Nanny was very concerned with sharing. She felt that this was an extremely important part of growing up, and she stressed it with Jeff and me throughout her time with us. This story took place when I was about three, for Jeff was still just out of a stroller, so he must have been a little over two.
Nanny took us to Andrews Pond to feed the ducks. I really loved to do that, and Jeff was learning to talk and already talked about ‘du’s’. I would go into the kitchen, and cook would give me the old bread, then off we’d go to the pond. By the way, this was the same pond I took Jeff to when we ‘ran away’. I told you about that in another story.
Arriving at the pond, I went forward slowly and quietly, as nanny had taught me to do. She had explained that I would frighten all the ducks away. Her other warning was that I could not hold the bread out for them to take from me, for they might nip my finger. I took these admonitions seriously and was very careful.
Jeff had watched me from his stroller since infancy and on this day, nanny decided that he could have a turn too. Well, big sisters don’t always agree with that! After all, Jeff had been an attentive audience, for one, and now he was going to use up a great deal of the precious bread.
I was a bit stunned at first, so I didn’t say anything. I just watched nanny lift him out of the stroller, take his hand and give him bread for the ducks. Then, the fire of anger began in me. I had very little bread left, the ducks were going to Jeff, and nanny was giving Jeff the rest of the bread. “No, no!” I cried out, “that’s my bread and they’re my ducks!” Nanny turned to me and gently said that this was Jeff’s turn and that I had a lot of turns. She explained that we would have to share now.
I would like to say that I was sweet and generous and loving to Jeff at that moment, but I was in a rage. How could this have happened? My world was turned upside down and my routine ruined. “Dumb Jeff!” I said, and before I knew what happened I ran forward and pushed him.
Nanny wasn’t holding his hand at that moment. He was stooped down, tossing bread to the ducks. I must have come on so suddenly that she didn’t expect me to do such a thing. Jeff fell forward into the mud, with both hands in the water. The ducks scattered in all directions and I have no idea where the bread went.
In a split second, nanny reached down and grabbed Jeff up. He was howling and there was mud on his long eyelashes. “You wait until I get you home, young lady,” nanny said to me, as she pulled her linen handkerchief out and wiped Jeff’s eyes.
I was stunned at myself. What had I done? It had happened so quickly that I saw it all in slow motion, as though someone else was doing it. The tape played again and again in my head. “Let’s go home, right now,” said nanny, as she tucked a crying Jeff back into the stroller and started up the stony road to our street.
I followed behind, devastated. I was scared and confused by my own behaviour and still angry at Jeff. I was really angry at Jeff for ruining everything for me. Now those duck feeding times would never be the same.
Arriving home, nanny sent me upstairs to wait in my room. She told me to stand in the corner until she got there. Jeff needed her first. That didn’t help my mood any. Jeff was getting everything first these days! I started to cry angry tears and stomped up the stairs to my room.
Nanny left the stroller out front and followed me up to the nursery wing, closing the playroom door behind us. “All right now, into your room and into the corner with you!” she said as she carried Jeff into the bathroom. He was indeed a mess of mud.
I waited forever and I could hear nanny soothing Jeff and the sound of water as she was bathing him. I heard her rubbing him dry with a towel and then her voice becoming more distant as she carried him to his room on the other side of the playroom to dress him. She was with him a long time in a three-year-old’s estimation. Then I heard her voice again telling Jeff to play with the toys while she dealt with me, and into my room she came.
“All right, lassie, out of the corner and let’s see what happened here. It wasn’t a good thing, was it now?” I shook my head, but I was still angry. Nanny could tell. “You aren’t sorry one bit, are you?” she asked. I didn’t say anything. I think I really didn’t know. Was I sorry that I was in trouble? Certainly. Was I sorry that I pushed dreadful Jeff? No.
