They really should require some sort of license for this job

Another FB re-post from last summer so I have our stories in one place…

August 30, 2011

This note is the same Sassy Sauce story I posted a few weeks ago, which was then deleted when I decided I don’t like people judging me, but is now being re-posted because 1) People keep asking me to email it to them and I would rather they just have access to it so I don’t have to find it and find their email address, and 2) I decided I don’t care about the thoughts of those who are going to judge me based on this silly note and a one-time lapse in judgement. I’m a perfect parent every other day of the week. (Ha!)  And because seriously, this story is real-life, and if you can’t laugh at your real-life-self, then you are going to be miserable. I choose not to be miserable. Judge if you wish. Just keep it to yourself… 🙂

As a kid, my parents didn’t wash our mouths out with soap. Instead, we got “Hot Mouth” when our mouths were naughty. I don’t remember this for myself, but I do remember my younger sister Kylie getting it often for her sassiness. I think I also got it for that, as well as for sticking out my tongue, lying, or biting. (I’m not sure it has effectively rid me of sassiness, but I usually don’t bite. Feel free to sit real close.)

Really, anything that involved naughtiness of the mouth (swearing? Never!) was fair game for Hot Mouth. Hot Mouth is simply the tiniest bit of Tobasco Sauce on mom’s finger, which is then put on the suspect’s tongue. Naughty mouth leads to stinging consequences.

As a young teen, I thought it was so funny that Kylie got Hot Mouth often. Sassy lil’ thing.

As an adult, I figured I’d use “hot mouth” on my own children. Then I married Matt. He was against it. So, it has been more or less banned as a punishment in the house, because we agree on all consequences.

As I parent, I don’t find the sassiness quite as funny as I used to.

I think God must have a sense of humor and used it when he gave us the spunkiest (read sassiest) little 3 year old on the planet… with a great vocabulary and quick wit (think come-backs and last words.) It’s really unbelievable the things that come out of my darling little angel’s mouth. Thus, I have adopted the mantra, “Strong little girls make strong women. This is a GOOD thing.” Thank you, Polly.

Sometimes the mantra changes to “INCONCEIVABLY STRONG little girls make INVINCIBLY STRONG women.” It just depends on the day, really.

Needless to say, the topic of Hot Mouth has worked its way back into our child-rearing conversations. Is it a fair punishment? Is it over-the-top? (I’m NOT asking for your advice here… just sharing the focus of our conversation.) I have leaned towards: fair, not sure if I could do it though. Matt is always an adamant NO.

Rewind a few months. I have been spending time with a friend-who-shall-remain-nameless with a similar situation and a remarkably similar 3 year old. As we share our common issues and frustrations, we have also shared our current solutions. This nameless friend said she took the advice from another friend with children who are a little older now, and used “Sassy Sauce” to combat the sassy mouth. Sassy Sauce is the same as Hot Mouth, just with a much more appropriate name for the issues I’m dealing with.

Hmmmm… Sassy Sauce. Sounds more and more like something I could use. And I certainly am not worse off for having had it as a child, right?

I decided to “try it out” by dropping it into a few conversations with friends and family. Conversations usually morphed from discussing kids and our oh-so-strong girl, to something along the lines of, “So a friend of mine has a similar situation with her girl, and she started using “Sassy Sauce,” or Tobasco Sauce on the tongue as a consequence.” Then I’d quickly read the person’s reaction and decide if they thought it was a good idea or bad one. Just putting out some parent feelers and getting feedback. Although I’m not completely sure why I did that, I think it had something to do with gathering support in case I decided to take the idea of Sassy Sauce back to the table with Matt.

I did. He still didn’t like it.

I bought some anyway. Just in case. (Easy, Matt fans, I told him I had it after I bought it. And I would never use it – or any other punishment – without his permission. We are a team in this parenting fiasco.)

As the summer has progressed and my time alone with the kids has continued – time which I am SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL FOR – I have also had more opportunity to experience the sassiness of my strong girl… and she has had more opportunity to practice it. Which means she is getting REALLY GOOD at it. You may even say she is an expert.

…Wondering right now why SHE is getting better at it, but my parenting hasn’t seemed to improve with an equal amount of practice…

I mentioned Sassy Sauce to Annalise. Just to put it out there as a possibility. Not even knowing what it is, she was still terrified of it. The second she is sassy, I only have to look at her, eyebrows raised, and she instantly says, “NO Sassy Sauce! Please! I’m so sorry I was naughty with my mouth!”

