|Why Can’t I Ride My Bike in the House?
Because I Said So.
Everything I Always Wanted to Ask Daddy*
*but was afraid to
An online chat with ‘zander and his Daddy Mario
‘zander lives elsewhere in the country, but he and his Daddy Mario make time for their Daddy/boy relationship whenever they can. When they do, they are able to be fully in the moment, and not working their way up to a Spanking as one might do with a Spanking date. Instead, as Daddy and boy, they are able to meet at the airport or train station, hug and immediate begin in their respective roles without the rigamarole of “Oh, wait, right, now I need to get in my boy headspace.” Daddy Mario knows how to sense ‘zander’s boyspace and feed into it without wondering,
“Jeeez, I wonder if ‘zander’s ready to be my boy right now.”
Below you’ll find a discussion between them (long distance, but fully fleshed out) of how this works in the real world for them. If you have a Daddy like Mario or a boy like ‘zander in your life, let us know how you guys work it out. The nuances of knowing your boy or Daddy are many and varied, but this one real life example is both compelling and eye-opening and Cornertime Confidential is just thrilled to be the place to bring you this look at what one healthy and happy Daddy/boy relationship looks like.
Daddy = Daddy Mario, ‘zander’s Daddy who lives in California.
I’m trying to imagine how I would be asking you these questions if we were really face to face. It’s hard to think about, tbh. I don’t think I could really do it. I mean, sure, most times, I’d do anything to just be sitting on your lap and facing you. It’s one of my favoritest things ever. But something tells me that if we were really looking at each other, I wouldn’t be able to ask you some of these questions. I’d probably flop and faceplant right into your chest. Or, I’d probably havta have one of my stuffies ask for me. So, maybe, for once, being apart like this is a good thing. I can ask you the things that sometimes make my ears burn with silly embarrassment, but I don’t gotta look at you when I do it.OK. So, here goes…
Daddy: Before we begin, I have a question: “tbh”—it must be a typo, right? You can fix it later. For now, continue.axz: *rolling my eyes* it stands for: “to be honest,” Daddy; it’s how kids talk…
Anyway, I think it’s standard knowledge at this point for both of us that I am a BIG kid, not a silly baby or some dumb, little toddler, so why do we have so many Rules? I mean, like bedtime? Why do big boys have to have bedtimes, and how do you decide on 10:30pm on school nights and 11:00pm on weekends?
Daddy: The short answer is the worst answer in the world: because I say so. But I’ll elaborate.
boys are constantly evolving. Know what that means? With every passing day, sometimes with every passing minute, you are, in your way, getting bigger, stronger, faster. That kind of growth almost always outpaces the ability to control it. In other words, boys get bigger before they get smarter. Without Rules, you are prone to Hulking-out, leaving a swath of devastation in your wake. Having Rules gives you a chance to learn how to harness your own burgeoning power. Rules help boys master themselves.
On to bedtime thoughts. If you didn’t have a bedtime, you’d never go to bed. You would simply pass out, probably just a few hours before you have to get up. Then the vicious cycle begins: routine disrupted, chores undone, another blown bedtime, repeat. Which leads to an overly tired boy who is cranky, disrespectful, rude—and, on the other side of the coin, less able to enjoy things like play time, comics, toys, outings, and such. On a personal note, bedtimes make Dads’ lives easier. Our kiddos have a lot more energy than we do. The only way we can keep up is to enforce some down time.
|“…though you would never admit this,
you WANT to go to bed.”
Plus, though you would never admit this, you want to go to bed. You hate the idea, but you want it. You want the end-of-day routine, the stories, the songs, the company of your stuffies, a time when you know it’s just you and Daddy. It’s like your own Fortress of Solitude. Jor-El and Kal-El, you, and Daddy. Time to talk maybe, or ask questions that you might not otherwise ask. You wouldn’t want to miss it, would you?