“What have I told you about sharing?” Nanny said, breaking the silence. I didn’t say anything, so she slapped my leg. I grabbed it and held it up, bursting into tears. “Now, maybe you’ll talk to me? What have I told you about sharing?” she said, sternly. I repeated the lectures and lessons of my three years.
“Now, what about the nasty thing that my naughty lassie did to her darling little brother?” “Darling?” I would never have thought of him as darling at this moment. I was silent, for on this one I was truly perplexed. Slap! went her hand on my leg again.
I cried again and told her about how he was using up all the bread and it was my trip to the ducks and those were my ducks and cook gave me the bread and he was supposed to stay in the stroller and he wouldn’t stop and I didn’t mean to push him.
“Well, my lassie, you did push him. It was not all right to be greedy, and he is going to be able to feed the ducks now that he is old enough, and you will have to learn to share. Now you are going to get a spanking for doing what you did.”
I protested that I really didn’t mean to do that and reiterated that I needed the bread. Nanny sat me down and sat in front of me. She took my hands in hers and explained that my feelings were OK. It was all right that I was upset, and I was not going to be spanked for feeling angry. My spanking was going to be for doing an angry thing that hurt someone and for being selfish, which is not what a lady should be. She always told me that I was being raised to be a lady. Everyone told me that. She asked me if I understood. I nodded.
With that, she led me to another, taller chair, and she sat down, smoothing her big white apron on her lap. She placed me over that apron, as usual, and carefully raised my dress and slip fairly far up my back. Then she slid my underpants down below my bottom. I think they were down about to my knees, but I don’t recall for certain. I just know the air felt a bit cool on my bottom.
“This is for doing an angry thing and being selfish – right, Gigi?” I must have nodded but I know I was already crying, because whenever anyone pulled my pants down, I always started to cry.
Without another word the spanking began. My eyes quickly became blinded by my tears, and I kicked my feet to try to counteract the spanks that were slapping my buttocks so sharply. I tried reaching back but nanny took hold of my wrist and held it away from my body. I was small enough that she could hold me and do all of this with one hand, leaving the other one to whack my bottom.
She told me much later that I was really doing ‘a bit of a dance’ on her apron that day. When it was over, she pulled my panties up and lowered my slip and skirt, standing me up in front of her. I rubbed my eyes and my bottom, and so she pulled me to her.
I remember my face hitting her lapel watch in the hug that followed. She pulled me on to her lap and began to tell me how hard it is to have a little brother or sister who makes life change for us. She said we could talk about it any time, but I could not do any more mean things to him. I sobbed out an ‘OK’.
Nanny said that if I did, my panties would be down and my bare bottom would be up in the air to be spanked. She wanted me to be clear about that. I nodded.
With that, She stood me up, took my hand and walked with me out to the playroom and Jeff. He was making a tower with the blocks.
“It is tea time, and your parents want to see you two. Are you all ready to go to tea, Gigi?” I nodded tearfully. Down we went, and mother and father were there in the solarium with the maid. Our places had been prepared and Jeff ran to papa, who lifted him up in his lap.
Both of my parents looked at me. I couldn’t say anything. “Come here, dear,” said my mother, reaching out for me. “What is wrong?” Nanny stepped in. “I’m afraid we have had a spanking, ma’am,” she said, “but everything is fine now.”
My mother just looked at me and I turned away from nanny’s gaze. Mother held me in her arms and I sobbed softly. Father spoke. “Gigi, it is tea time. Do you need some more crying time? If so, you need to return to the nursery with nanny until you can come down like a lady.”
Nanny waited for a moment. I took my place at the table and nanny left. It was very difficult to get through tea that day, because I wanted to keep crying so badly. Jeff was getting additional attention at tea, for he had just suddenly grown up enough to be able to come to tea. I now had to share my parents with him. It was like the ducks all over again.
I held those bad feelings about Jeff for many weeks as his turf continued to encroach upon mine. It was a while before I saw him as a real playmate and comrade, which I did within a few months after this incident.