When my niece Emma was a baby she went through long difficult bout of biting people. Poor Kristen was literally dumped by dozens of friends who told her that they couldn't let Emma near their children because it was too dangerous. They tried everything they could think of to stop her from biting. She even bit people's pets and babies. She would bite so hard that she would draw blood and it was usually totally unprovoked and unpredictable. Finally they came up with one consequence that seemed to deter her. Vinegar. When she would bite someone they would put a few drops of vinegar in her mouth and she would freak out. She bit so often that Rob started carrying vinegar in a little vial on his keychain and when they thought she might bite they would just jingle their keys and she would recoil. Eventually she stopped biting and eventually they made new friends who weren't afraid of their toddler.
The vinegar punishment has become a popular alternative to spanking in our family. Its great because kids HATE it but it is totally harmless. I have some guilt issues with it because it doesn't always fit the love and logic pattern or else you have to get really complex in explaining vinegar in the mouth as a natural consequence of anything other than eating pickles, but the kids aren't being spanked and I say we applaud progress wherever we find it. On a side note, My husband was disciplined with tobasco sauce on his tongue for spitting as a child and thats just plain cruel if you ask me, but he does love spicy food now so maybe it was just exposure therapy more than abuse. No method is perfect because they are all being used by imperfect parents just trying their best on kids who drive them crazy every single day.
So I know it sounds like this is my story for this post but actually I was going to tell a different story about something that happened this week. Because of the aforementioned vinegar wars that have occurred in the past, we have stored vinegar in a number of convenient locations around the house. If anyone bites or spits or uses bad language you gotta have your vinegar within arm's reach. I have a little squeeze bottle of it in the kitchen and another in my bed side table. Incidentally, these squeeze bottles resemble the bottles that you buy oil in for consecrating for priesthood use. It is just olive oil but it is set apart for the healing of the sick and afflicted. A priesthood holder administering a blessing would drop a few drops of the already set-apart oil and then lay hands on the head of the person receiving the blessing and anoint their head with oil and then in a second blessing seal the anointing and offer inspired words of counsel or comfort or instruction or whatever. I have many experiences where I have seen the power of the priesthood heal people of deadly disease or given relevant counsel that could have come from no other source than the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. I have a deep and abiding testimony of the priesthood in general and specifically to how it is used to lead God's church and bless the faithful. The other night I had such a bad flare up in my joints that it was impossible to sleep just from the pain. I was on every narcotic you can think of (legally prescribed and obtained. I'm not a junkie) and they weren't even scratching the surface. I was in bed sobbing out of pure pain. I asked John to get up and give me a blessing which he was more than happy to do because it is hard for him to feel helpless when I hurt and he was glad to have something that he could do for me. I just wanted him to bless me with sleep for that night. I wasn't going after any huge miracles, just let the ambien be more potent than the pain. So we were preparing for the little private blessing and I realized that I knew exactly where our bottle of consecrated oil is. I found it in two seconds and handed it off and John did his manly thing. We had a very spiritual experience as he told me of God's love for me and gave me council and blessed me that my pain would subside enough to sleep. It worked like magic, or more accurately, it worked like the power of God. Way better than magic. I fell right to sleep. But then something kept waking me up. A smell. Id drift off and then there it was again. I couldn't put my finger on it. It was sour and sharp and kindof food-ish. Finally it dawned on me and I rolled over and looked at the bottle of consecrated oil that John had used. It was vinegar. No wonder I felt it trickle fast and cold down the back of my head when he anointed me. no wonder it looked oddly clear. I had assumed it was super fancy extra virgin cold pressed oil or something. Nope it was vinegar. The great news is these blessings are according to the faith of those involved and I know that John's blessing council was inspired by god no matter what he just put on my head. I did wasn't to be anointed again just to be sure and I found the identical bottle of oil but that was actually clearly marked as such. So John anointed me again and then my hair was basically a very tasty salad dressing or even a dip for breads. The next morning my pillowcase needed to be bleached in boiling water to purge the Holy Vinagrette and I just chucked the pillow (gotta love Ikea and the disposable lifestyle it provides) I will say that It was one of the best nights of sleep I've had in a long time and one of the best blessings I have ever had. The pain left me and my mind and body truly rested… or marinated. Depending on how you look at it.