As for your specific bedtimes, I inherited those when I adopted you. I don’t know how they got
established in the first place. But I do know that they have worked for some time. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That said, you know full well that you can advocate for a later bedtime on occasion, and if your reasoning is good I am liable to grant it.
axz: Daddy, remember that time I had a straight-up tantrum and said lots of naughty things but didn’t get in trouble? It was weird ‘cuz I didn’t get punished for things I said that, under other circumstances, would have gotten me killed. How do you decide what is “naughty” in the moment and what to punish for?Daddy: It’s clear by now that I’m not a purely black-and-white Dad. If I were, you would have gotten it for that tantrum, because, by the letter of The Rules, you were clearly disrespectful.
|“There have been other instances where you did far less
egregious things, but got Spanked for it —hard.”
So how do I decide when to punish and when to choose a different response? By knowing you. A Daddy knows—or should know—his boy better than anyone else, better than the boy himself. That tantrum you reference—you didn’t throw it out of disrespect or naughtiness. You did it for reasons that tapped into old experiences and old hurts. Even without knowing all of the particulars, I intuited that much. At that moment, what you needed wasn’t punishment, but rather understanding. Which is what you got.
There have been other instances where you did far less egregious things, but got Spanked for it —hard.
So why the difference?
It comes down to what you need. In all cases, you are—through your behavior, even without knowing full details—asking for it: to be reined in, to know your place, to feel claimed, safe, accountable. To live in a world that makes sense. Sometimes that need is best addressed with a firm swat or two, sometimes with a lecture, sometimes with a major Spanking, sometimes with a creative distraction, sometimes with nothing more than me sitting quietly in a chair a few feet from you. There are endless permutations.
I can’t rightly say how I know which course of action is appropriate. A lot of Daddys-in-training want to be able to figure this out, as if it can be learned. But honestly, I think it’s an instinct that you’re either born with or not, like a sixth sense. If you have it, it can grow and mature. If you don’t have it, you can follow a script of sorts, but this amounts to an approximation of Daddyhood. As far as I’m concerned, it should be second nature. Though maybe I shouldn’t say it that way, since it’s all I’ve known.
|Know Your boy and You Can
Punish Him More Effectively
A few more thoughts, of the far-out nature. (Consider that you are pre-emptively advised not to roll your eyes.) I rely heavily on body language, sounds, and, above all, scent. How you move, what you sound like, and the scent you give off tells me a lot about your state of mind and what you need. And you have little if any control over these things. It’s Daddy’s little truth-detector. Owing to my particular profession, I’ve spent a lifetime becoming attuned to sound, movement, and human nature. No one, not even the biggest, baddest ninja, can manipulate these things without me knowing about it. And scent? Never. It will reveal you every single time. That’s one of the reasons I ask you to refrain from scented things like cologne, deodorant, and heavy soaps.
Though I’ll admit that I’m getting killed these days by those damn laundry detergents with the “advanced technology” that keeps people smelling obnoxiously “clean” all day long. It gets to be disgusting after a while. There is a natural personal scent that is utterly incompatible with that sickly-sweet-under-the-guise-of-ever-fresh cloud. Put the two together and you get a big steaming pile of you-know-what. It doesn’t confound as much as anger me. I’d better stop now, because I feel a rant coming…
axz: When it’s time for a Spanking, how do you decide before it starts what to use? Is it about how super of a naughty thing I did? Or my attitude? Or the way I am being defiant (or not)? How do you decide—ok, that’s it: he’s getting my hand, ruler, or brush for THIS one?
Daddy: Disciplining you is a highly personal act. You wouldn’t (shouldn’t) submit to me, and I wouldn’t (shouldn’t) lay a finger on you, unless complete trust and respect exists between both of us. That is best communicated by touch, even touch that is a measured act of violence. There is a directness and intimacy to the hand that simply can’t be replicated. When you get a Spanking, you will always get the hand. Always.
Beyond that…you’re going to hate to hear this, but I decide on implements, duration, intensity—all of it—as I go, and it is informed largely by your reactions.
|But wait! Paddling is not a Game.
That Paddle is for Ping Pong, not boys’ bottoms!!!
My hand, even when landing on you firmly, picks up a lot of information. On top of this information:
- What sounds are you making?
- What scent is in the air?
- How are you squirming in my lap?
- What is the look in your eyes?
