You Go Time Out

Tornado S has a complete understanding of time-out.  Thanks to Tornado E.  Tornado S understand that when Tornado E is in trouble he has to go in time-out.  Tornado S uses this to his advantage.  When Tornado E is annoying Tornado S, Tornado S shouts, “GO TIME-OUT, BROTHER!”  It’s quite adorable as Tornado S points to the time-out chair.  Of course, Tornado S has seen his time in the chair too.

The Husband returned home late last night, and this morning he handed out toys to the boys for his absence.  He bought the boys a Batman and Joker.  They both took an instant liking to the Batman, but in the end, it was Tornado S who adopted Batman.  It wasn’t too long before Tornado S, playing alone with the Joker and Batman, that the Joker acted unsavory.

Tornado S: Mommy!  Mommy!  Joker hit Batman!

Me: What do you think should happen to the Joker?

Tornado S: You Go Time Out!

Tornado S then placed the toy on the chair and walked away.

I guess our experiment in crime and punishment may be working.

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Mommy’s Time Out

My husband did well.  He bought me a box of Godiva chocolate.  He knows my love of chocolate runs deep. 

I had to put them in the fridge to keep them from melting.  I’m cheaply green, keeping the house at a cool 80.

Yesterday I needed chocolate.

I NEEDED chocolate.

With the temper tantrums, the fighting, the hitting, the refusing to eat the pancakes that were asked for, the dumping of Legos, train tracks, and poles, I needed to run away as far and as fast as I could.

Today the box of chocolates remains unopened, sealed in the plastic wrapping, waiting.

Yesterday I needed my own time out.  A few stolen minutes to center, to be me, to let my guard down.

My husband laughed when I stormed out of the kitchen mumbling, “Kiss you’re eldest goodbye.  This is his last minute on earth.”

I wasn’t kidding.

Before I did something rash, I demanded he pick up the toys.  I grabbed one of the king size Hershey bar with Almonds and raced to my room, slamming the door, throwing myself on the bed.

Godiva is for savoring, enjoying, escaping.  It is an experience.  It begs to be taken slowly, covering your mouth with rich flavors.  Your eyes have to shut as you celebrate the chocolate.  You just can’t wash out the aftertaste right away; you have to relish even that.  It is heaven.

But I needed my first love.  Someone who understands me, who won’t mind a secretive quicky in the back, not needing to cuddle.  Someone who knows just how I like it, so the deed is done pleasantly fast; while I still have time to wash up and leave, entering the world like nothing happened.

I reveled in the cheap chocolaty goodness. 

I centered myself.  I washed my face and hands, disposing of the wrapped in the bathroom garbage with a lid.  I re-entered the world.

Once I was calm and happy.  It was a lot easier to get everyone to clean the mess, eat their lunch and to their naps.

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This is just a phase

He’s testing me.  He wants to see if I really mean what I say.  He wants to see how far he can take this.  He wants to see what this button does to mommy.  It’s not yet 8:00 in the morning.

It’s Tornado S.  He’s two.

Damn.

His eyes lit with daemonic delight when Tornado E showed us his tower of every single Lego built up.  It was taller than Tornado E.  I grabbed Tornado S, trying to make him play another game with him, trying to distract him.  But the moment I let go, TornadoS was running.  I yelled, “NO” in The Voice.

Tornado S knocked over the tower.

I demanded an apology.

Tornado S said, “no” with a smile on his face.

Time Out!

Tornado S cried for two minutes straight.

When time out was up, I asked Tornado S if he knew what he did wrong.  He shook his head, and I explained that I told him no and that he didn’t listen.  I told him to apologize to Tornado E. Tornado S walked toward Tornado E, turned to me, laughed and said, “NO!”

Time Out!

Sonofabitch!

Halfway through time out, The Husband broke ranks and talked Tornado S into apologizing.  He agreed, but I told them time out was mean to be served out.  The Husband snapped about how he wouldn’t be able to work under these conditions as Tornado S resumed his very loud crying.

At two minutes, with the office door firmly shut, I went over the time out procedures again. This time Tornado S apologized.

Ten minutes later, Tornado S knocked Tornado E with a plastic train.  He also refused to apologize.  Time Out AGAIN.  That loud annoying crying again.  I thought I might have to kill someone.  I eyed the usually happy and cute two-year-old.

After two minutes, I repeated the usual time out ending. Tornado S laughed instead of apologizing.  TIME OUT AGAIN!  Two minutes of the crying ensued.  I swear I’m going to kill that kid.  Then I remembered how Tornado E pushed my resolve for a full day, and he was younger.  I can do this.

At the end of two minutes, Tornado S was willing to apologize.  We moved on.

To bath time, which was great for five minutes.  Until Tornado S was upset Tornado E was on his side, and then he hit Tornado E with a pirate.  Are you kidding me?!  Wash hair, get soap in their eyes, rinse them, dry them, wrangle them into clothes.  Mommy is ready to play.  Bring it on.

