When I was younger my cousin Amy spit on me. For real. Alright, her act of spitting may have been perpetuated by my spitting on her first, but still it was gross. And frankly I don't entirely recall spitting on her, so in my mind she's the spitter and I'm just the innocent child bystander. Now that I'm older and wiser, I don't spit on my cousins or anyone else for that matter. And they don't spit on me. Why? Because I still think it's gross.
So when my four year old boy spits on the window in the car, I think it's gross. And I tell him not to do it again.
When he spits on his seat, I think it's disgusting. And I snap at him not to do it again...or else.
When he spits on my newly mopped kitchen floor, I think it's down right horrific. And I yell, "Don't do that again. Now go to time out!" (Then I throw my hands in the air. Serenity Now!)
But, when he spits on his baby sister, (just before losing any shred of parenting sanity) I think, somebody needs to teach this kid a lesson about spitting. And then I do the only thing that comes to mind.
"Teddy," I say. "Hold out your hand."
He spreads those trembling four-year-old fingers. "Uh, why Momma."
I don't answer. Using the spitting ability once cultivated in my youth, I hawk the biggest loogie I can and spit it in the palm of his hand, making sure that it doesn't drip off the side and further the spit problem in my home.
"Hold that," I say in Mommy Death-Con 5 Commander mode voice. "Keep that spit in your hand until you think it's gross enough that you will never ever again spit on your sister, your brother, the house, or the car. Do you understand?"
His chin trembles and his big brown eyes grow to the size of moons. "Yes Momma."
I look at him, tempted to swipe the saliva off his palm and send him on his way. But I resist his innocent charm. It's an act, I tell myself half-crazed with spit abhorrence. Spitting is gross! Four minutes later I decide maybe the punishment was a little harsh, but I doubt my little guy will be spitting on you anytime soon.