All of that tells me where you need to go. You’re REALLY going to hate to hear this, but the infamous moment in the drugstore, which led to a major punishment? It was over, as far as I was concerned, at one point. And then your scent told me otherwise, and a second round commenced. Textbook example.
In a way, you are telling me what you’ve got coming. But before you get any ideas, remember this: it is beyond your control (subconscious, however you want to think about it), and it works because I’m tuned in to you. All you have to do is be yourself. I will respond accordingly.
axz: How do you know a Spanking is over? Is it the way I’m bawling or kicking or the things I’m saying or trying to say?
|“How do you know a Spanking is over?”
Daddy: You can probably guess the answer by this point. I know it’s over through what I sense with my hands, the sounds coming out of you, the look in your eyes, and the scent in the air. Think of it as alchemy: the elements fly around the room, and I mix them into a compound and interpret the meaning. There is nothing you can say, and no specific action you can take. All you can do is react honestly and trust that I will be fair. And frankly, if you couldn’t do that, you shouldn’t consider me your Daddy.
|Why do you use Spanking SO MUCH when
there are other things like time outs…?
axz: Why do you use Spanking SO MUCH when there are other things like time outs, grounding, taking away my ipad, early bedtimes, chores, lines, etc.? What is so great about Spanking anyway?
Daddy: First of all, kiddo, I have timed you out and assigned lines. It’s true that, as far as punishment goes, you’ve gotten Spankings more than anything. Still, may I gently suggest that you tend to remember Spankings the most? And isn’t that telling in and of itself?
Really, though, I can’t believe you’re asking this question, because you know the answer full well. Boys are tactile. They learn through feeling. Added to that, boys experience the world largely through their bottoms—it is the most direct access to your brain. A Spanking is reasonably quick, and then it’s done. Other punishments, to use your spelling, take foooooreeeeeevvvvvveeerrrrrr. They are like solitary confinement. You would go batty, and the lesson might not get learned as well as possible.
Further to this point, you often feel burdened by naughty behavior. Were I to give you a time out, or an early bedtime, or extra chores, that burden doesn’t go away. If anything, it gets heavier. You end up punishing yourself worse than I would. Yes, a Spanking hurts. You don’t want it, you can’t wait for it to end. Your bottom is throbbing for what seems like an eternity. But once the swats are done and you’ve spent some time in my lap, you’re ready to let go of what’s happened and get on with your day.
You’ve paid for the naughtiness; you’ve shown me that you’ve learned a lesson; you know I’m holding nothing against you, and you’re done. Punishments that prolong the matter can end up hurting you more than necessary. You’re likely to get down on yourself, and as I’ve said, I don’t want you to beat yourself up because that’s my job.
axz: We have this dumb Rule about no moving images at bedtime. I can read comics or books or look at pictures, but I can’t watch things move on my ipad? Whhyyyyyyyyy?
Daddy: Moving images are addictive: the more you see them, the more you want them. And they are, all too often, bad for you. They amount to input to be downloaded (Who’s doing the inputting? What is their agenda?)— not a creative act to be absorbed (the role of true art). They hinder imagination, and compromise calmness of mind. It’s manageable during the course of the day, amid the hundreds of things you have to get done. But at night, you are vulnerable. Besides, night is a time for introspection. Alone time. Quiet time. Remember son, passing the night is a skill to be mastered. Moving images are antithetical to that skill.
Besides, I say so.
|Because I said so.
axz: Different Daddys have different things that matter the most to them. For some Daddys, respecting them is like 100% the BIG thing. For other Daddys, being dirty or acting unhealthy is the red line that gets you in serious trouble. Other Daddys, are very big on NO NAUGHTY WORDS. What are the BIG things for you that will get me in trouble every single time?
Daddy: We’ve talked about respect a bunch, and it is big—but maybe not in the way that you, or most people, might imagine. I don’t insist that you respect me for my sake alone, but for the sake of both of us. A boy learns respect from receiving it and bestowing it. When you disrespect me, you disrespect yourself. Furthermore, as I’ve noted, an adult boy is a rare being and often needs to learn his worth. Otherwise, as you’ve noted, things end badly.
