This incident begins about two weeks ago - the day our daughter discovered that the shredder bin was full of a million tiny pieces of paper.
Now, she'd found the shredder before, and delighted in dropping things into the bin. I've found lost sets of keys, lost highlighters and pens, lost baby toys, even lost rubber duckies.
About two weeks ago, however, she discovered that she could reach down into the shredder and pull out all of the delightful mess inside.
I hate messes.
So for five or six days, about once a day, she'd sneak past when I came in the room for a second, we'd forget to shut the door on the way out, I'd be on the phone working ... any number of things. And she'd spread 10,000 bits of paper absolutely everywhere around the carpet by my desk, where it would be tracked through the house and the garage to virtually every room in the house.
In other words, I was vacuuming the entire house just about every evening.
So a week ago (approximately), I had a little temper tantrum after (again) vacuuming the house. The shredder was getting emptied, and immediately. I opened the door between my office and the garage, took the bin to the doorway and turned it over in the recycling can we keep just beside the door, came back inside and put the shredder back under my desk, now empty. Two or three days later, when the baby pulled the shredder over on its side (without the paper to weight it in place), I moved it into C's corner where his desk sits. We close that off to the little one by blocking the way in with a wooden captain's chair she can't move.
Now, perhaps this wouldn't have been a problem, but about two years ago I did the same thing after a major culling of the filing cabinets. Completely without temper - the shredder paper is, after all, recyclable. But when C went to put out the trash, tipping the recycling can into the curbside recycling can, the shredder paper created a massive mess. As I remember it, it was after dark and he was in a hurry and he was irritated that he then had to vacuum paper off the garage, the driveway and the street.
He told me to never do it again. In my defense, I don't remember there ever being any discussion of consequences. And I didn't anyway - we were picking up the remains off the garage floor for weeks after, which in itself was probably a sufficient punishment.
But a week ago, I had a temper tantrum.
Worse, I promptly forgot the incident, and over the course of the week have piled any number of recyclable items on top of the paper. At least, I forgot about it until C came stalking through the house late this afternoon.
"J--!" he growled. You know what I mean by a growl, right? The one that indicates you'd better start thinking really, really fast? I haven't heard it in a long while but I recognized it immediately.
The baby, helpfully, was in the middle of a spaghetti dinner. Not the thing to leave her alone with, as the kitchen floor is white tile.
"What did I tell you about the paper from the shredder?"
I'm certain you can imagine the displeased look and short scolding, interspersed by my quarter-devil side trying not to giggle and my three-quarter-angel side feeling guilty because of the extra work he'd have to do before he went to his meeting. Mostly, I was trying not to openly laugh.
He left pretty quickly, and I had to listen to the shop vac outside as he cleaned up. And then he was back, and the first thing out of his mouth was, "In the bedroom, young lady."
Somehow I made certain the baby would stay occupied and got the dog in her house (thus preventing the dumping of the spaghetti in order to share with the dog), and the next thing I heard was, "Get your pants off."
I got my jeans down to my ankles before I was tumbled over his thigh.
What followed was a hard hand on panties then skin, followed by a hard hairbrush (my great-great-grandmother's actually) on my bare bum. And at the same time there was a review of the fact that I had known he hated it the last time, and why I had done it and what would happen if I did it again and you get the idea.
It hurt tremendously - that hairbrush always does - but when it was over he hugged me for a minute. It didn't last tremendously long - not that I could have taken much more of a spanking while the baby was still awake and needing mothering - nor was it followed by any sort of, er, additional activity, punishment or otherwise. He did, after all, have a meeting to go to, and I had a baby who desperately needed a bath. There wasn't spaghetti on the floor, but there was certainly tomato sauce everywhere else.
Before he left, he added a final comment, "At least you'll have to admit in that blog that you do get punished."
So, thank you to my friends. Somehow, I think this is your fault. Your fault that he's suddenly thinking about punishment as something that might make me feel more secure when I don't, and as something that just might possibly even prevent a repeat of the incident. Your fault that I even have such an inclination at all; after all, it's your writing I've been reading for the past ten years!
I'd blame him, but I think he'd read it.