Monday, October 7, 2013

46. The Time I Spanked a Baby

I wouldn't say that I've been on a spanking spree, per se.  I have been the administrator of three sets of spankings in Mozambique, and all three situations called for it.  I'm glad that I did it, and each individual spanking yielded marvelous results.  

I will spank again.

The first spanking was for naughty little God, who was trying to sneak into our house.  The whole incident was documented here (The God Fiasco) and wrought a lasting change in that little boy's behavior.  Ever since his very public spanking, God has been courteous, sweet, and incredibly loving.  He actually seems to like us more after having been punished (I think he's trying to prove himself), and we've had no further problems.  

The second spanking was an unusually funny one.  Some five or six of the neighborhood kids were hanging out on my porch, and I was trying to plan a lesson.  I was having trouble concentrating, so I asked them to go play in someone else's yard.  Instead of going away, however, like they usually did, they starting making LOTS OF NOISE.  They were screaming and shouting and pushing each other, laughing loudly and generally being bad.  From my seat at the kitchen table, I whipped around and scowled at them.  

"Done," I said.  "Out.  Go play somewhere else.  Now."

And yet they didn't leave.  Annoyed and with an entire lesson left to plan, I went ahead and shut the door.  When the kids decided to test me and start fiddling with the door handle, that's when I knew it was time for a second round of spankings.  I threw open the door and grabbed the ringleader by the arm.

"Junior, that's enough," I said.  And I reeled back and spanked him.  It wasn't very hard-- I meant it as a warning.

But what happened next was a complete surprise.  Rather than cry or shout or even look chagrined, Junior simply giggled.  After years of getting thrashed and pummeled by his mother, my little spanking must have seemed very puny indeed.  I spanked again and he giggled harder.  

Suddenly, all of the other kids were jumping up and down and laughing.  

"Eu!"  They shouted.  "Me, me!"

Tired, resigned, and somewhat amused, I spanked them one by one.  Each of the children giggled, twitched, and received their due paddling.  Then, one by one, they jumped over the wall of the porch, ran away, and were very good for the rest of the day.

And that was the second spanking.

The third instance of spanking, however, was of a very different type.  The third spanking was a sad spanking.  It was the time I spanked a baby.

On this particular day, I was teaching in the upper classrooms.  I was far away from the rest of the school and all of the other teachers, and I was trying to administer a rather important, Provincial-level exam.  It was very serious stuff.  

All 56 of my students were reading their papers, with their heads bowed low over their desks.  The entire room was silent.   Then, suddenly, a shriek cut through the classroom.  


A little boy, somewhere between 20 and 28 months of age, was standing in the doorway.  

I couldn't get angry-- he was far too little to know better-- but he had the potential to become a major distraction.  I stuck my head out the door and looked for a parent or an older sibling, but I didn't see anybody.  Apparently, this toddler had wandered over by himself.  

"Go," I said to him.  "Go play."  I scowled.  

The baby just giggled and coo-ed up at me.  "A'zuuungu," he said.  "A'zungu, A'zungu, A'zungu!"

I sighed and went back into my classroom.  

"Chefe," I said, to the Class President.  "Take care of this, please."

And so the Chefe went tearing out of the room, ruler and belt in hand, to chase away the noisy toddler.  He returned victorious, and we had a nice three or four minutes of absolute calm.  

Then, "A'zuuuuuuungu!"

The next line of defense was to ignore him.  I simply refused to make it a game.  The baby stood in the door frame calling and calling and calling, while I declined to look at him.  This went on for five whole minutes, until every one of my students was staring at the doorway. 

Finally, I grabbed the Class Book off of the teacher's desk and chased the boy away.  I wasn't going to hit him with it, of course.  But for another five minutes, that seemed to do the trick.  

Then, again-- "A'zuuuuuuuuuungu!"

At this point, my students were thoroughly distracted.  Nobody was writing anything.

I took the little boy by the arm and led him out of sight of the classroom.  Gripping his wrist and pulling him towards me, I pointed a finger at his face. 

"No," I said, quite clearly.  "No."

The baby giggled and went limp in my grasp, hanging and dangling from his wrist in my hand.   Laughing and laughing, he rocked back and forth.  

"No," I said, making the meanest, most serious, I-AM-A-TEACHER-M*****F***** face that I have.  "No, no, no."

Giggles.  Giggles, giggles, and more floppy, dangling giggles.  And so I made my decision. 

Scowling and securing the little boy's wrist, I dealt out one swift spanking to his fat little bottom.  

Instantly, the laughter went away.  The smile fell from his face.  His eyes widened and suddenly surged with tears.  He stared at me and started to bawl, his mouth opening in a horrible, gaping, miserable void.  Then he turned and ran away, crying and crying and crying.  I felt like crying, myself.  

I went back in the classroom and the students resumed their tests.  There were no further interruptions.  

Like I said, marvelous results.

1 comment:

  1. I was laughing the ENTIRE time I read this post. Also, trying to imagine your "I-AM-A-TEACHER-M*****F*****" face...