’s hand and they left. To say I was amazed would be inaccurate; I was delighted that anything I wanted could be had by throwing a tantrum.

That day my mother picked me up early from daycare because we were going to Sears & Roebuck to pay on a Christmas Layaway. I was excited by the lights and decorations, and as we walked through the toy section on the way to the Layaway Department, I saw a toy I had to have. It was a white and red telephone whose bells rang as it was pulled along on a string. Looking lovingly up at my mother I asked, “Mama, can I have that telephone?”

She replied, “Baby, not now, but if you are a good girl maybe Santa will bring it to you.” “But Mama, I want that telephone right now.” Her eyes narrowed and her hand tightened on mine. “Becky, you can’t have that telephone today, but if you misbehave you can have a spanking.”

By now we were standing in the long Holiday line in the Layaway Department, and I figure it was now or never. I lay down on the ground and began screaming, “I want that telephone,” over and over again. Weary Christmas shoppers looked as my mother calmly said, “Becky, you better get up by the count of three or else. One…Two…Three.”

Nothing. I was still in full tantrum. So then she lay down beside me on the floor, and began kicking and screaming, “I want a new car, I want a new house, I want some jewelry, I want…” Shocked, I stood up.

“Mama, stop. Mama get up,” I tearfully pleaded.

She stood, and brushed herself off. At first stunned, the others waiting in line began to sporadically clap, and before I knew it they were cheering and laughing and patting my mother on her back. She blushed and took a little bow and the next thirty minutes in line was pure misery for me as various parents leaving the Layaway Department, shake their heads at me and say with a smile, “Your mom got you good. I bet you’ll never try that again.”

And I didn’t, because it left a lasting mental picture more effective then any physical mark.



  七十年代初期,妈妈白天在大学里念书,而我姐姐当时在学校念书,我则上了托儿所。有一天,我在托儿所里看到一位疲惫不堪的母亲来接她的女儿回家。只听那个小女孩问:“妈妈,我们晚上去麦当劳,好吗?”那位母亲回答说:“今晚不行,宝贝。妈妈还有事情要做,做完后还要回家给你爸爸做饭去。”“但是我想去嘛!”“苏茜,今晚不行。你听话的话,妈妈明天带你去。” 小女孩听完马上就坐在地上,踢着脚嚷了起来:“我要去麦当劳,我要去麦当劳……”

  不管那位母亲怎么好说歹说,那女孩还是不依。最后那位母亲让步了:“好吧,我带你到麦当劳去。” 苏茜马上停止了叫喊,拉住她妈妈的手高高兴兴地离开了。我惊奇地看着这一幕,心里简直乐开了花――原来只要耍耍脾气就可以得到我想要的东西啦!


  妈妈回答说:“宝宝,现在不行。如果你表现好的话,说不定圣诞老人会送你一个。”“但我现在就想要嘛!” “贝基,今天不能买那个电话机,如果你再胡闹的话我就要打你屁股了。” 妈妈皱起眉头握紧了我的手。




  母亲站起来拍了拍衣服,愣住了的人群开始稀稀拉拉地鼓起掌来。我还没醒悟过来怎么回事,他们已经欢快地笑了起来,还不时地拍妈妈的肩膀表示鼓励。妈妈脸红红的,向大家鞠了个躬表示感谢。你都不知道在接下来的半个多小时我有多么难受的。人们在离开商店前都会冲我摇头,并笑嘻嘻地对我说: “你妈妈是为你好,我敢打赌你以后再也不敢这样做了!”


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