December 04, 2006
As a child, when something naughty came from my mouth (or, as was more often the case, from the mouth of one of my siblings), my parents employed one of two similar forms of "punishment".... soap or pepper in our mouth. It was pretty simple.... they would just grab whatever bar of soap was at the kitchen sink (this was the days before liquid hand soap became the norm), or the pepper shaker. It seemed to be pretty effective. As a parent myself, I have never used soap, since the only bar soap we keep in the house is in our shower. So, pepper seemed the only option. When we decided our elder child was finally old enough to deserve the dreaded "pepper," I was about to grab the pepper shaker, but Jay went for the bottle of Tabasco instead. It's pretty harsh. They scream, gag, drool, and occassionally vomit. I think I hate it worse than the kids. It takes me about 30 minutes to get them to calm down... after several ice cubes on the tongue, plus a glass of milk. It punishes me as much as them. So, I usually resorted to threatening, since I don't really want to do it. But they figured that out. Well, we came up with something I think is much better... "Sassy Spray." A friend gave me the idea. It's just a simple squirt bottle filled with half water, and half vinegar. It's pretty nasty, but not painful. It's harmless, and it doesn't take the kids long to recover. Therefore, I can (and do) use it often... mostly for sassing, whining, and complaining. Fortunately, naughty words are very rare in our house.... the worst words our kids know (so far) are "stupid" and "hate." I know "Sassy Spray" won't work forever, but even the threat works pretty well for now. All I have to do is say "Do you need Sassy Spray?" and I usually get a prompt and humble apology.