my husband and I went on a trip to Hawaii last month. our precious spawn stayed home with my in-laws and we took off on what turned out to be one of the best trips of my life (could be tied with our honeymoon, in fact.)
anyway, at the airport before we left for Hawaii, there was this adorable young family much like ours (mexican/brown mama, hip white daddy, adorable, feisty toddler girl.) while waiting for the plane, the little girl began to raise a stink and that’s when the parents showed us what’s up. that’s when the parents taught me how to discipline (read: threaten) a toddler.
up until this point i’ve been a bit baffled as to how to discipline our 2-year-old. i mean, yes, i’m a mexican mom, but i don’t think i’m ready to introduce my kid to traditional latino-discipline — aka mi mano y mi chancla (HOLLER IF YOU HEAR ME!) so while i was eavesdropping on the father i heard him tell her, VERY ominously, “DO YOU WANT ME TO CALL THE COO-COO-EE?” that’s how he said it. COO.COO.EE.
i nearly died. not just because his pronunciation was so awesomely awful, but because, oh my god, this guy referred to the boogie man i knew as a kid. and his daughter responded by knocking it the fuck off. it was awesome. so i noted that my kid needed a lesson in the cucuy.
when we got back home (after a blissful week in Oahu), my kid began hearing threatening references of the cucuy. and she responded almost immediately. she just heard the scared tone in our voice and shaped the fuck up.
example - it’s dusk, getting dark, and i am trying to talk my kid into coming inside for a bath. since i don’t want to grab her and haul her ass in, kicking and screaming, in front of the neighbors (because, parenting rule 17: appearances are everything), i lean in close and say “maggie, if we don’t get inside before it gets dark, the cucuy will come looking for you…” and she stands up, grabs my hand, and hauls her little diapered ass inside.
that’s what i’m talking about.
so now we’re in business. my kid can respect the (empty, but not in her mind) threat of the cucuy, and i can parent without negotiating with the terrorist that is my 2-year-old.
and then today happened.
while i was washing the dishes (side note: my best blogs come after doing the dishes because i muse about the crazy shit going on around me while scraping melted cheese off of dora’s face.) right. while i was washing the dishes my daughter runs into the kitchen with a big smile on her face and says “cucuy!” then she takes a few steps back and says “HIIIIII CUCUY!”
i repeat what she said to make sure i wasn’t hearing shit, and she nods and laughs. like it’s a fucking joke.
the following is my thought process:
“hold on. does she think I’M the cucuy?! no. no fucking way. i’m mama. what? wait. no. oh my god is this some sixth sense shit going on? does my kid see the fucking cucuy? OH. MY. GOD. IS THE CUCUY HERE?!”
then i realize this cucuy shit has officially backfired. it’s essentially my kid saying, “checkmate, mom. check. MATE.”
but what she doesn’t know is that what i’m about to say is, “MEET. MY. CHANCLA.”