How Do You Punish A Kid When You Cannot Stop Laughing?

And the bloggy blessings have been bestowed again upon us….And this episode sparked another opportunity for me to learn how to discipline my kids even though they were cracking me, and everyone else around me, up.

Yesterday, we had to go to a local mail pick-up store that I’ll refer to as RED-X Worldwide Shipping.

After picking both kids up from school, we shot over to get a package containing a large photo canvas (that I’ll be writing about next week).  It had already been routed back to the shipper and re-routed back to us for having missed too many RED-X/Residence link-ups.  I needed to get this thing.


I really didn’t think much of the task.


It was pretty simple really.  I was heartened to see that I was only fourth in line.

This would be microwavable mac & cheesy-easy.


Upon walking in, our son noted that the warehouse had a disproportionately wide floor sensor that triggered the sliding screen door.

So, my son engaged in playful long-jumping that caused the door to nearly convulse for the mixed messages it was receiving.  Open. Shut. Open. Shut.

I can’t really blame the kid-  but it just can’t be allowed.

The people in the store all turned around, of course.  Each opening would let in a whoosh of solar-furnace heat.

To his credit, he stopped once I gave him a sour look.


But, then he noticed those retractable Line-Forminator-Separators (my word for lack of a better term).  You know- the ones they have in movie theaters and red carpet events and at RED-X shipping warehouse worldwide?

(Waiting Line Image from Becoming Madame)


Our son seemed intent to rest his neck against the black nylon strap.   But he was wiggling his neck back and forth against it and I had no idea why.  I figured he had concocted an innovative way to scratch an itch.


But, what followed was not what I expected.  Nope.  Unbelievably, I never saw it coming.

My son was NOT scratching a physical itch-  maybe an adrenaline-inducing and potentially brain-hemmorhaging one-  but his neck was not itchy like I thought.


He backed up about 3 feet with his neck against that black strap until the strap was as taut as it could be creating a V with his little body at the apex.

In the next horrifying moment, he sprinted toward the shiny treaded aluminum wall 6 feet away, jumping up (surely to compensate for the lack of acceleration, velocity and vertical height possible with that lame non-elastic nylon cargo strap).

He went SPLAT against it.

He  slid to the floor with his hands dramatically outstretched above his head.

His left cheek, pressed palms and splayed fingers made squeaky sounds as he slid like a boneless carcass to the floor.


I ran over to him!.

He’s gotta be hurt!  What?  What!  What-Why? How?!!!!

I knew he had to be injured after an impact like that.  Everyone in the warehouse was looking over at my son who just stood up laughing hysterically!   He yelled,  “MOM!  I’M A BLACK ANGRY BIRD!!!!”   He ran to do it again and I grabbed his hand to stop him this time.


I scowled at both my kids face to face and nose to nose,  and parked them against that treaded aluminum wall.

(Treaded Aluminum Image from


At this point, I knew I had to take a visual inventory of any potential attraction-hazards.  There was a dolly to my right and a reachable box cutter on the countertop.

I watched both kids like Hawk-Eye watches Red Skull and thwarted any movements toward those things.


By this time, I was further back in line.   There was a very young and amiable nun standing behind me now.  She had one of those beautiful faces that doesn’t need make-up because her inner sweetness and compassion shades her entire aura with the color of kindness.

She kept smiling at me and back at the kids.  They really seemed like they were on the cusp of explosion for needing to chatter and fidget.

When their impulses could not be self-regulated anymore, they both started to loudly count every raised tread in the  aluminum wall they had been sitting against , “ONE!  TWO!  THREE!  FOUR!  HAHAHAHAHA!  FIVE!!!! LET’S DO IT IN SPANISH!!!!!  UNO!!! DOS!!!!…..”


I was next in line.  I couldn’t go back over there.

I commanded, “Kids!  C’Mere!  Sit Down.  Right by my feet.  On your bums.  Cross your legs.  Hands in front.  I have to get this.  Quickly. Just sit and  SHHHHH……..”


They sat there, knee to knee looking up at me with big eyes.

The sweet nun smiled at me again and shook her head- but not in a bad way.  It was in an “Oh- Your kids are really delightful” kind of way.  All the other customer head-shaking in the room was not of the same sort, I could tell.  This Sister made the package pick-up line a little more pleasant for THIS mom, for sure.


I worked with RED-X to try to sign for my canvas finally and I heard rustling.

I turned around and held my pointer finger to form the number “1” up to my 4 year old son’s face and said loudly “Look, guys!  If you say ONE WORD…” and then I shifted that numeralized finger to my five year old daughter’s face and said, “OR if you get up ONE more time, we are NOT gon….”


But I never finished that sentence.


Even if I had, no one would have heard it over the deliciously loud fart that had emitted from one of my cross-legged children’s reverberating Southern cheeks.  And, I had no idea which one did it!

The sound was so surprisingly loud that the normally discernible focal point was blurred between my two children.


I mean, it was Drunken-Filthy-Fat-Man Loud.

It was impressive not only for the high decibel level achievement that most Soldiers would pretend to own for the sake of bragging rights, but also for the anomalously long duration of the thing.


Every customer in the store, (maybe 10 now?) had either scowled at me at some point for failing to get a grip on my kids, or nodded to me with a supportive  “Been There!” wink, or smiled sweetly at us like the compassionate Woman of Grace in her diaphanous white and gray frock to my rear.


But, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM was doubled over laughing- even the guys holding boxes half their size.  Even the workers behind the counters!


It truly was The Fart of Unification, a vapor that bonded even the most divergent of parenting philosophies (Free-Rangers and Tiger Moms and Whoop-Em-Good-Grandpas alike) amongst the RED-X waiters-in-line.


And, right or wrong, it was a comically SIN-ERADICATING move by my kids.

I turned away from the kids so they wouldn’t see me laughing even though it was clear everyone else was.

When I could look down stone-faced, both kids were still looking up at me like nothing had happened.

Their  eyes were big and their mouths were open.  They had looks of contrition and a their expressions denoted fear that they had, in fact, blown Super Hero Theme Night at the local eatery.

During our laughter, the kids had been silent throughout, quietly pondering their imminent play-fate.

It turns out, that the secret to keeping them quiet was to leave them hanging on a sentence that confirms or denies their dramatic play future and opportunities to commune with mini-Boy Wonders and Captain Americas on indoor play parks.


Through all that, my kids were actually still waiting for me to finish that unfinish-able sentence.   I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do.  I couldn’t really remember what happened before the deafening wind-breaking.  I still wanted to laugh and laugh.  But,  I was about to say something very adult-like and authoritative when I heard my Waiting Line Ally in a white habit say in her honey-smooth voice,

“But, Mom….. You Never Said They Couldn’t Do THAT….”

…and this time, she playfully had her pointer finger swagging back and forth at ME.


She was still laughing, of course. I realized that this time, they hadn’t done anything horribly wrong other than demonstrate some bad manners.

Or was it more than that?   A calculated, noxious rebellion?  A way for my kids to channel their protest and defy authority using their only available biological tools?

We’ll never know.

Anyway, after I finally loaded the canvas and strapped the kids in their seats.  I asked,



And both of them looked at me with confused looks and seriously said,


Bwahahahahahahahaha!  Oh, my kids.  This job of mine is a good one, I think.

All I can say is that Iron Man and Batgirl really enjoyed Super Hero Theme Night munching on their chicken strips.  What can I say?  I’m a real toughie.











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