Oh, crap.  But today is Monday, which is grocery shopping day, which means I have to bring the little monsters into public.  Sonofabitch.

Let’s just say I reassured the cashier, a mother of an eighteen-month-old, that everything is a phase.  Then I plopped down three king-sized candy bars with my groceries.

This is just a phase.  This is just a phase.  This is just a phase.

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The beginning of time out

I thought I would reminisce about the first time I tried the time out chair.  A little before two, Evan was throwing temper tantrums and hitting, so I would just drop him in the pack-n-play for a minute or two.  That was punishment enough.  But as the new baby had the pack-n-play with the bassinet up, I had to think something new, leading me to remember the wing back chair I picked up a yard sale.  In hind-sight I should have gone with the wooden chair that we have now, but I was afraid that at two years of age Evan would fall off the chair without arms.

 

One day I decided that today was the day to stop Evan from hitting.  No more hitting.  No more hitting Mommy because I was afraid that Evan would hit baby Sean.  (Another unfounded fear because Evan didn’t start wresting with Sean until Sean was mobile.)  So Evan hit me, I dragged and placed him in time out for two minutes.  It took 45 minutes to get him to sit for two minutes.  As many of you moms know or any one who watches Supernanny knows the process of dealing with a child who won’t stay in time out so I won’t waste time in describing the situation.  I am nothing, if not stubborn.  He hit me again shortly after getting out of time out.  Back in he went.  At least this time it only took a half an hour for him to sit in time out.  Through out the afternoon, we battled against each other.  He must have been in time out six more times.

 

Then later in the afternoon, just before dinner.  Evan shouted, “Mommy!  Let’s play time out!”

 

Please read that sentence again and absorb the enormity of it. 

 

My jaw dropped as I wrote a letter in my brain to all the childcare experts out there.  “Dear So-and-so, I tried time out like you suggest to have my son turn around and think it was a game.  No there was no laughing, smiling, or chasing on my part.  Now what do I do?”  I wondered what I could do instead.  Let my son be a bully?

 

That night we went to dinner with some friends.  As dinner was winding done, with Evan on my nap, I told an amusing antidote.  Evan spun around in my lap, trying to put his hand over my mouth.  “Shh, Mommy.  Be quiet.  You’re in time out.”

 

Well, that’s something.  To put it in a little perspective, Evan didn’t hit me the next day.  We use time out as regularly as we have to.  So persistence and a little stubbornness go along way in parenting.

Another Peeing Incident

Or peeing during time-out as a way to protest your “unfair” treatment.

Tornado E’s pressing buttons AGAIN.  He’s pressing MY buttons again.  Yesterday he was in time out four times.  Three of those times were for hitting or pushing Tornado S . . . hard.  I held my anger and put him in time out.  The second time he went into time out, he learned to spit.  Tornado S, who was watching Tornado E (fascinated that his brother was actually sitting still for once), also learned to spit.  Awesome.  Then when it was time to discuss the time out, I noticed Tornado E had peed.  When I asked him why he peed, he giggled.  That’s right, he giggled.

Then the third time he was in time out, he was still naked from the last time out and peeing session.  I watched in horror as he bore down and pushed out his piss.  The little brat actually did it on PURPOSE.  So I jumped down into the foyer and tried to cover his penis and make him stop.  Why don’t I just reverse the Colorado River while I’m at it?  So I stopped the time out clock (after washing my hands) and handed him some paper towels to clean up every drop of piss.  Then he was back in time out for four minutes. (I’m trying a longer punishment when he hurts Tornado S.)  To pass the time, he started to spit again.  I told him to stop or he was going back into time out.  He did it a couple more times.  Resisting the urge to slap him, I heard the time out beep.  I talked to him about hitting Tornado S and sent him back to time out for three minutes.  Finally time out was a punishment as he pleaded his apology from the time out chair.

So now what am I going to do with a boy who pees in protest of his time out?  My mom suggested a spanking, but I have used that discipline only in life threatening emergencies like walking in the street or parking lot.  It worked too.  Even Tornado S will not walk into the street.  But I’m not sure if I want to use that kind of discipline unless it’s my only option.  Of course, two of my parenting books have no mention of peeing as a protest.  On to the third and final book.  Any suggestions out there?

Battling Wills

My mom used to threaten us with “One day you’ll have a child just like you.  And if God is kind, it’ll be a child of the opposite sex, just so you don’t know what to do.”  She was referring mainly to my younger brother.  Those two are peas in a pod and went to battle ALL THE TIME.  My boys are too young to really see who they act like, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my share of battles.

