The following took place when I was eight years old. My favourite summertime activity as a kid was riding my bike. I spent most of my afternoons riding around our neighbourhood, sometimes playing or racing with other kids, sometimes just enjoying the wind in my face.
This was in 1983, before bike helmets and knee and elbow pads were required, and when eight-year-olds had greater freedom to wander suburban neighbourhoods unsupervised. My mom was happy to let me ride my bike, since it was a great way to get exercise and fresh air, but she did make a point of teaching me about traffic laws, and had a very strict rule that they always be followed.
That said, I was definitely a thrill-seeker when it came to bike riding. I loved riding fast, doing wheelies and jumping bike ramps. A few blocks from our home there was a residential street that was on a tall, steep hill. About halfway down the hill, this street was intersected by another street, with a stop sign at the corner.
One day, I decided to walk my bike up to the top of this hill (it was too steep to ride up). Looking down, I figured that if I rode down at full speed, I could land on the intersecting street, bounce off it, go flying through the air and then continue down the rest of the street.
Of course, that would mean flying right past the stop sign – something that my mom had very clearly warned me never to do. But it was a quiet neighborhood with very little traffic, so my eight-year-old mind calculated that the risk was worth it.
I started down the hill, built up speed, zoomed past the stop sign and bounced at the intersection, and took a thrilling jump through the air. I then rode down the rest of the hill at top speed, and just kept going as the road flattened out. The adrenaline rush was so great that I started going back every day to do it again and again. The thought that I risked being hit by a passing car each time I rode down the hill did little to deter me.
One day, after my fourth or fifth day of riding down the hill, I came home and found Mom greeting me at the door. “Hi Mike,” she said as I came inside, “how was your bike ride?”. “Good,” I replied. “Have you been remembering to follow all the traffic laws, like I taught you?” “Yes, Mom,” I said, crossing my fingers in my pocket.
Then she said: “Mike, come here and sit down with me”. She motioned me overto the living room sofa. Once we had we sat down, she asked: “Are you sure there isn’t something you want to tell me?” “No Mom,” I said, trying to sound innocent.
My mom had a trick of getting me to confess to misbehaviour by bluffing that she knew something she didn’t – I thought she was trying to pull that, and I was determined not to let it work this time.
Mom sighed. “Mike,” she said, “I got a call from Mrs Patterson a little while ago.” As soon as I heard Mrs Patterson’s name, I knew I was busted. She lived on the street on the hill, near the intersection.
“Mrs Patterson says she saw you riding your bike really fast down that steep hill near her house,” Mom continued. “She said you rode right through the stop sign.”
I looked down at my feet. Mom stood up and began using her scolding voice. “You know perfectly well that you are always supposed to brake for a stop sign – I have told you that. And you should know better than to ride down that steep hill at all. It is very dangerous. Not only did you disobey me – and lied to me just now when I asked you about it – but you could have gotten yourself killed!”
I kept looking down, afraid to look my mother in the eye. I knew this was going to be bad, but I didn’t know exactly what to expect. “You know that you are going to have to be punished for this – starting with losing your bike for the next two weeks.” Losing my favourite summer activity for two weeks seemed like a pretty big punishment in itself – but the phrase ‘starting with’ was a clue that something even worse was coming next.
Mom sat down next to me again. “Honey,” she said “I am really sorry to have to do this, but I need to give you a punishment that I know you will remember.” At that point, I felt butterflies in my stomach. I had a strong suspicion about what was coming next. She confirmed my suspicion with her next sentence. “Mike,” she said in a serious tone, “I am going to spank you.”
I felt my whole body tense up at those words. I had not had a spanking in almost a year, and I had hoped I’d gotten my last one. But my mom was not the type of parent to make idle threats. As soon as she said it, I knew it was going to happen.
“Go to your room and wait for me,” she ordered. “I will be there soon.” I walked to my room and sat on the bed. As I waited, my mind flashed back to earlier spankings I’d received, and all the feelings that went with them – the shame of having my pants taken down, the helplessness of being over a grown-up’s knee, the sharp sting on my bottom, and the embarrassment of being sent to the corner or naughty chair afterward. Knowing that all this was about to happen again, the wait seemed like an eternity.
My bedroom door opened and my mother slipped in, carrying something under her arm. I could not make out what it was. “I needed to go down to the basement to retrieve something,” she said. When she held out the mystery object to show it to me, I saw a thin wooden paddle in the shape of a human hand. Painted on the paddle were the words ‘Mom’s Helping Hand’. “Your grandma used this on my behind when I was a little girl,” she said, “It helped me remember some valuable lessons.”
Mom sat on my bed. “Honey, this spanking is going to be really unpleasant for you. I hate having to do it, but I want to make sure that you think twice before you get it in your head to do something dangerous. Now, I need you to stand up and lift up your arms. I’m going to take down your pants.”
I blushed when I heard this – I had been hoping that at the very least, I would now be considered too old for a pants down spanking. But I knew there was no point in arguing. In a moment, I was across my mother’s lap, with my bare bottom front and centre.
She took a deep breath, raised the paddle and brought it down forcefully on my exposed bottom. I cried out a little. She proceeded to spank my rear end, giving me about one sharp smack every second. As the spanking progressed, my ‘ows’ got louder and louder, until after about 30 seconds I was wailing and moaning. I must have received at least 50 spanks all together, and there were tears running down my cheeks by the time she had finished with me.
“OK, sweetie, you can stand up.” I stood and rubbed my bottom for a moment before Mom gave me permission to pull my pants up. “Corner time, Mike – 15 minutes. Do you remember the rules for standing in the corner?” I answered obediently: “Don’t move, don’t look around, don’t make a sound.” “And what do you think will happen if you break the rules?” she asked. “Another spanking,” I said. She nodded.
After my corner time was done, Mom had me sit on the couch with her again. “Honey,” she said, “You are the most important person in the world to me. You are my treasure. Please, keep yourself safe. never make me that scared again.” I promised her I would stay safe and try to follow her rules from then on.
Of course, that wasn’t the last time I broke a rule, and it wasn’t my last spanking. But Mom’s Helping Hand certainly did teach me a valuable lesson.