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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.

  当女儿发脾气

  我妈从来都说她支持对不听话的孩子进行体罚,可尽管她口头上说了那么多,她就从来没有打过我们几姊妹(除了一次打了我屁股之外)。她总能想出一些方法来惩罚我们,而这些方法远比巴掌打在我们屁股上更痛、更持久。我记得最清楚的一次发生在我四岁那年。

  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!

  那一天我妈妈提前到了托儿所来接我,因为我们要去西尔斯商场拿我们预定的圣诞礼物。一路上,我被商场里花花绿绿的灯饰吸引住了。在路过玩具专卖区的时候,我一下子就看上了一件玩具。那是一个红白相间的电话机,只要拉一下机上的绳子就会发出动听的铃声。我抬头很乖巧地对妈妈说:“妈妈,能买那个玩具电话机给我吗?”

  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。

  我们当时在定购部收银处那里排队,很多人排起了长队准备交钱。我当时就觉得机不可失,不争取的话电话机就没指望了。我一屁股坐在地上尖叫了起来:“我要电话机,我要电话机!”这么一嚷,周围购物的人们都回过头来。只听见我妈妈很平静地说:“贝基,当我数到三的时候你最好给我站起来,一……二……三。”

  我没有起来,还在继续发着我的脾气。这时妈妈也在我身边坐下,开始踢着脚叫了起来:“我想要部新车,我想要座新房子,还有珠宝,我还要……”我吓得马上站了起来。

  “妈妈,不要这样,妈妈,你起来啊!”我泪眼汪汪地请求说。

  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!”

  我后来的确没有这么做了,因为这实在太刻骨铭心了,那教训比身上的疤痕还更深刻。

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