Now mind you, I’ve never said I’d use it. I simply told her that I knew of other mommies that had it and used it when their kids were sassy. That’s it. I never discussed it again. Apparently it made a big enough impact. Either that, or Annalise has been talking to her friends that have experienced it already.

Fast forward to this week. All in all, it’s been a good week. But the sassiness is still there and is really draining. So I asked Matt if I could use it, just once, to see how it would go. A teeny-tiny drop of Tobasco sauce. It won’t make her sick, it isn’t abuse… Good grief, some people pour it on nearly every meal. (Again, NOT asking for your opinion of the matter here, just letting you know what I was thinking and the arguments I gave him.)

Matt, I’m sure feeling bad that I am getting the brunt of the sassiness as he works so hard with two jobs (which I am so thankful for and proud of him for), agreed…. reluctantly.

I didn’t use Sassy Sauce immediately. Instead, I sat Annalise down after a major sassy moment and told her exactly what would happen if she continued to talk that way. Sassy Sauce was now open for business, so-to-speak.

This morning, a little sassy mouth was warned that if it was sassy again, it would receive it’s first sassy consequence. Threats never deter Annalise, so she repeated her sassy comment, just to be sure I was telling the truth.

I was.

The drama that began in that moment – the moment she realized I don’t lie – wasn’t worth it. The drama that continued after the teeniest tiniest bit of Sassy Sauce touched her tongue (and I mean so-teeny-youcan’tevenseeit-tiny) – wasn’t worth it.

And then my motherly guilt kicked in. I felt so horrible that I caused my child (what I’m sure was extremely minor) pain in her mouth, that I gave myself some Sassy Sauce just to see what she was going through. (Not bad, really, but I do enjoy spicy stuff.) I could see why it would be frightening to a sweet – because she really IS sweet – little girl.

I felt awful. I gave her milk immediately. It didn’t work fast enough. She cried harder in fear (and a bit in drama) saying that “It will NEVER stop hurting! It won’t EVER go away!”

I called my sister. Who better to tell Annalise that yes, the stinging will go away, than the queen-of-hot-mouth, KYLIE? Annalise LOVES Auntie Kye-Kye, and I’m sure she could be calmed down by Kylie’s words of encouragement. “This will be a good lesson, afterall!” I tell myself.

Kylie didn’t answer.

How about I call Grandma? If Kylie is the queen of Hot Mouth, then the deliver-er of Hot Mouth, the queen-mother (that joke was for you, dad) would also have great advice, right? This only caused further howling as Annalise was afraid of her precious Gramma Kitchen finding out she indeed does naughty things and had a sassy mouth. (“What??” Gramma says, “Annalise ISN’T perfect??? -GASP-“)

What to do, what to DO??? Panic. Guilt. Tears…. from both of us. What could make this pain go away so we can actually DISCUSS why it’s important not to be sassy? What do I have the can cover the sting of too much spice???

Ice cream. (Don’t judge. You have not been in my shoes.)

I run to the freezer. I grab the only ice cream that is there… Haagen Dazs Java Chip. I feed the creamy COFFEE deliciousness to my 3-year old. How’s that for good parenting? (Again, not looking for your input.)

Stay tuned for future stories of Annalise being sassy and then quickly asking for ice cream. Even as I write, hours later, she is telling me her tongue “still stings a teeny… I might just need a teeny more….” I cut her off. I don’t even want to hear it. I’m already sulking.

Why anyone would leave me alone with these children is beyond me.

Needless to say, Sassy Sauce will retire. But the Tobasco Sauce will remain… I think I’ll start putting it on my scrambled eggs.

One thought on “They really should require some sort of license for this job

  1. That is AWESOME!!! When we disciplined our boys…it hurt me much more than it hurt them. I totally get it Holly. The key is to find something that will “hurt” her for the moment, but not scar her for life. For Em it was taking something away…his book pretty much was the trick with him all the time. For Nick it was telling him he had to go to his room and stay there as he was such a social kid. You thought Nick was going to die!!! Now if you would have put Em in his room…he would have been in heaven. You will find what does work and then you will have the upper hand again. Don’t give up! We are here to make them into responsible Jesus loving adults…not coddle them so they never leave home and rely on society all their lives.
    Love your perspective on life and raising your SWEET little ones. You and Matt are amazing parents!!
    Bless you as you keep on keeping on doing what our Father has set before you to do.
    Love you both!!

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