Other things that matter: intentionally causing injury to yourself or to others. Runner up: unintentionally causing injury to yourself or to others. Second runner up: defying (refusing to embrace) your own abilities or potential—that is to say, being who you are destined to be. You will note that these are rather broad statements. Myriad behaviors can fall under these Rules. On the minor end of the spectrum, you might find poor use of language or forgetting to wash your hands. Want me to see red? Just go to the other end of the spectrum. You know what I mean because you’ve been there.
Let me be clear: different boys require different handling. I could create a laundry list, but I’m not that kind of Dad. Besides, all too often boys want chapter and verse just to seek out the loopholes. That could be a temptation. But this I know about you: you are smart enough to understand the letter of pedestrian Rules (10:30 pm bedtime) and also to understand conceptual Rules (embracing potential). I want you to be able to follow a simple rule, but also to think about big ideas and how your behavior fits in. You’re capable of both kinds of understanding. So you get both kinds of Rules.
axz: You say to me once in a while, “Sometimes, it’s really hard to Spank you, kiddo.” Why is it hard sometimes? Is it every easy sometimes?
Daddy: Most of the time, it is quite easy. As I mentioned, a Spanking can be a mitzvah. It’s the fastest course of action to you getting consequences, learning a lesson, starting to feel better, hitting the reset button. As for the times when it is really hard, it usually has to do with vulnerability. There are occasions when you are just so little, so innocent, so helpless, so damn cute. You should be scooped up, put on a swing, taken for an ice cream cone. But that’s not what’s called for.
As we’ve discussed, I really am a big softy in a lot of ways. I like to dote on you as much as anything, and there are times when I’d prefer to do that—but simply can’t. That’s just a fact of Dad life. It doesn’t happen terribly often. But it happens.
axz: One thing I got in SUPER big trouble for was wandering away from you once at a museum. Why was that such a big deal once you found me and I was safe?
Daddy: Son, can you picture me eyeing you with my arms crossed? Because that’s what is happening in my head. I want you to answer that question. Then we will talk. Consider it an assignment. And yes, I’m serious.
axz: Is it about the thing where you said you get mad if I disrespect you or maybe am in a situation where I can be hurt? So, it was like a two for one thingy?
|“I ran through the entire museum looking for you — nothing.”
Daddy: Correct on both counts, but here are a few additional thoughts you might not have considered. It was a moment when I had to leave you alone, just for a few minutes. I took great pains to make sure you understood exactly where you were supposed to stand, and that you were not to move until I returned. You did understand those things. When I returned and you were nowhere in sight, my heart tightened and I thought the worst: that you were lost, scared, maybe hurt. I ran through the entire museum looking for you — nothing. And my fears for you increased. By this point, you had been gone for close to 15 minutes. Really terrible thoughts can go through a Daddy’s mind when his kiddo seemingly vanishes. I had started a second run through the museum when I found you, with a “what me worry” look on your face, cheerfully unaware of the magnitude of the moment. So you got into super big trouble for not following instructions I know you understood, for potentially putting yourself in harm’s way, and for being thoughtless. Yes, everything turned out fine. But it might not have.
In addition to addressing your behavior of the moment, I knew it would be important for you to learn a lesson for the future. Specifically, I needed to impress upon you that this was never going to happen again. A lecture and a few swats would be forgotten by sundown. But you won’t quickly forget what happened on that day. The next time I want you to wait for me in a specific spot for a few minutes, all I will need to do is say the words “coat check room.”
axz: Finally, Daddys say that “It hurts me more than it hurts you.” That’s just silly, right? That’s something you gotta say about Spanking? ‘Cuz it doesn’t hurt you that much, does it? If it did, why would you do it all the time?
|“Spanking can really hurt a Dad’s hand”
Daddy: Cross-reference my response to the question about “Sometimes, it’s really hard to Spank you.” To me, that’s the meaning of that tired old phrase. But going in another direction, as you now know, Spanking can really hurt a Dad’s hand. But in those instances, it’s your good over mine, which is the essence of Dadhood. Otherwise, I think that phrase is just a silly Dad-ism. I don’t think I’ve used it, have I? If so, it’s a once-every-three-years saying.
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