A year ago, Evan decided he didn’t want to nap.  I NEED his naps, and he NEEDS his naps.  I wasn’t planning on taking no for an answer.  So after ten minutes, he came out of his room to tell me he wasn’t tired.  I escorted him back to his room.  Five minutes later he was thirsty.  I handed him his water cup and left.  Ten minutes later he was kicking his walls.  I thanked God that Sean was peacefully asleep in his bassinet in my room.  Five minutes later Evan declared it was time to get up.  I returned a kicking, whining child to his bed.  Ten minutes later he was whining for cartoons.  He tried to dodge me as I went to grab him. Over the shoulder and back to his bed.  Ten minutes later he was in the nursery and tried to climb the crib, giggling.  I dragged him back to his room.  After two hours of fighting, Evan conked out, just before I was about to let him out, and Sean woke up.  The funny thing is a week later I met a woman, with children the same age as mine, who told me her two-year-old refuses to take naps.  As I watched the cranky, tired child stumble around as Evan napped, I thought that’s a fight I would win.  But to each is their own, and Evan still naps, though we have to go to the mat every other month or so.

That was another thing my mom told me.  Children will always test their boundaries to see if the boundaries are still there.  It’s like Jurassic Park, when they were explaining how the raptor kept testing the electric fencing.  Actually now that I think about it, I bet I could come up with more than one comparison of raptors and children . . .

Yesterday was another battle.  Maybe you’ve noticed the tambourine activity that is new.  Well, yes, the boys did love it, but Evan preferred to throw the beans all over the dining room.  At first I felt it was my fault for bringing out the whole container beans and debated on putting out a warning, but my mom said even if it was a bowl, he still should not have done it.  True.  Evan was already a half hour into the punishment when I talked to her.  Yup, he was sitting in the middle of the floor “picking up” beans, which entailed playing with them and throwing them and laughing at Sean as he tried to eat them.  I called my back-up (my mom), who said put him in time out when he won’t pick them up.  For two and half hours we “picked up beans,” I picked up the ones Sean threw, tried to show Evan how you make a pile to go faster, and demanded to do it.  I tried everything: time out, go to your room (incredibly stupid because he played), wait him out, scolded him, stood over him, ignored him, slapped his hand when after almost finishing he started to throw the beans again.  As you could tell, I was at my wits end.  So finally I did as I used to when he was a young toddler.  I took his hand and used it to pick up the beans.  Now I’m sure I didn’t do something right here.  I’m not sure what it was, but the beans were picked up and Evan didn’t get any candy for pottying and didn’t get to play for two and half hours.  I pray he learned his lesson.

Then today.  The very first sibling rivalry fight.  Note the date.  Evan is 3 and 2 months, Sean is 16 months next week.  I had made pancakes for the boys, but Evan refused to eat his.  Fine, then nothing until lunch.  But I did leave the pancake out because sometimes Evan will eat an hour or two later when he’s actually hungry.  I was upstairs getting dressed when I heard the screaming and crying.  Racing downstairs, I see Evan whining for pancake and Sean crying.  I pick up Sean and asked Evan what happened. 

Evan: “I hit Seanny on the back.”

My jaw dropped. He admitted to hitting.  He’s telling the truth.  He’s actually telling the truth.  Wait.  He hit his brother.  Ok.  Calm down.  What to do?

Me: Why?

Evan: He took my pancake.

What?  The pancake?  The one you didn’t want to eat!  That pancake!  And of course, it’s just like Sean to see food and decide he hungry and he’ll have that.  And I look, and sure enough there’s a pancake on the floor with two baby bites.  Ok.  Think.

So I sit on the stair and motion Evan over. 

Me: I bet that made you upset.  But did hitting Sean get your pancake back? (Evan shakes his head.  Sean skirms out of my lap and walks away.)  I think next time Sean takes something that is yours you tell Mommy.  Sean’s too little to know it was your pancake.  He thought you weren’t going to eat it.  Next time say: Mommy, Sean took my pancake.  Can you say that?  (Evan repeats.  Sean comes back and wiggles his way to sit in between us.)  Look, Sean loves you.  He wants to sit by you.  Can you tell him you’re sorry for hitting him? 

Evan: Sorry, Seanny.

Me: Now I’m proud that you told the truth.  That makes Mommy very happy.  But we can’t hit Seanny.  Now give me a hug.

Evan: (hugging me.) Daddy tells me the truth.

Me: Yes, he does.  Now do you want another pancake?

Evan: No.  I want a waffle.

Fine.

So it goes on.  As it is I just was summoned by a toddler who told me he can’t sleep because his bed is too hot. (Sorry, Dad, for all the times I used that.)  I took him back to his room, turned on his fan, turned over his pillow, and laid him back down.  And really, I guess I should be lucky that the boys waited THIS long.  Tim and I began the moment he crawled and took my pacifier away as I sat watching tv.  He didn’t even use a pacifier!  So this is family, wills trying to conquer one another and get what they want.  And it’s up to me to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.

Note: As I was putting the tags in, Evan is up again.  He can’t sleep because Seanny is snoring.  Sean does snore, but he’s a baby.  It isn’t loud.  They’re not in the same room.  And Evan has his fan on.  Nice try.  Try sleeping with your dad.  He shakes the whole house.